CREED II (12A) Three stars
Deep-rooted nostalgia for Rocky fails to deliver a knockout blow in the eighth instalment of the long-running series, which punched well above its weight class in 1977 winning three Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Director.
Co-written by Sylvester Stallone, whose fingerprints are on the scripts to every bruising bout, Creed II unleashes the same flurry of emotional jabs as its predecessor but these slick moves fail to connect squarely in a sequel that hankers for the past. Director Steven Caple Jr choreographs impressive sweat-drenched fight sequences between leading man Michael B Jordan and real- life German boxer Florian Munteanu
– a hulking 6ft 4in man-mountain with eight-pack abs to match his intimidating physical presence. Inside the ring, the film is on sure footing and there are familiar bursts of adrenaline for us as well as the characters as they dig deep to overcome dizzying blows and achieve glorious destinies.