Tag Archives: Ivan Drago

CREED II. FILM REVIEW

Technically the 8th film in the Rocky franchise, a sequel to the 2015 ‘Creed’ and a follow-up to the fantastic ‘Rocky IV’! This sequel needed to do so much to entertain both old and new fans as well as create a story which felt like a natural progression of everything that we had seen before. Luckily, the movie is crammed with unforgettable performances and so much drama!

As Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan) continues his reign as Heavyweight Champion, he is eventually challenged by boxer Viktor Drago. Why is this opponent so significant? He is the son of Ivan Drago, the man who killed Apollo Creed in the ring over 30 years ago. While Adonis is certain he can take on Viktor, Rocky (Sylvester Stallone) says he will have no part in this match and refuses to see his protégé possibly suffer the same fate as his father.

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Just like ‘Creed’ and the other Rocky films, the fights inside the ring can sometimes be as hard-hitting as those outside of it. This time, we see the relationship of Adonis and Bianca (Tessa Thompson) continue to grow as they begin to consider the life they will have together. The two go through some upsetting times, but will they be there for each other in the end?

Also, we get a lot of focus on Drago (Dolph Lundgren) and his son Viktor as we see the former fighter has since been disgraced and even pushed away from his home country of Russia. Ivan and his son have kept up a rigorous training regime in the hopes that they can return to their home and earn back their pride. Did I honestly feel some emotion towards the man who killed Apollo Creed? I did. Damn it!

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The fight choreography in this film is as good as it has ever been. Every punch hits the audience almost as hard as it does to each fighter, the boxing is indeed as epic as ever and the stakes are possibly at the highest in this franchise since the 1980’s. Steven Caple Jr. is the man in charge behind the camera this time and he makes sure that Ryan Coogler’s hard work continues to pay off. Also, with a script co-written by Stallone, the man who created this world, you know you will get the best from both Rocky Balboa and Lundgren’s Drago.

The shadow of what has come before always looms throughout this film. We know that Adonis is always trying to break out of the shadow of his father, and I say that this is the film where we reach that turning point where the torch has truly been passed on to the next generation. Saying that, the past and the future perfectly collide within this sequel and propels the franchise to heights that many would never have had expected it to touch ever again.

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With a number of cameos which will be a treat to lifelong fans, an emotional dent that is delivered by Michael B. Jordan and Tessa Thompson that will bring a tear to your eye and the breathless boxing match which ultimately sees the second generation of Creed and Drago fight both for themselves and for their fathers.

Truly one of the best films to come out in 2018 and personally for me the best Rocky film since 1985!

Final Rating: 9.5/10

Written by Jonjo Cosgrove

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London Film and Comic Con 2016 REVIEW

A lot better organised, a superb selection of stars and a great weekend all round. The displays were fantastic, the halls well-spaced and some great people all round. Olympia in London set the biggest weekend of the year into motion almost seamlessly.

I was there for Saturday and Sunday and I had a blast. Getting there at 7am (I know that is two hours before the day starts), I made sure I was near the front of the queue. Different to previous years, the organisation was spot on and people got in quickly and easily. Heading to the 1st floor for the virtual queue tickets for autographs was a breeze and I managed to get many within 20-50 and happy with how easy it was to get there. I was also asked by my best friend to obtain some, and was surprised at how easy it was to find everyone as the autographs all seemed to happen in one area (my friend also done two lots of cosplay, and I didn’t do any. Saved my money for lots of nerdy things that I really wanted and don’t regret).

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Some highlights from this year included the Suicide Squad outfits on display. In glass cases, we see the outfits from the new blockbuster on show for all to see, and there is a sense of joy at seeing these in the flesh. There are also all the fantastic outfits worn by the attendees, including the guy with a latex Arnold Schwarzenegger mask dressed as The Terminator was rather cool. The guys dressed as Stormtroopers once again looked cool and the guys and girls dressed as Marvel characters really made an impact, but there was one clear winner…Harley Quinn! The number of girls dressed as the Margot Robbie iteration of the character was incredible, and certainly must have raised a few eyebrows for the popularity of a character before the film officially debuts (and not just because of how revealing the outfit is).

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The guests I got to see was fantastic. The first person I got to see was the action legend Dolph Lundgren (Rocky IV, The Expendables). I have to say, he was very kind and really chatty when getting his autograph. I then met Michael Emerson (Lost, Person of Interest), once again a very kind man and was really happy to talk. I also had to meet Carl Weathers, even if it was to mainly get his autograph for my dad on the same picture as the one signed by Dolph! One autograph I had wanted since the initial announcement was Laurie Holden (The Walking Dead), though I had to wait a short time for her when she needed a break, she was indeed lovely and I got a hug from her for waiting for her to return (what, would you turn down a hug from her?). Harold Perrineau (Constantine, Lost) was really great to chat to and was more than happy to take a photo, though I did look slightly evil in the picture. The fantastic Jon Heder (Napoleon Dynamite) was also a great guy to meet, he was happy to take a selfie and was more like his character than I thought possible (which was cool). The last person I got to meet was Tobin Bell (Saw) and again he was really nice and definitely someone I enjoyed talking to and was happy to get his autograph.

