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The Rocky saga, which was born from the humble vision and hard work of Sylvester Stallone in 1976, gets its eighth installment on the big screen when Creed II premieres in cinemas on Friday.
This is a Sylvester Stallone movie at its best, directed by Steven Caple Jr., a man I have never heard of before (The first Creed (2015) was directed by more famous Ryan Coogler).
The aging boxer, who after all the years is still celebrated as the “champ,” has become an enlightened guide for his protege Adonis Johnson played by Michael B. Jordan.
Adonis, as a young man, does not only have to deal with the turmoil of professional boxing business but also with major changes in his personal life. At the same time, Rocky has to make choices that could mean life and death.
Anyone who is a fan of boxing or was a teenager during the build-up of the franchise probably remembers the first four parts. I remember best the first and the fourth. In the latter, the duel between the Soviet slayer Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren) and Rocky is one of the most intense boxing fights ever captured on film.
Lundgren, who is aging well like Stallone, 72, plays an intense old man Drago, who has lived in hatred since he lost to Rocky. He has bred a son, Viktor (Florian Munteanu), who has grown up between the spit and curse of his father. Needless to say, they are seeking revenge. But will they get it?
The pieces, scenes and segments of this one-hell-of-a-ride are tied together with Swedish film composer Ludwig Göransson’s hell-bending soundtrack; accentuated with bad bass rap beats.
The music in the first scene where Drago shows up with his son that blends some Russian folk music and dark melodies could tell the story of what’s happening to a blind man. When was the last time you saw that happen?
And then later when you hear the famous Rocky fanfares and other pieces of famous Rocky-tunes pieced together with some state-of-art boxing sequences you start to slowly realize that you are watching history in the making.
‘Creed II’ premieres in cinemas November 23.