“CREED II”

The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - On Tv -

Af­ter the big suc­cess of the first fol­low-up to the “Rocky” se­ries, a se­quel could have aimed as strictly an­other mon­ey­maker, with lit­tle or no art in­volved. Luck­ily, those re­tained from the first film help to en­sure

that doesn’t hap­pen, in­clud­ing Michael B. Jor­dan and – in his eighth turn as Rocky Bal­boa, Sylvester Stal­lone, who also co-wrote the pic­ture. It ex­pands an ear­lier plot point as Apollo Creed’s son, played by Jor­dan, pre­pares for a box­ing match against the son of the man who killed his fa­ther in a pro­fes­sional fight. Dad, alias Ivan Drago, is played again by Dolph Lund­gren ... and fans who know their “Rocky” his­tory will en­joy boo­ing and hiss­ing him all over again. While there’s ac­tion to spare, there’s also room for devel­op­ment of one of “Creed’s” stand­out points ... the hero’s ro­mance with a singer played by Tessa Thomp­son. Phyli­cia Rashad also is back, and “Rocky” loy­al­ists also should en­joy see­ing Brigitte Nielsen again. DVD ex­tra: “mak­ing-of” doc­u­men­tary.

(PG-13: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On De­mand)

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