Yesterday was another scorcher, reaching 36 degrees in parts of Sydney. When I left the house, the air was already humid but would only get worse through the day. Thankfully, I was dressed in the right outfit. It pays to check the daily and weekly forecasts. I was heading to Rhodes to meet up with a pal. We have agreed to see Creed II and I expected an above-average movie.
Prior to our viewing, I had checked out the reviews and box office performance and Creed performed well on all counts. This is rare for any movie to hold: A Certified Fresh rating, an 80 percent audience score while also being a box office hit. Most would be lucky to bat two out of three. Given, it was a sequel and I’ve outlined how I’m growing tired of them. In this case though, the sequel turned out better than the original.
Creed II is a sports drama that stars Michael B. Jordan as the eponymous Adonis Creed. In this instalment, he is crowned as heavyweight king but has to face the biggest challenge of his life. The weary Silvester Stallone returns as his trainer, Rocky Balboa. For most of the film, Stallone looks spent. He slurs his words, and looks every bit the retired, worn-out pugilist.
In facing his nemesis, Viktor Drago, Creed has to battle his own demons. The Russian behemoth is the son of Ivan, the guy who killed his father. During the weigh in, Ivan taunts Doni for being slighter than his father. When Rocky asks him, ‘What are you fighting for?’ Adonis gets a fit of rage but doesn’t give an answer. Going in as a gung-ho champion with ‘everthing to lose’, he realises that his physical attributes are inadequate. He must likewise be mentally tough to overcome the Drago monster. Later on, Rocky chastises him for treating the brawler like all his other opponents. Creed has to fine tune his technique and adapt a different style against Viktor.
Unflappable as Viktor is, he has never gone past four rounds in any of his fights. He is also predictable, like the classic Russian man-robot. He grew up without a mother, as she left them after Ivan’s loss to Balboa. Ivan tells Rocky, ‘I lost everything’. With nothing more to lose, father and son trains hard and turns Russian heads in the process. Viktor is a bully who not only steamrolls the opposition but consistently lands low blows. He reminds me of another Viktor (from the Mitch Rapp series). Before the moment of truth, Adonis Creed was a 25 to 1 underdog despite being the reigning champ. With Rocky again in his corner, will Creed finally silence his worst nightmare? The set is stage for a monumental encounter.
The Cold War
While mainly being a love story/boxing drama, the Russian v. American trope has a long history. Indeed, the Rocky franchise (of which Creed is a part) started during the heat of the Cold War. Just like Halloween, Rocky has managed to forge on after four decades. Tensions between the two states have been red-hot again. Even in this era, the image of the Russian robot and the Yankee dynamo, finds a home. As always, the tough Russian isn’t impregnable while the upstart American is the people’s choice.
Worth fighting for
More than mere prize fighting, this picture is about family and fighting for something. You cannot pummel without a cause. Adonis’s dad perished before he knew him enough, but he had other family to nurture him. Moreover, he has a family of his own, and he will not let the same thing happen to his child. He doesn’t need his mum’s blessing to fight as he is a grown man, but this match isn’t just about him. His love and his country inspires his heroics.
My friend said he enjoyed the session. After all, this is his type of movie.