Creed II 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review
The Rocky films have a tried and true formula and although the original 5 films all have their ups and downs, partly because of the time period and partly because they ran out of stories, the CREED films seem to be capitalizing on the formula and learning from past mistakes. For most people in their 30’s and 40’s, their favorite Rocky film is ROCKY IV. Not necessarily because it’s the best, but because it’s the most “Rocky-ist” of all Rocky films. And everyone remembers Mr. T in ROCKY III, even if they get confused which film he was actually in. The point in this quick trip down memory lane is that CREED II is essentially a remade mashup of ROCKY III and ROCKY IV. That’s the best and worst thing about the film.
Heavyweight champ Adonis Creed (Jordan) is champion of the world, but feels like he maybe took the easy road to get there since he hasn’t had a real challenger (ala Rocky in ROCKY III). This feeling is exacerbated when Viktor Drago and his father Ivan Drago (from ROCKY IV) publicly call him out (ala Clubber Lang in ROCKY III). So Creed eventually takes the fight to prove himself, but ends up losing big time (ala Rocky in ROCKY III). A rematch is on the horizon, but the Dragos insist on Creed going to Russia for the second round (ala ROCKY IV). In order to get ready for the fight, Creed has to shed the glitz and glamor and get back to old school training methods (ala every Rocky movie).
As you can see, virtually every plot point is a straight copy of one of the two mentioned Rocky films and normally, that would be reason enough for me, or any critic, to bash the film. But when it comes to the Rocky/Creed franchise, sometimes being familiar is what works. The training montage is one of the best we’ve seen in a series filled with them and the end bout makes you want to stand up and cheer as loud and hard as any in the series. We all know Sylvester Stallone has the Rocky character nailed down, but Michael B. Jordan has Adonis just as strong. Plus, it was awesome seeing Dolph Lundgren back as Ivan. No one outside of Sunny Philadelphia will ever say ROCKY IV is a great movie, but just about everyone can agree it’s a lot of fun, thanks in large part to Lundgren’s Ivan. It was surprisingly satisfying to check in on his character and see how his life has turned since his bout with Balboa.
If you like the Rocky and Creed movies, then there’s nothing not to like here. I’m not sure how many different boxing stories there are left to tell, but going back and redoing some of the favorites turned out to be a good way to go for the CREED sequel. The question is whether or not this franchise can continue without any new characters for Adonis to fight, but having him fight the children of all of Rocky’s old foes is actually pretty fun. Here’s hoping Clubber Lang has a kid out there somewhere for Adonis to challenge.
4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW
Video: The CREED II 4K features an upscaled video from a 2K master, so the benefits of the 4K are minimal. There are some noticeable improvements in the details and some color depth, particularly in dark scenes with pops of color, but overall, this is a bland transfer. A lot of that is just the style of the film, which features a lot of drab colors and low lighting.
Audio: The Dolby Atmos audio track is pretty impressive. Crowd noise is always a favorite of mine when it comes to Atmos tracks and there’s plenty of robust crowd noise to be had in CREED II.
This title was reviewed using a Samsung UBD-K8500 with a Sony XBR75X850C TV.
There are no 4K exclusive special features, but it does include a Blu-ray of the film, which has the following special features:
Deleted Scenes (9:45): Four scenes, most of which focused on Rocky acting old and wise.
Featurettes: Four featurettes in total, the longest of which is just over 15 minutes. These all act as sort of a retrospective of the series, one focusing on the women in the Rocky/Creed films, another on the father-son relationships, one on the casting of Viktro Drago and one that’s a flat out retrospective.