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Film Review: Creed II (2018) - The best of the bests among all the Rocky series films

Updated: Jan 17

Film Review: Creed II (2018) - The best of the bests among all the Rocky series films
FILE PHOTO: A Poster of CREED II (2018). ©New Line Cinema

Rocky Balboa in the Rocky series films (1976-2018) and John Rambo in the Rambo series films (1982-2019) are not only Sylvester Stallone's life works, and they also represent this era's American lives, minds and goodness. I like them and highly recommend others to just see them if they call themselves to be film fans or filmmakers. 

Creed II is the first Rocky film ever screened in Mainland China, and it delayed the originally planned theatrical release date in Hong Kong. Mainland showed it on January 4, 2019, and Hong Kong released it on January 10. 

In general, its film structure is classical and easier to grab the core heart of the film narrative. The main conflict is predictable but it is precise. The WBC world heavy weight champion Creed is challenged by Victor Drago, son of his father's killer Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren). After the failure to smash Victor in the ring without the training support of Rocky due to Creed's reckless attitude towards revenge, we can see the personal and professional development of Creed. 

In the final match, when we listen to Bill Conti's familiar music and the flashy fighting of Creed and Victor, you cannot keep seeing Creed winning over Victor at the end without touching your heart. 

Narrative Elements of Creed II

Several key themes of the story are that man-and-woman relationship (Creed and his wife Bianca have their baby born); trainer and student relationship (Creed and Rocky; Creed and old trainer Tony Evers; Ivan and Victor Drago); revenge (Creed and Rocky challenged by Victor and Ivan) ; disconnected family relationship (Rocky and his son Robert and grandson Logan). From protagonist-antagonist conflict, US and Russia conflict to aging issues, the social themes and plots are perfectly organized into film narrative. It's not just simple and easy to grab because of a few elements shown, but it is due to a highly generalized and complexed structural work of art with various aspects of social relation issues involved by the main characters. It's true story telling. 

As a result, it is very touching and meaningful in each part. Besides these, political and class conflict it is obvious that the fate of Rocky and Ivan is contrasted as a reflection of the environment and its emotional temperature. The good and the bad. The rich and the poor. The respected and the abandoned. However, Ivan and Victor's roles are still pretty mechanic. We can only feel sorry for them when Ivan is re-abandoned by his ex-Russian wife, Ludmila Drago, when the match almost ended as Creed's victory. 

Political Elements in Creed II

One politically realistic detail is that the Russian governmental officers, including Ludmila Drago's bureaucratically cruel attitude against losers in the Soviet era and the present Russian Federation, are the same in this film. Stalinists are still Stalinists as capitalist officers. It indicates nature did not change. This antagonizes audiences against Russia. If the filmmakers further detail the relationship of Ivan and Victor and their inner lives, it will more powerfully enhance its emotional impact on narrative events. And will make it less political in terms of the art of cinema. 

Conclusion on Creed II

In conclusion, this Rocky film is the best of the best in its cinematically touching, simple and generalized structure and narrative. It fully includes emotional issues between the relative social relationships of the main key characters. Some critics would say that it's pretty predictable. It does not matter that the important point of film art is if it touches the audience's heart and how deeply moved it is. 


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Film Review: Creed II (2018) - The best of the bests among all the Rocky series films


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