JEFF PEARLMAN

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Creed 2: Not good

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Saw “Creed 2” tonight.

It sucked.

I hate being the guy who says “Creed 2” sucked, because “Creed” is one of my four or five all-time favorite movies. But, Jesus Christ, this was film making at its near-worst. The story line was contrived, forced, simplistic. The acting was, eh, rough. The fight scenes were better than Rocky, Rocky II, Rocky III, Rocky IV and Rocky V—but that’s only because in “Creed 2” boxers actually practice defense as well as offense. Truly, this was nearly as forgettable a Rocky film as the fifth installment, which was so bad (it featured Tommy Morrison as the bad guy, Stallone as a brain-damaged Balboa) the Creed flicks simply pretend it never happened.

Specifically, here are some beefs:

• The basic narrative is that, somewhere in the Ukraine, Ivan Drago’s son Viktor is a promising heavyweight fighter, and he wants a shot at Adonis Creed to avenge Ivan’s 1985 defeat to Rocky. Only, eh, that whole line of reasoning is illogical, because Adonis isn’t even related to Balboa, and Ivan actually killed his father.

• The best actor in the movie is Tessa Thompson, who plays Adonis’ wife. Only she’s reduced to C-level sidekick here. Her role is minimal, her impact inconsequential.

• Dolph Lundgren plays Ivan Drago—and, lord, he’s brutal. I mean, Lundgren was never known as a master thespian. But this was … awful.

• In “Creed” Adonis was a light heavyweight. Suddenly he’s a heavyweight, and he wins the heavyweight title beating a guy who was, in the first film, also a light heavyweight. Goes unexplained.

• Ryan Coogler is one of the best directors on the planet. His replacement, Steven Caple Jr., is not.

• Rocky decides not to train Adonis for the fight against Vickor Drago, and—the way his protege reacts—you’d think he had sex with Adonis’ wife. I mean, he was basically saying, “Yeah, I’m gonna sit this one out.” Not a big deal. And Adonis totally abandons him, talks shit about him. Illogical.

• The Rocky music is iconic. It’s rarely used.

• The training scene in Arizona, and the accompanying montage, feels cheap and lazy. It also makes no sense. It’s Mad Max meets Balboa. Weird.

I can go on and on. But I’m tired, and my friend Mike Moodian summed it up beautifully on Facebook …

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