Film review: Creed 2

Welcome to another sweet spot time for films!  Thanksgiving through Christmas is when Hollywood trots out the better than normal stuff: holiday feel goods, kids films, and comic book films.  Maybe even an academy award film in limited release or 2.  Let’s talk Creed 2 and take it back…do-do, doooo do. Take it baaaaaack.

creed

No, Carl Weathers doesn’t come back to life after his corpse is struck by lightning.  But it sure looks like Sly Stallone did.  Ryan Coogler is out as director as he was busy making billions with Black Panthers.  Stephen Caple Jr has come in from the bullpen to direct the sequel.  So Creed (Michael B Jordan) has risen through the ranks and has become the heavyweight champion of the world.  Meanwhile, in the center of American’s election, Viktor Drago (Florian Munteanu) is trained by his father, Ivan (Dolph Lundgren). But a hustling promoter (Buddy Marcelle) is watching Viktor smack around Russkies like Russian men knock around their wives.  Obviously, he’s looking to get a fight between Creed and Drago to recreate the fight that their fathers had 30 years ago.  FYI, the Dragos aren’t doing so well.  They’re humping crates around when they’re not training.  Russia has turned its back on Drago.  Brigitte Nielsen left Ivan because he lost to Rocky and then found true love with Flavor Flav.  You’ll definitely sympathize with Lundgren as Ivan Drago.  He lost everything and lived a life of obscurity, being SO CLOSE and missing it.  He is obviously trying to relive the glory days and what could have been through his son.  You’ll also remember he’s an asshole when he needles Creed and Rocky.   

Tessa Thompson reprises her role as Bianca, Adonis Creed’s girlfriend.  She continues to hit it out of the park in this installment.  She’s making strides with her music while fighting through her healing impairment.  And of course, Stallone is back as everyone’s favorite Italian pugilist/trainer.  Now that Creed is champion, Viktor Drago challenges him for a fight.  Cute the multitude of emotions/flashbacks that Creed and Stallone go through from 30 years ago, when we all had to suffer through James Brown’s “Living in America.”  And oh yeah, when Stallone balked at throwing in the towel and getting his best friend killed.  

Fast forward to Creed taking on the fight and getting smoked by Drago.  Except this fight ends in a DQ so Creed still holds onto the title.  We begin to channel Rocky 3 where Rocky gets tuned up by Mr. T and here are where the parallels begin.  Both are questioning their heart and hunger throughout the second acts.  A life changing moment occurs with Creed and he’s debating if boxing still worth it.  Phylicia Rashad appears fresh out of testifying at Cosby’s trial and returns as Creed’s mother.  She reminds him of the obvious that there’s no need to do the rematch  end up like his father but hey, make your own decisions, son.  And of course, what would be a Rocky/Creed film without a training montage?  Creed realizes he can’t go about it the usual way so Stallone takes him to another venue, a la Rocky 4, sans cheesy 80’s music.  No, he doesn’t finish at the top of a mountain while yelling, DRAGO, in a 360 degree shot.  One more parallel?  Sure.  Creed even enlists Tony “Little Duke” Evers, the son of his dad’s trainer, Duke.  Remember him? “Throw in the damn towel!” 

Creed 2 is pretty good.  We even get a nice cameo in this one, I guarantee you’ll have an, “Oh shit!” moment in this theater.  Yes, it’s pretty predictable and yes, there are a ton of obvious similarities to Rocky 4.  But this an enjoyable film and you’ll feel satisfied, not overstuffed, like Thanksgiving dinner.  And let’s cross our fingers that for Creed 3, he fights Clubber Lang’s kid.  And wrestles Hulk Hogan’s son, Nick.  Wait, whoops…

I give it a 7/10

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Films that need to be removed from AFI’s top film list and films that should be added.

So here are the films I think that should be removed on the AFI top 100. I’ve seen 54/100. Either they’re not good or don’t hold up. The link to the list I’m referring to is in the comments.

Keep in mind that some of these films may be very good, just not amazing in my eyes. Some just don’t hold the test of time. And just because some of them have social issues doesn’t mean they’re great. Also, you may have enjoyed some as a child/teenager and it doesn’t mean you still have to hold it in high regard now. Lastly, I’ll define something as great if you have seen the film at LEAST 3 times and/or own it.

