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.
Is Joshua-Klitschko II On The Way?
By: Sean Crose
Last month, fight fans were treated to what was arguably the best heavyweight title fight in the past two decades. For Anthony Joshua gained heavyweight supremacy by besting aging icon Wladimir Klitschko in a terrific back and forth battle that had both men hitting the mat before Joshua finally blasted his way to victory in the 11th round. Not only was the bout itself thrilling, it was held before close to a hundred thousand fans in London’s Wembley stadium. The mood surrounding the event was absolutely electric and – for once – the match itself delivered.
Soon afterward, almost immediately so, talking heads started proclaiming loudly that boxing was finally back. Hopefully, that proves to be true. But Klitschko may be coming back, as well. The man had a rematch clause in his contract for the first Joshua fight and now Joshua promoter Eddie Hearn feels like Klitschko will act upon it. This may disappoint some fans, who want to see Joshua move on to bigger and better things after finally disposing of Klitschklo in a thorough manner several weeks ago. Still, Klitschko is legally free to do what he wants. And, being a legit sportsman with a sense of honor, he would surprise few if he were to choose to give Joshua another crack.
The question, of course, is would Klitschko have much of a chance of winning a rematch? In all honesty, it might be hard for some to see how he would. The man gave Joshua everything he had the first time. Many are even saying it was Klitschko’s best performance in years – if not ever. Yet he still came up short. What could he do to improve upon the last performance? People also need to remember the fact that Klitschko is no longer a young man. He’s in his forties now and, like it or not, age does matter.
Regardless, Joshua-Klitschko II would be a must see event, even if it would prove incapable of matching the thrill of the first go-round. Klitschko, who has long been accused of being boring, was exciting enough the last time to indicate a second bout wouldn’t be sleep inducing (would he carry out the same strategy against Joshua again, though?). Add in the fact that it’s two big men fighting for big stakes and the bout becomes all the harder to resist.
And then there’s the rising star of Joshua, who is quite possibly the most exciting heavyweight since Tyson. In fact, he may be on the verge of becoming an international draw regardless of who he fights. That’s something the heavyweight division hasn’t seen in ages.