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Sequel lands lots of battles

It's nice to listen to Michael B. Jordan again. Earlier this year, the scream hero became the most boo-skilled bad…

It’s nice to listen to Michael B. Jordan again.

Earlier this year, the scream hero became the most boo-skilled bad man in the “Black Panther” from 2015’s “Creed”. But the star has left super bad guys behind at the moment and is back in the ring for “Creed II”, a worthy successor to the original “Rocky” spinoffen.

If the sequel is a snap less than its amazing predecessor, it’s because – as Adonis Creed makes it in doubt – movie makers are overly complicated things.

The second man this time is Viktor Drago, son of Ivan (Dolph Lundgren) who killed Adonis dad, Apollo Creed, in the ring back 1

985 “Rocky IV.” Adonis (Jordan) is now the World Heavyweight Champion, but despite his success he feels a shameless emptiness. When Viktor challenges him to a match, Adonis sees distance from father’s death as a chance to fill it.

Viktor is no twig; He is Mount Russian, a giant fighter who brutalizes opponents. So it will take some pep talks from the now Confucius-like Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) and a hell of a training montage to win.

It’s a sensible high stakes set for an Adonis Creed movie. But while the original author director Ryan Coogler kept his story mythically simple, and his film style old school, new director Steven Caple Jr. and scriptwriter Stallone and Juel Taylor thank you for much extra plot.

When Ivan confrontes Rocky at Adrian’s Restaurant, he tells him: “Because of you, I lost everything: Country. Respect. Woman.” Yes, Dragos has been relegated to Ukraine because they can not walk in Russia since the loss to Rocky, and Viktor’s mother left the family in shame. Mum (Brigitte Nielsen) and her platinum blonde hair come back if he wins. But their motives and her role in this movie are stupid.

Adoni’s relationship with Bianca (Tessa Thompson), meanwhile, continues to be strong. He plans to propose. A strange plot line means Bianca, who has become a relatively successful singer and starts losing his hearing. Her artistic ambitions affect the story a bit.

But Thompson gives a performance as sensitive and strong-minded as her last, and her chemistry with Jordan is even greater this time. Jordan continues to impress, navigate the film’s emotional territory better than Stallone ever did. Once the gloves are on, but Jordan is a male animal.

Not surprisingly, it is Adonis and Viktor’s amazing, humble fight that gives “Creed II” its stance.

Sylvester Stallone and Michael B. Jordan in a scene from “Creed II” © MGM / Everett Collection

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