Feb 252019
 

Creed II is another brilliant entry into the Rocky franchise and features a great performance from Michael B. Jordan with some solid work by Sylvester Stallone and Tessa Thompson.

 

 

Creed II
(2018)

Genre(s): Drama, Sports
Warner Bros. | PG13 – 130 min. – $44.99 | March 5, 2019

Date Published: 02/25/2019 | Author: The Movieman


MOVIE INFO:
Directed by: Steven Caple Jr.
Writer(s): Sascha Penn and Cheo Hodari Coker (story), Juel Taylor and Sylvester Stallone (screenplay)
Cast: Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson, Wood Harris, Phylicia Rashad, Dolph Lundgren, Florian Munteanu, Brigette Nielsen
DISC INFO:
Features: Featurettes, Deleted Scenes
Slip Cover: Yes
Digital Copy: Yes
Formats Included: 4K, Blu-ray
Number of Discs: 2
Audio (4K/BD): English (Dolby Atmos), English (DTS-HD MA 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Video (4K): 2160p/Widescreen 2.38
Video (BD): 1080p/Widescreen 2.38
Dynamic Range: HDR10
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Codecs: HEVC / H.265 (4K), MPEG-4 AVC (BD)
Region(s): A, B, C

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post.
The opinions I share are my own.


THE MOVIE — 4.0/5


It’s a rare thing for a franchise to continue to go strong years later and although there were a couple blemishes (Rocky III and V, with some oddities in IV), have had some strong films, including the 2015 spin-off Creed. While this sequel isn’t one of the best, probably ranked fifth among the eight movies in the series, but that is hardly a knock against Creed II but admiration for the franchise as a whole.

Creed II finds Adonis Creed (MICHAEL B. JORDAN) on top of the world, claiming the WBO title and deeply in love with his singer girlfriend, Bianca (TESSA THOMPSON), and plans perhaps in moving to L.A. to further their careers. However, Adonis is hesitant to leave behind his mentor/trainer, Rocky (SYLVESTER STALLONE).

Meanwhile, in Russia, Rocky’s old foe Ivan Drago (DOLPH LUNDGREN) is training his son, Viktor (FLORIAN MUNTEANU) who wants to reclaim victory after being disgraced following his own defeat 30 years prior. With the help of boxing promoter Buddy Marcel (RUSSELL HORNSBY), the pair travel to the U.S. to challenge Creed to a fight. This of course is personal with Ivan having killed Creed’s father in the ring in Rocky IV.

You do get some of the staples of the Rocky franchise, and to be fair any sports movie in general, where our hero hits his low point before we get to the all important and inspirational training montage after which there is a fight for redemption for a thrilling finale. And not being sarcastic, it was indeed a well shot and yes, quite thrilling finale, though still cannot compete with the first Rocky film…

Creed II works on so many levels. First, the script from Juel Taylor (debut) and Sylvester Stallone who once again returns to script, having his (at least credited) hand on all of the Rocky movies (though not on Creed), with story credits for Sascha Penn and Cheo Hodari Coker (Notorious, Lowriders). It is a crisply and finely tuned scripted film giving audiences not only motivations for Adonis Creed but for the Drago father and son dynamic as Ivan wants bring back the Drago good name back via his son, in addition we do get a nice small role by Brigitte Nielsen returning as Ivan’s ex-wife, now the spouse to a high-ranking Russian official.

In terms of the acting, Michael B. Jordan proves himself, as he had in Black Panther and the first Creed, to be one hell of an actor with a dynamic turn while Sylvester Stallone still embodies the Rocky role so well, though does appear very tired, unsure if that’s art imitating life or what, but considering this is supposedly a send-off for the iconic role, it was a well done performance, passing the baton to Jordan as I’m sure the Creed franchise will continue forward in apt hands. Tessa Thompson for her part has a few nice scenes opposite Jordan and so nice to see Dolph Lundgren in a major release, his second of 2018 along with Aquaman. And last, Florian Munteanu, a professional boxer, was half alright for his first feature film, albeit he’s not asked to do any significant acting.

With the first film’s director, Ryan Coogler, busy working on Black Panther, Steven Caple Jr. steps into the director’s chair following a career mostly consisting of short films as well as a 2016 film titled The Land in his resume. Stylistically, Caple did a fine job, under the lens of his cinematographer Kramer Morgenthau (Thor: The Dark World, Terminator Genisys, Fahrenheit 451), the film does have a rich look to it does fit in with the last few within the franchise.

Creed II might not have been as good as the first film or some of the other Rocky ones either, but that’s not a knock against a film that does feature was great performances from Michael B. Jordan and serves as a nice send-off, without being too overly dramatic, for Sylvester Stallone leaving the franchise in good hands. Personally looking forward to the third installment, hopefully at the very least Stallone will be involved with writing the screenplay.

 

SPECIAL FEATURES – 3.5/5


This release comes with a glossy slip cover, inside is the Digital HD redemption code.

Fathers & Sons (7:16) explores  how Apollo Creed and Ivan Drago’s legacy and rivalry take a toll on their sons. Pretty short but includes comments by the director and members of the cast talking about how the story came together.

Casting Viktor Drago (5:43) looks at the important casting process to play Adonis’ opponent and Lundrgen’s son.

The Women of Creed II (5:51) shows how Tessa Thompson and Phylicia Rashad brought heart and soul to the film

The Rocky Legacy (15:01) is on the enduring impact of the world of Rocky through the years. Hosted by Dolph Lundgren.

Last up are a few Deleted Scenes (9:46) that didn’t make the cut including one scene where Rocky attends Spider Rico’s memorial and another nice moment between Creed and Viktor in the locker room.

 


4K VIDEO – 5.0/5, BD VIDEO – 4.75/5


Warner Brothers enters 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray ring presenting Creed II with a 2.38 widescreen aspect ratio where it has been given a 2160p and 1080p high-definition transfer, respectively. For the most part, this is a darkly, albeit richly as mentioned in my review, looking picture but there are spots of bright colors such as on Creed’s boxing trunks. Detail is incredibly sharp on both formats and there were no apparent or obvious signs of aliasing, artifacting or banding. The difference between the 4K and Blu-ray is nominal, though the former did seem a bit sharper and colors modestly brighter through the use of the HDR.

AUDIO – 4.75/5


As usual for a Warner release, both the 4K UHD and Blu-ray discs comes equipped with a robust and generally impressive Dolby Atmos track along with a standard DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track. Even though a fair portion of the movie are filled with dialogue driven scenes, which do come through primarily the center channel, with good clarity, it’s during the three boxing matches where this comes to life where the cheers and roars from the crowds make for excellent ambient noises set against the hard punches and jabs by Creed and Drago.

 


OVERALL – 4.25/5


Overall, Creed II is another brilliant entry into the Rocky franchise and features a great performance from Michael B. Jordan with some solid work by Sylvester Stallone and Tessa Thompson. This 4K UHD/Blu-ray combo pack offers great video/audio transfers and an okay selection of bonus material.

 

 

 

The screen captures came from the Blu-ray copy and are here to add visuals to the review and do not represent the 4K video.

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