Hayes & Harlington Gazette - - Film Review -

(12A) ★★★★★

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

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