NEW YORK (WABC) -- "Creed II" has found favor with many critics, and I am inclined to like any movie starring Michael B. Jordan.
His star is still on the rise, and he's great in the title role -- which is just as well because we sure do see a lot of him.
The film is only going to enhance what looks to be a legendary career for the pride of Newark. His character is named for a Greek god, Adonis, and few are going to argue the name fits the star -- and filmmakers take every opportunity to show him shirtless. One workout sequence has him sweating in the desert for the better part of a quarter of an hour.
The eighth movie in the franchise hearkens back to "Rocky IV" when Ivan Drago, a fighter played by Dolph Lundgren, battered Apollo Creed so hard he died. And now, his son is looking to avenge his father's death by fighting Drago's son.
Rocky, played by Sylvester Stallone, tells Adonis Creed, "This guy's got nothing to lose."
Adonis replies, "I ain't got a choice."
Rocky responds, "That's the same thing your father said when he died right here my hands."
I love watching the chemistry between Jordan and Stallone, two big actors from separate generations united by their stardom.
Tessa Thompson co-stars, and the young couple has a child together in the movie. After Adonis loses badly to Drago's son, she asks, "Why do it again? What do you have to prove?"
And yet, he continues fighting.
This time, much of the action is in Los Angeles, where Creed's mom has moved. Phylicia Rashad is always a welcome presence, but there is too much warm and fuzzy talk between bouts, and not enough boxing.
The action is realistic and certainly brutal enough, and the actors are almost always convincing, but the movie needs tightening for anyone who isn't content to merely stare at the leading man for two hours and 15 minutes.
The first "Creed' was directed by Ryan Coogler before he made "Black Panther," and he really energized a franchise dates back to the 1970s. This time around, I missed him.
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Sandy Kenyon reviews blockbuster sequel 'Creed II'