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.
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!
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.
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