Starring: Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson, Dolph Lundgren, Florian Munteanu, Phylicia Rashad, Andre Ward, Wood Harris
OUR RATING: ★★★½
Sports drama sequel directed by Steven Caple Jr., co-written by Sylvester Stallone. Creed II follows Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan), as his life has become a balancing act, between personal obligations and training for his next big fight, he is up against the challenge of his life. Facing off against Viktor Drago (Florian Munteanu), the son of Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren), an opponent with ties to his family’s past only intensifies his impending battle in the ring. Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) is there by his side through it all and, together, Rocky and Adonis will confront their shared legacy, question what is worth fighting for, and discover that nothing is more important than family.
Our Favorite Quotes:
Bianca: [signing to Adonis, as he’s about to go out and fight] Did you take a s**t yet?
Adonis Johnson: Mm-hmm.
Bianca: Mm-hmm. Okay, good. It’s just another fight, okay? You got this.
Rocky Balboa: You know, there’s only three steps into that ring. Just three. And tonight, it’s going to look as high as a mountain. And when you climb through them ropes, it’s going to be the loneliest place in the world because you’re going to be in there with another fighter who wants to take you out. So now, you got to ask yourself, are you here to prove something to other people, or prove something to yourself?
Adonis Johnson: To myself.
Rocky Balboa: Right.
News Reporter: Ukrainian boxer Viktor Drago appeared today in Philadelphia to issue a very public challenge to recently crowned heavyweight champion Adonis Creed. A press conference was held earlier by boxing promoter Buddy Marcelle.
Buddy Marcelle: [referring to Viktor] We came all the way to Philly to let you know it’s serious. Now, this man here, he ain’t no Danny Wheeler. And let’s be honest, Creed fought him three years too late anyway.
Ivan Drago: People in this country love you. But Russia, no one touch Drago name. Everything changed that night.
Rocky Balboa: Yeah, look, you know, that’s like a million years ago.
Ivan Drago: Like yesterday to me.
Rocky Balboa: So you came all the way over here to tell me that?
Buddy Marcelle: It’s no coincidence that Ivan Drago’s son shows up right after Apollo Creed’s son claims the belt. This is Creed versus Drago. This is the fight the whole world wants to see. And this is the fight he should take. Unless he’s afraid of history repeating itself.
News Reporter: That history being the infamous 1985 match in which boxing legend Apollo Creed was killed by Russian fighter Ivan Drago. Apollo’s trainer, Rocky Balboa, was heavily criticized for failing to stop that fight.
Ivan Drago: Because of you, I lose everything. Country. Respect. Wife. You ever see stray dogs in Ukraine? They go for days with no food. People spit on them. They have nothing. No home. Only will to survive, to fight. I have son. All he knows is this. My son will break your boy.
Rocky Balboa: [gets up] Been a long day. I think we’re done here. Because around here we put strays away.
Ivan Drago: [points at Apollo’s photo] It’s good picture.
Buddy Marcelle: The belt ain’t enough. You need a narrative. Something that sticks to the ribs. Your dad, he knew that.
Adonis Johnson: Do yourself a favor, brah, and quit while you ahead.
Buddy Marcelle: Self-preservation. At least you got that over your old man. That must be Rocky whispering in your ear.
Rocky Balboa: [to Adonis, referring to the street light outside his house] Look at that light. That thing’s been broken for a couple of years. It’s driving me crazy. City won’t fix it or nothing. What good is a light that don’t light, right? Kind of funny, but it’s stupid, too.
Adonis Johnson: [referring to the fight with Viktor] I got to take the fight.
Rocky Balboa: Why?
Adonis Johnson: These dudes killed my pops. Now they’re parading around, talking s**t. I can’t let that slide. I’m the champ, right?
Rocky Balboa: Yeah.
Adonis Johnson: So I ain’t got a choice.
Rocky Balboa: Choice? That’s the same thing your father said, and he died right here, in my hands. Look what his choice put your mother through. You don’t want to really bring all that stuff up again, do you, kid?
Adonis Johnson: I thought you would get it. If I don’t take this fight, I got to live with it right now.
Rocky Balboa: That kid was raised in hate, you know what I’m talking about? You weren’t. Don’t do it.
Adonis Johnson: But you did.
Rocky Balboa: It’s different.
Adonis Johnson: It was different?
Rocky Balboa: A lot different. I was supposed to be in there with Drago that night and not your father. And I could’ve thrown in the towel, but I didn’t. And I got to live with that. And when I did get in that ring, that guy broke things in me that ain’t never been fixed. It’s not worth it. Not at all.
