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A Look at Creed II

By: Kirk Jackson

The trailer for the Creed II released and it appears audiences are ready for round two of the revitalized Rocky series.

This upcoming installment is the sequel to Creed and the eighth installment in the Rocky film series. Creed II is directed by Steven Caple Jr., and written by Sylvester Stallone and Cheo Hodari Coker.

Creed II stars Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson, Dolph Lundgren, Phylicia Rashad, Andre Ward, and Wood Harris, all of whom will reprise their roles from previous entries, while Florian Munteanu joins the cast portraying Viktor Drago.

While Creed writer-director and frequent Michael B. Jordan collaborator Ryan Coogler, is not directing the sequel, he serves as an executive producer for this film.

While the Creed embodied elements of the first Rocky movie, the sequel appears to embody elements of Rocky II, Rocky III and Rocky IV.

Through the short montage of clips, it appears to display the ascension of Adonis Creed (played by Michael B. Jordan) as a fighter – more than likely a world champion at this point.

We saw stages of growth, maturity in the first film for Adonis, as he went from young, unproven, undisciplined boxer, aggressively fighting his way to the top of his respective sport and battling to establish separation from his father’s shadow.

In addition to that battle, Adonis was able to piece together meaningful relationships and develop some form of normalcy after initial subjection towards emotional and physical chaos due to his birth father’s indiscretions and untimely death.

Fast-forward towards the sequel, the major theme appears to be one of redemption.

Adonis or ‘Donnie’ proved himself worthy of a fighter and carved his path to the top, but the mission was not quite complete due to the successful title defense from “Pretty” Ricky Conlan (played by Tony Bellew).

At this point, Conlan is probably in jail (as the original storyline projected) and Adonis will battle Danny “Stuntman” Wheeler (played by Andre Ward) for top position in the light heavyweight division.

Adonis is seeking further validation and redemption of sorts, by defeating Wheeler – who bested him in a gym sparring session taking place in the first film, while winning the world titles – in which should silence the critics.

Another key point as far as plot is redemption of sorts for Adonis, as he aims to defeat the son of Ivan Drago (played by Dolph Lundgren), the illegally enhanced powerful athlete responsible for murdering his father in the ring way back in Rocky IV.

Ivan’s son Viktor (played by Florian Munteanu) is fighting for redemption of sorts and perhaps attempting to carve his own path and legacy as did Adonis in the last film.

Other plots to follow are the relationships between Adonis and his adoptive mother and widow of Apollo, Mary Anne Creed (played by Phylicia Rashad) and his love interest Bianca Porter (played by Tessa Thompson). Bianca continues to deal with progressive hearing loss and shares a newborn child with Adonis.

Of course we can’t forget the continued development between Adonis and the titular character from previous films Mr. Rocky Balboa (played by Sylvester Stallone) himself.

Rocky is the head trainer and a fatherly figure of sorts to Adonis. Rocky is also battling non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
The secondary plotlines extending beyond boxing is in part as why Creed was successful; the problems plaguing the characters of the film are relatable to the audience. Watching the antagonist rise from ultimate underdog status to overcome various obstacles can be inspiring at the very least.

It’s the reason why people gravitate towards the ideal of Rocky or any underdog for that matter.

The sequel for Creed is necessary because there are loose ends that need resolution. However, it would be unfortunate to see Creed travel down the same path as of the earlier installments of the Rocky franchise.
Sequels upon sequels of repetitive plot and unnecessary cinema, repeated themes to ad nauseam.

Creed is a fresh start – albeit borrowing and playing off similar elements in which made the original Rocky successful.

The problems plaguing some of the secondary characters from this continuation of the story and how they interact with Adonis should be compelling theater.

Themes of love, grief, family lineage, pride, history, revenge, growth and develop may all factor into this film.
It’ll be interesting to see how everything unfolds as the son of Apollo Creed and the son of Ivan Drago collide as both characters seek their own version of redemption.

The reunion between Ivan Drago and Rocky Balboa should make for scintillating cinema, as should the interaction between Adonis and Ivan.

Audiences will find out as Creed II is scheduled for release nationwide November 21, 2018.

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6 Boxing Movies to Get You Motivated to Train

By Bryanna Fissori 

There are some really great boxing movies out there, which are inspirational, compelling and motivating. This might be just what you need to light that fire before boxing class! 

In no particular order: 

Rocky (1976)

Honestly, you may not even be allowed to take a boxing class unless you have watched “Rocky”. This is arguably the greatest (or at least the most popular) boxing movie ever produced. Silvester Stallone stars as small-time fighter “Rocky Balboa” who gets the opportunity of a lifetime when he is chosen to fight champion boxer Apollo Creed. It is the story of an underdog with inspiring work ethic and it is a boxing essential.  


Million Dollar Baby (2004)

This is a movie has a rockstar cast which includes Hillary Swank as a female boxer just trying to get by, Clint Eastwood as a hard-nosed trainer and Morgan Freedman who plays the friend and employee of Eastwood and also the narrator for the story. This is a great plot involving a young woman beginning her boxing career later in life and her struggles to make it, which extra inspiring if you are just starting your own boxing journey. The ending has a twist that we won’t give away, but tissues are highly suggested. 


The Fighter (2010) 

The Fighter is based on the life of American boxer “Micky Ward” played by Mark Wahlberg and his half-brother brother Dicky Ekland played by an emaciated Christian Bale. The story is full of hardships that represent the reality of what happens to sometimes to athletes who don’t know what do after they are past their competitive prime. Micky is caught many times between a rock and a hard place as he tries to push ahead to regain his success. 


Creed (2015)

This can be a stand-alone movie, but will be even more awesome for those who have seen the aforementioned “Rocky”.  At least the first one. Silvester Stallone returns as a much older version of his previous character. He is tracked down by hopeful boxer by the name of “Adonis Creed,” who happens to be the son of Rocky’s long-time, but now deceased rival, “Apollo Creed”. He reluctantly becomes Creed’s trainer as they look to take on the current champion. 


Real Steel (2011)

Ok, so this movie isn’t actually about people boxing . . . well, it kind of is. Anyway, this is an awesome, heart-warming flick starring Hugh Jackman as a former boxer who now competes boxing robots, which are very similar to a real-life version of Rock-Um-Sock-Um Robots. The story has a lot to do with the evolving bond between a father and son. It is full of fun and family-friendly action scenes that will leave you ready to put on the gloves!


Cinderella Man (2005) 

Cinderella Man follows the story of real-life Irish boxer James J. Braddock during the depression era. Braddock is brilliantly played by Russell Crowe, with co-stars Rene Zellweger and Paul Giamatti. The main character is a high-level fighter in the state of New Jersey before the depression hits. He suffers a tough loss that causes his career to spiral. Soon he is barely able to feed his family and on the brink of losing absolutely everything. This is an inspiring story of second chances in a time when few were given. 


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