Tag Archives: Sylvester Stallone

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.

creed_ii_c2_03400_r2_rgb.0

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!

Screen-Shot-2018-06-20-at-11.08.33-AM

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.

creed_ii_still_2

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

creed_ii-_poster_0

CREED, THE FIRST TRAILER FOR THE ROCKY SPIN-OFF!

So, how could you continue a much loved franchise after giving a great ending to its main character? You expand its world and find a new focus. With Rocky Balboa officially retired from boxing, it is then for Adonis Johnson Creed to take in the footsteps of his father Apollo to become a boxing champ. With Sylvester Stallone becoming Rocky for the seventh time, he goes from being student-to-teacher as he helps the son of his dearly departed friend (Michael B. Jordan) rise through the ranks. This will be the first film featuring Rocky since 2006’s Rocky Balboa, with Stallone having played the character since 1976.

When did Apollo Creed have a son? Why does he want help from Rocky? and is Rocky doing OK these days? Find out all the answers later this year as the film is due for release 25th November 2015 in the US with a release date for the UK still to be confirmed?

Written by Jonjo Cosgrove

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.

rocky IV image

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.

Rocky IV Movie Poster