I DeCreed This One Powerful Sequel

Creed II Poster

            The legacy of Rocky is an epic one that has etched its way into the hearts of sports movie fanatics until the end of time.  Despite their outdated cinema work, the movies hold such epic bouts of fist flying destruction, brazen masculinity, and surprisingly deep portrayal of sport vs. life.  It has worked super well for years, and with Creed reviving the series with a new, modern edge that showed a boxing movie can still pack the punches.  So a sequel to continue the new boxer’s legacy has emerged to challenge the rest of the Thanksgiving line up in hopes to win the championship of best box office.  Will it succeed?  Robbie K here to fill you in as I review:

 

Movie: Creed II (2018)

 

Director:

Steven Caple Jr.

Writers:

Cheo Hodari Coker (story by), Ryan Coogler (characters)

Stars:

Michael B. JordanSylvester StalloneTessa Thompson

 

 

LIKES:

 

The Character Development: Adonis Creed’s journey was soul searching and inspiring in the first film, and the sequel follows that back in spades. This film is dedicated to the torture of balancing pride of your career while trying to balance the other aspects of life.  Adonis goes through a lot of tough mental burdens, which helps stretch the limits of the character.  Of course Rocky himself still is finding ways to expand his own dynamic, still finding lessons to teach and learn as he himself goes through the throngs with his indirect nephew.  A Rocky films has always been about expanding the character and the traditions continues in the 8thinstallment.

 

The Music:  You like rap, hip hop, and R&B, you’ve got yourself a soundtrack that captivates the essence of the film.  It’s edgy, aggressive beat mixes beautifully with the actions scenes, mirroring the fighting lion that is Adonis in his quest for reaching his goals. Be ready for some hard-hitting beats, with potential aggressive lyrics that can be offensive.

 

Expanded Villain:  Most Rocky movies do a poor job of elaborating on the villainous boxer who wishes to stop our hero.  In this film though, the villains get a small subplot that helps to give them more details and appreciation.  Balancing this tale with the main story, crafts a much better investment in time when it comes to designing the rival boxer that I really liked, especially when even Ivan Drago contributes significantly to the tale.

 

The Rocky Feeling:  Creed II continues the tradition of the boxing movies, by crafting a tale that is all about getting guys in the macho, masculine mode.  Adonis’ next tale brings the motivational force to full light, instilling the testosterone fueled training, hype, enticement, and whatever else you are looking for.  Guys in my showing were hooting in delight, sometimes batting their hands together during the high adrenaline moments.  As for the females, well plenty of shirtless scenes and chiseled bodies to get you swooning if you like that. Past these moments though, classic fans will enjoy the bonds of coach and trainee once again working together to face life gloves up and eyes sharp.

The Final Fight:  We know the series is all about that final match, where contender and titan throw themselves into the ring in all their epic, sweaty glory.  Creed II has the finale you wait for, filled with the high adrenaline special effects, sound editing, high energy shots magic that studios craft.  As the bout progresses the raw emotion of both contenders is unleashed, in a manner worthy of the David Vs. Goliath status they were going for. It is an epic finish to all the buildup and lasts well enough to be worthy of inclusion.

 

DISLIKES:

 

A Little Too Aggressive at Times:  For me the in your face, high adrenaline moments were sometimes perfectly executed. Other times it was a little eye rolling and overdone.  The in your face moments, and fast to action attitude was fine in the first one, but at points in the movie it was a little sadder to watch. This plot point was supposedly conquered in the first one, yet they decided to harp on it as a recycled device. Small dislike, but we go with it.

 

Some Unnecessary Subplots: Creed II has a lot of heart and emotion with it, working to integrate a lot of angles to take Adonis’ life in to help shape the character.  Some of these angles worked quite well for me, and a couple of them didn’t.  I won’t say anything to minimize the spoilers, but there are a couple of tangents they took that didn’t quite add to the movie as much as they wanted.  I would have liked a few other subplots to get some more detail instead, but given the grand scheme of the movie it’s not quite as noticeable.

 

Carbon Copy:  A point that might make or break the movie depending on the audience Creed 2 loses points for originality.  While I understand that the first one wasn’t unique in terms of stories, Creed 2 really modeled its structure quite closely to one of the original Rocky movies, guess which one.  As such, the new coat of paint is quite refreshing, but given how much it follows the original in terms of main plot, it’s a little disappointing given the predictability of the movie that comes with it.  Will you be disappointed?  It really depends on how much you hate carbon copy plots.

 

 

The Verdict:

         Creed II delivers on the attitude the trailer promised long ago. By expanding upon the rivals, portraying more life components with career, and maintaining the feel of a Rocky Movie it’s going to please many fans of the franchise. Yet, the film still suffers from a tad too much modern aggression, some plot devices that didn’t quite need to be there, and a rehashed plot that will make or break the film. Overall though, I liked it and felt it fit very well in the universe and holding quality above a number of other installments.  So if you are looking for the testosterone driven plot line for the weekend, check this film out in spades this weekend, maximizing your experience in the theater. Otherwise definitely get ready for this one when it comes out to the wide public. 

