DEEP-ROOTED nostalgia for Rocky fails to deliver a knockout blow in the eighth instalment of the long-running series.
Juel Taylor and Sylvester 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 on, Drago is living in ignominy in Kiev, haunted by defeat. In search of redemption, he trains his only son Viktor (real-life German boxer Florian Munteanu), into a fearsome contender for the heavyweight championship belt held by 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.
Bag men: Adonis and Rocky