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With all the good, there was a few points which let the weekend down. Now, I know being in a very warm place all day working can be tough, but there is no need for the rudeness from some of the guys at LFCC. Don’t get me wrong, the guys and girls there really made me feel welcome and were very helpful throughout. I also want to thank the lady who held my lightsaber (not a euphemism) while I got the Tobin Bell autograph, but the person who was in control of the queue for Tobin was rather rude and unnecessarily mean to fans. The attitude she displayed was just spiteful and some people looked physically upset with how she spoke to them. Also, the security guy who actually demanded that a fan deleted a photo off his phone and went to grab the iPhone off the young guy was a shocker. I understand the ‘No Photo’ signs should be respected, but the way that was dealt with was shocking. Talk and say “please don’t take photos”, not take their phone from them.

With that, these were only minor gripes and I am glad that neither of them were actually against me (not the 2nd point anyway). The way the halls were presented was fantastic, the stalls were nicely spaced to walk through and allowed a great flow of crowd at all times. Being able to go between the halls on both floors was great and eased a lot of congestion what was a huge problem in previous years. The services were adequate and I knew my surroundings well within a short amount of time. I overall was really happy at Comic Con this year and had probably one of the best experiences there for years. LFCC 2017 I am sure will continue to see this all grow and I really hope that it continues in the direction. My favourite buys were the Pop Vinyl figures of Rick and Morty, the T-Shirts and also the Kylo Ren lightsaber (I spent a good amount of money, but I was happy with every purchase). I can’t wait to do it all over again next year!

Written by Jonjo Cosgrove

Video credited to Hollandian Ground Productions

MY TOP TWENTY FILMS OF ALL TIME. #17: ROCKY IV

Sylvester Stallone had made the Rocky franchise popular worldwide by the time this 1985 movie came out, but this was the first time the series truly went international. Starring the original cast, held by a truly astounding soundtrack and featuring some of the best boxing scenes in cinema history, Rocky IV was indeed a massive hit. In the movie, Rocky Balboa is a retired boxer after becoming world champion for the second time. Soviet boxer Ivan Drago (portrayed by the near 6 and a half foot tall Dolph Lungdren) comes to the United States to prove himself as a fighter and has his eye on challenging Rocky. Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) takes the challenge and enters with probably one of the greatest entrances for a fighter as Apollo Creed arrives dancing on a stage which is lowered into the ring with James Brown backing him performing ‘Living In America’ and sporting the flag of the United States over his boxing gear. Given one of the biggest entrances, Apollo is dealt the greatest blow of his life and is overpowered by Ivan Drago with Drago delivering the chilling line “If he dies…he dies”. Later, Rocky swears revenge and agrees to fight Ivan Drago. This time though, it won’t be in the US. It will be in Russia.

Rocky, for the first time in the series, is left to feel guilt for the death of a friend. A fight which should have never happened, Rocky feels he has to take the fight with Ivan Drago to help both himself and the USA. While in Russia, Ivan Drago is being given every advantage possible in his training to help him prepare for his fight with the Italian Stallion. Rocky, however, is actually training in a more isolated area and uses his snowy and mountainous surroundings to help him prepare. With the help of Paulie and Duke (Apollo Creed’s trainer), Rocky begins to get ready and is soon joined by his wife Adrian (Talia Shire) as another shot of inspiration. The soundtrack for the training montage is brilliant and is still part of pop culture today and a track by Survivor is a very inspirational and rather catchy track which will get you singing after a listen or two (or make you think of that advert for Fosters Radler’s). In an almost mirrored entrance to that of the fight in the US, Ivan Drago is given a big spectacular entrance in his native country while Rocky is left with nothing but boos from the crowd. The fight starts out like the match with Drago and Creed, Rocky takes a pounding and looks to be suffering in the early rounds. Eventually, Rocky manages a few punches into the mighty Drago and begins to weaken him and see him take an unlikely advantage after landing a hit which cuts Drago below the eye and giving him a spot to attack (and helps them to realise Drago is just a man). Drago, while taking a short break, says that Rocky is “…like a piece of iron” and is astounded by his resilience.

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In the end, the hero takes on Drago till the fifteenth and final round where Rocky Balboa finally defeats the Russian with a knockout. This may be a usual “good vs. evil” story in many books, but I find it different. It is a movie which shows courage, revenge, guilt, mental suffering and what a man will go through for his friend and his country. It is a film which ultimately shows that a piece between two rather different nations can happen (but, I don’t wanna start being political). Sylvester Stallone shines in what is probably his best character he has ever portrayed, the last appearance of Carl Weathers as Apollo Creed is great as he goes out with a bang and given a spectacular scene to go out on. Talia Shire’s Adrian is sadly not given a lot to do in this film but she is still the person who keeps Rocky’s heart in the right place. Though he isn’t given many lines, Dolph Lungdren impresses as the giant Russian who is seen as not human for his actions and his lack of emotions. The inclusion of probably the greatest 80’s movie soundtrack makes this film an incredible experience and one that will get you cheering for Rocky Balboa for the whole of its run time. Get some popcorn, a few fizzy drinks and the soundtrack of the film to hear again afterwards and tuck in to this incredible movie!

Written by Jonjo Cosgrove.

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