 

My scores are:

 

Drama/Sport: 8.0

Movie Overall: 7.0-7.5 

 

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Action Lover’s Creed

assassins-creed

 

Tis the season for presents, and for many boys and girls a video game often becomes the idolized prize.  So why not make a movie about this popular media franchise then huh?  Robbie K here with another review, this time on Assassin’s Creed starring Michael Fassbender.  The track record of movies based on video games isn’t so strong, therefore I was uncertain of the quality of this movie.  Will Assassin’s Creed break the trend or is it just another game over?  As always, please read on to hear my opinions.

 

LIKES:

  • Fast paced story
  • Impressive world creation
  • Action, action, action

 

Much like the video game series, Assassin’s Creed is a tale that moves at a brisk pace.  A tense opening gets the adrenaline pumping, before the film jumps into the thrilling journey of Aguilar and his brotherhood. The tale continues to speed through, keeping the excitement going with each passing minute.  Don’t fret, there are some slower moments to help you catch up and describe and reestablish the purpose of the action and keeps the flatter parts to a minimum.

Fans of video games know that many titles have incredible worlds for your adventurer to explore.  Assassin’s Creed’s world is one such setting, and the movie does a fantastic job recreating the Spanish cities.  Both live props and CGI are crafted together in extraordinary detail, bringing with it a sense of nostalgia and a historical atmosphere.  The culture is brought to life in the obstacle course of Inquisition age, and the special effects add an extra kick to ramp up the excitement.  The modern-day lab setting also has a cool vibe to it, primarily in the chamber where the machine lies.  I give props to the design team for the smooth transitions between worlds and figuring out a way to meld the action together.  And speaking of action…

Assassin’s Creed’s biggest selling point is the action sequences. Like the plot of the movie, these scenes are fast, adrenaline pumping spectacles that combine martial arts, acrobatics, and a few “runaway” horses. While many of these moments are a little repetitive, the stunt choreography is incredibly well done and well representative of the game.  Fassbender’s (and his stunt peoples’) training comes out in full force as you watch them traverse climbing towers and beat up the poor extras.  I myself loved the weapon fights and acrobatic moments, especially near the end, listening to all the sound effects ringing through the theater which amps up the scene and immerses you into the fight.  Action lovers rejoice, for this is the movie for you.

 

DISLIKE

  • Some weak plot elements/Plot gaps
  • Some shaky camera elements
  • Limited supporting characters

 

          The major weakness of this movie for me is the story elements.  For the most part the story does a fine job of balancing character development with a dilemma and goal. The quest to find the elusive Apple of Eden has elements of a treasure hunt, where the clues are located in the psyche rather than an extensive list of hidden object clues. And I kind of enjoyed the flashing back and forth between the present and past, which kept you ground in all aspects of the tales.

          However, even with this presentation the plot has some gaps and weaker elements that take away from the story. For one thing, the whole line work in the shadows focus was a bit of a flop for me instead turning to the action element. Sure, there was a bigger plot working in the background, (which was predictable), but the Assassin’s Creed probably should have been retitled Martial Arts creed.  In addition, the ending scene seemed a little too easy for the infiltration.  For such a threatening group, the Templar have surprisingly lax security and the Assassin’s work at the end was a little anticlimactic despite the set up for a sequel.  The whole family drama revolving around Fassbender’s character didn’t fit well for me, and felt little weird/unnecessary in the grand scheme of the movie. As for the supporting characters, their place resides at the end, but outside of that they did little to support the story and were almost unneeded in the grand scheme   These plot holes illustrate that the balance was off and their emphasis was more on the stunts and action.However, let it be known that its very difficult to handle the limitation of time in the movies. Assassin’s Creed complete tale had at least 12 hours to pan out, and I felt they did a nice job hitting the highlights.  They just needed to bring the presentation a little closer to work.  

In regards to the action, as I stated it’s exciting, it’s well choreographed, and it’s a brilliant display of stunts/technology. However, there are times when the camera work is a bit shaky, making for some dizzy spectacles or unnecessary shots.  The fact they shot this in 3-D seemed unnecessary as well, for it added little to the world other than blades or arrows poking out of the screen.  And while I enjoyed seeing Fassbender’s fights transition between modern and past worlds, they went a little overboard at times to the point it became boring. For the most part though, the action scenes are top notch.

 

The VERDICT:

 

            Assassin’s Creed is definitely one of the popcorn flicks of the holiday season. The well-developed world, the fast story, and the constant moving action are certainly the highest selling points of this film.  The movie would have been so much more though, if they had been able to pull the story together and give more of a purpose to the whole aspect. In addition, the character development and integration of the supporting characters would have also been nice to see. So, is this movie theater worthy?  In regards to the stunts and world yes it will add pizazz with the theater technology, but in terms of the movie overall, hold out until the movie hits Redbox.

 

My scores:

Action/Adventure/Fantasy:  8.0-8.5

Movie Overall:  6.5