Here are the ones that should be removed:
1. Casablanca-solid but doesn’t hold up.
3. Citizen Kane- see above.
8. Schindler’s List- It’s very good but c’mon, you’re not re-watching this film. 
15. 2001-Hated it. Never saw this on drugs and if you need to be high to see this, it’s not good.
17. The Graduate-Good but again, do any of you own it or have seen this multiple times?
31. Maltese Falcon-solid but does it hold up? No.
34. Snow White-definitely doesn’t hold up. Not in my Disney top 20 and this has nothing to do with the animation.
35. Annie Hall-I know I’m in the minority but I hate this film. Just not funny whatsoever.
36. Bridge over the River Kwai- Good but not top 100
39. Dr Strangelove-Ambien, Aziz Ansari, or this. You decide.
42. Bonnie and Clyde-Mediocre at best.
50. Lord of the Rings-enjoyed it but definitely not top 100.
51. West Side Story-nope, nope, and nope.
53. Deer Hunter-it’s fine and I think the Russian roulette scene is what put this film on the list. Otherwise, it’s nothing remarkable.
62. American Grafitti- absolutely boring, couldn’t finish this film. Put Diner in this same category except I finished Diner…begrudgingly.
64. Network-fine but not top 100. Social issue film
68. Unforgiven-very good but not top 100.
70. A Clockwork Orange-Just because it was off the wall for the time doesn’t mean it should remain on the list. It’s fine but not list worthy.
76. Forrest Gump-I’m just bitter that this film beat Shawshank and Pulp Fiction in 94. But this film is also fine, not list worthy.
81. Spartacus-Definitely doesn’t hold up, couldn’t finish during a recent rewatch.
83. Titanic-Get the fuck out of here.
84. Easy Rider-Insanely boring. Great soundtrack but a big collection of nothing. Social issue film.
89. 6th Sense-Please. I called this ending out in the theater when I saw it. You’re not rewatching this except one time after you want to see how he never directly talks to Willis. Overrated.
92. Goodfellas-Just kidding, this film is flawless.
96. Do the Right Thing-Very good but not top 100. Definitely a social issue film.
97. Blade Runner-The Emperor’s New Clothes, I just don’t see it.
100. Ben Hur-Also doesn’t hold up.

 

And now, films I believe should be on the AFI top 100. If you disagree with a selection, don’t be a queef and just say the pick sucks. Offer another film instead of the one.

1. Aladdin-Next to the Pixar films (toy story 1 is currently on the AFI list), this is the best Disney film, ever.
2. Alien/Aliens-I prefer Aliens but fully acknowledge the first was groundbreaking.
3. Back to the Future-Go ahead, find me ONE person that hates this film. Good luck.


4. Good Will Hunting-Won multiple awards and hits a ton of emotional points throughout the film.


5. Heat-First film with DeNiro and Pacino doing scenes together and it doesn’t disappoint. One of the best gun battle scenes in film history.


6. JFK-Plenty of awards and noms. And it also made America restart their curiosity of the JFK conspiracy.


7. LA Confidential-One of the best crime dramas and also scooped up a bunch of awards, including Basinger and screenplay.


8. Naked Gun/Airplane-I prefer Naked Gun ever so slightly and there needs to be comedies on this list. Those films have non stop LOL moments and these films are daily quoted.


9. Terminator 2-one of the few times the sequels is better than the first. Groundbreaking technology at the time and this story is fantastic. Again, find someone who hates this film. And if you don’t get a little teary eyed when he lowers himself into the molten steel, you’re not alive.


10. Usual Suspects-See LA Confidential and one of the best endings I’ve ever seen. Spacey and best screenplay winners


11. Untouchables-Connery wins best supporting in the tale of Al Capone. DeNiro as Capone, brilliant.


12. Bronx Tale-And for those of you that want social issues in films, here you go.


13. The Dark Knight-This film is an 7 by itself, Ledger makes it a 10. Even the biggest anti-superhero people admit this is the one which is the exception.


14. The Matrix-More revolutionary technology and what an insanely original story. This one sure makes you think..


15. Halloween-Best horror film ever that isn’t shock-centric and what a score. I daresay this is better than the Exorcist.


16. Whiplash-I think this the BEST film in the last 10 years. JK Simmons destroys as an asshole jazz teacher and he won for doing so. This script is magnificent and EASILY should’ve beaten Birdman.

Honorable mentions that I could make an argument for but I’m sure would get shot down:

1. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade- my favorite of the trio. And Raiders is on the AFI list so this isn’t a stretch.
2. Glengarry Glen Ross- If you like acting tour de forces, this film is for you. Take the names out of this film and you have a decent script. But Pacino, Lemmon, and obviously Baldwin chew up the scenery and make this fantastic.
3. Commando-Just kidding but goddamn, I love this film and have a huge soft spot for 80s/90s action films with a hint of cheesiness.
4. Die Hard- Find me someone who hates this film. Best Xmas film of all time!

5. Caddyshack- My favorite film and it is one of the most quoted films of all time.  Still holds up and is fucking hilarious.

 

Favorite sports films, let’s hear ’em!

Football – Any Given Sunday. Fuck you, this film is solid.
Basketball – Teen Wolf. I know everyone is supposed to put Hoosiers but I didn’t like it. Hell, I could even put in Space Jam here.
Baseball -Major League or Field of Dreams. Flip a coin
Hockey – Miracle. 2nd place: Goon. Slap Shot is overrated.
Boxing – Rocky 1-3. Cinderella Man is HORRIBLY underrated.
Gaming – Tron Legacy
Racing – Rush. Forgot about this one, good call JA and NC.
Martial Arts – Bloodsport. Any other answer is wrong.
Golf – Caddyshack!!!! Tin Cup is boring, don’t even think about it.
Murderball – Murderball
Professional Wrestling – The Wrestler
Horse Racing – Seabiscuit
Documentaries-King of Kong
Poker-Rounders
Pool-The Hustler and Poolhall Junkies