Rocky Balboa: Why do you want to fight?
Adonis Johnson: What are you talking about? I just told you why.
Rocky Balboa: No, you didn’t, Donnie. Why do you want to fight? I get why they want to fight you. I know what they’re fighting for. What about you? Listen to me, you got everything to lose. He’s got nothing to lose. When a fighter ain’t got nothing to lose, he’s dangerous!
Adonis Johnson: I’m dangerous!
Adonis Johnson: You think I’m going to lose.
Rocky Balboa: I didn’t say that.
Adonis Johnson: Same guy that said he ain’t have enough experience. Raw, right?
Rocky Balboa: Yeah.
Adonis Johnson: But you don’t think I could beat him. Is that what you’re trying to say?
Rocky Balboa: No. No, that’s not what I’m saying. I’m saying I’m not going to be here forever.
Adonis Johnson: And what’s that supposed to mean?
Rocky Balboa: That means you got to do some smart thinking.
Adonis Johnson: Oh, you want to talk about smart decisions, Rock? You in this house all alone. Who’s been taking care of you? Me. I’ve been here for you! Who else you got? Listen. I’m taking this fight with or without you.
Rocky Balboa: It’s got to be without. I can’t do it.
Adonis Johnson: [Rocky starts walking away] So that’s it? You walking out on me? At least you ain’t got to worry about throwing in the towel this time.
Rocky Balboa: Yeah. Yeah.
Adonis Johnson: You did say you always wanted kids, right?
Bianca: Yeah, but I didn’t say so soon. I don’t know if I’m, if we are ready.
Adonis Johnson: Let’s get ready, then.
Adonis Johnson: Ma, that fight, between me and Ivan Drago’s son, I’m going to take it.
Mary Anne Creed: Okay.
Adonis Johnson: That’s it?
Mary Anne Creed: What else is there to say?
Adonis Johnson: So, that doesn’t bother you?
Mary Anne Creed: Oh, you think this doesn’t bother me? You’re a grown man. It doesn’t matter what I or anyone else thinks. You want to fight this man, that’s your business. You don’t need my blessings. You clearly don’t have Rocky’s.
Adonis Johnson: Rocky don’t get it. It wasn’t his dad. It changed my life. Your life. You’re telling me you don’t miss him?
Mary Anne Creed: Excuse me? Do not try to make this about me, and don’t pretend that it’s about your father. You became the world champion without him.
Adonis Johnson: Then why don’t I feel like it?
Mary Anne Creed: If your father was here, he would tell you he didn’t feel like it either. But he’s not. I just hope you’ll be here for your child.
Reporter: And knowing what happened between your father and Drago, you must have some worry.
Adonis Johnson: What would I be afraid of? I’m a fighter. This is what I do, right? It’s who I am.
Bianca: [after Adonis is badly injured from his fight with Viktor] I don’t know. Lately, it’s like, he hasn’t really been himself. And I get it, because he’s going through a lot. And he’s just starting physical therapy, trying to get himself right. And he’s distant and disconnected. It’s like nothing really matters to him right now, including me. Which is new.
Mary Anne Creed: Listen, be there for him, take care of him, give him your love. But also, you got to realize he’s in a place right now that only he can get himself out of.
Bianca: With everything he’s going through…
Mary Anne Creed: With everything he’s going through? You’ve been in his corner every step of the way. He’s a grown man. He’s got to heal from the inside out. Trust me, I know. I’ve been there.
Rocky Balboa: You know, I was thinking about what you were saying, about what smart decisions have I made lately. I couldn’t think of many. You know, I wasn’t even there when my son’s son, my grandson, was born. I mean, he’s like that tall now probably. I don’t even know him. He doesn’t know me. It’s pathetic.
Adonis Johnson: Well, why won’t you just call him?
Rocky Balboa: It ain’t that easy, you know.
Rocky Balboa: Listen, I don’t want you making the same mistakes I made. You know what I mean? So, you got to ask yourself, what’s the valuable stuff? It’s like I asked you before. What were you really fighting for?
Adonis Johnson: [referring to the medals] I was afraid. Of this. Expectations. Being the champ. I was scared I couldn’t do what he could, and it’s weird. I used to feel like he was apart of me. Now I can’t hear him, or that thing, that thing that tells me to get in the ring, move my feet, keep my hands up, hit anything that gets in my way. I can’t hear it anymore. I don’t even know how I lost.
