Reviews: Creed II and The Grinch

Creed II and The Grinch are in cinemas now. Photos: Supplied.
Creed II and The Grinch are in cinemas now. Photos: Supplied.

Creed II begins with Apollo Creed’s Son, Adonis (Michael B. Jordan), on top of the world. 

After taking out the WBC World Heavyweight Championship, he, his girl Bianca (Tessa Thompson), and his trainer Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) are ready for the next stage of their lives. 

Former Soviet boxer Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren) – responsible for killing Apollo in the ring – and his intimidating son, Viktor (real-life boxer Florian Munteanu), seek to strip Adonis of the belt. 

Adonis seeks revenge and to craft his own legacy in the process. 

Instead of waiting for Ryan Coogler to return as director, the studio picked relative newcomer Steven Caple, jr. for the sequel.

Working with a script from Stallone and Juel Taylor, Caple, jr. does what he can to create an entertaining boxing-drama. 

He and cinematographer Kramer Morgenthau succeed in delivering edge-of-your-seat fight sequences.

Composer Ludwig Gorannson nicely combines the Rocky soundtrack with his own work. 

The performances are all top-notch. Jordan brings a lot of emotional depth to his character, while Thompson is a likeable presence alongside him. 

Returning to his most iconic role, Stallone’s pathos-driven performance is worth beholding. 

However, Creed II lacks the grounded feel and resonance of the 2015 original.

This is a more-is-less scenario, with Taylor and Stallone’s script throwing in too many sub-plots and characters. 

Tragically, Ivan and Viktor are bland antagonists. Given nothing but cliched dialogue, both characters are one-note and cringe-worthy. 

Creed II is a sweet but forgettable entry into the Rocky franchise. 

The Grinch

In this adaptation of Dr. Seuss’s famous 1957 book, the Grinch (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch) is obsessed with ruining Christmas for the citizens of Whoville. 

Meanwhile, Cindy Lou and her friends plan to meet Santa and ask him a favour. 

Illumination Studios (responsible for the Despicable Me franchise, Minions, and The Secret Life of Pets) has turned The Grinch into a watered-down animated feature. 

The titular character lacks menace or intrigue. Instead of exploring his backstory, this version turns him into a banal, mindless buffoon.

Cindy Lou’s story-line, on the other hand, merely exists to pad out the run-time.

Cumberbatch brings a nasally American accent to the role, leaving audiences longing for Jim Carrey’s wacky antics. 

Kids will get a kick out of The Grinch, while adults will find little of substance. 

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