CREED II (12A)
DEEP-ROOTED nostalgia for Rocky fails to deliver a knockout blow in the eighth instalment of the longrunning series.
Co-written by Sylvester Stallone, whose fingerprints are on the scripts to every bruising bout in the saga, Creed II unleashes the same flurry of emotional jabs as its brawny predecessor but these slick moves fail to connect
squarely in a sequel that hankers for the past.
Juel Taylor and Stallone’s wistful script raises its gloves to earlier films, most explicitly Rocky IV, in which Soviet Union brawler Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren) delivered a fatal blow to Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) and then faced Rocky Balboa (Stallone) on home soil.
More than 30 years after that epic showdown, Drago is living in ignominy in Kiev, haunted by defeat and the breakdown of his marriage to Ludmilla (Brigitte Nielsen).
In search of redemption, he trains his only son Viktor (real-life German boxer Florian Munteanu), moulding his offspring into a fearsome contender for the heavyweight championship belt in the possession of Rocky’s protégé, Adonis Creed (Michael B Jordan).
Adonis arrogantly believes he can overcome Drago junior without the backing of his mentor and corner man. He prepares to defend his title with fiancée Bianca (Tessa Thompson) and his mother (Phylicia Rashad) in his corner.
Seconds out and around the narrative houses we go...
Bag men: Adonis and Rocky