Rocky Balboa: Your mind wasn’t right. And your natural style just won’t work with a guy that big.
Adonis Johnson: You saying yours was better?
Rocky Balboa: I won, didn’t I?
[they both chuckle and Adonis embraces Rocky]
Rocky Balboa: [referring to Bianca giving birth] Relax.
Adonis Johnson: Okay.
Rocky Balboa: Everything’s going to be fine.
Adonis Johnson: Mm-hmm.
Rocky Balboa: You just got to be there for her, okay? That’s your job.
Adonis Johnson: I got you, I got you.
Rocky Balboa: And remember, today is going to be the best day of your life, right here. Alright, come on. Best day of your life.
Adonis Johnson: I’m having a baby.
Rocky Balboa: I feel like I’m having a baby.
Adonis Johnson: [referring to his baby’s possible degenerative hearing disorder] They’re going to run some more tests. They said it’s early, and sometimes they get false reads.
Rocky Balboa: Let me ask you something. What if it ain’t okay?
Adonis Johnson: I can’t think like that.
Rocky Balboa: You got to, I mean, how are you going to handle it?
Adonis Johnson: I don’t want to go there.
Rocky Balboa: You’re going to love her?
Adonis Johnson: How are you going to ask me a question like that, Rock? Yeah, I’m going to love her.
Rocky Balboa: Good. Because she ain’t feeling sorry for herself, and you shouldn’t either.
Adonis Johnson: [referring to Viktor] I have to fight him again.
Bianca: I don’t want to be that person to stop you, but I don’t want to end up like your mom, alone.
Adonis Johnson: I feel you.
Bianca: Do you? And it’s not just us anymore, D.
Adonis Johnson: I know it sounds crazy doing all this all over again, but this won’t be the end of me, or you. It can’t be, because we a team.
Bianca: We weren’t a team when you took the fight the last time.
Adonis Johnson: You’re right. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have put you through that.
Bianca: Then why? Why do it again? What do you have to prove?
Adonis Johnson: It’s not about that. You wouldn’t be any good to anybody if you didn’t do what you love. You wouldn’t be able to breathe, right? Well, I wouldn’t be any good to anybody if I don’t handle this the right way. But I need you. Both of you. I’ll beat him.
Bianca: You better.
Rocky Balboa: You got to think about this real hard, because you got people that need you now.
Adonis Johnson: Well, that’s exactly why I can’t lose.
Tony ‘Little Duke’ Burton: Buddy said the fight has to be in Russia. Take it or leave it.
Rocky Balboa: Russia?
Tony ‘Little Duke’ Burton: On their turf.
Adonis Johnson: So Russia it is.
Rocky Balboa: [to Adonis] Listen, you want to change things in a big way, then you need to make some big changes.
Adonis Johnson: [referring to their training camp in the desert] Yeah, sure looks like hell to me.
Rocky Balboa: Since you’re going back to hell, you might as well get used to it. Let’s go.
Rocky Balboa: [to Adonis, during the fight with Viktor] You knew this was going to be a war, right? You knew that going in there. From now on, it’s who wants it more, and who’s got more heart.
Rocky Balboa: [to Adonis, during the fight with Viktor] Don’t let him crack you. You stay on the outside, you’re going to get hurt. You stay on the inside, you’ll tear him up. I’m telling you, it’s all about pressure. If you want to give pain, you got to be willing to take the pain.
[in Russian; comforting Viktor after he’s thrown in the towel to concede the fight to Adonis]
Ivan Drago: It’s okay. It’s okay.
Adonis Johnson: [after Adonis wins the fight] Hey, Unc.
Rocky Balboa: [as Adonis wants him to join him in the ring] It’s your time.
Adonis Johnson: [at Apollo’s grave] What’s up, pops? I’m sorry it took me so long to come see you. I’m not sure how this is supposed to go. I guess I should tell you that mom’s doing pretty good. You know, she’s holding up. So is Rocky. He’s a tough dude. I can see why you liked him. I also see why you wanted to fight him too. Look, I just came here to tell you that, that I did it. But I didn’t do it for you, or because of them. I did it because it was my fight. And when I stepped into that ring, it wasn’t just about me.
Adonis Johnson: [at Apollo’s grave] Sometimes we think we have to do it all on our own. But we don’t.
Adonis Johnson: [at Apollo’s grave] I want to introduce you to somebody. This is your granddaughter. Amara.
Adonis Johnson: [to Amara] Say, “What’s up to Pop-Pop?”