Fresh on 4K: ‘CREED II’ pulls punches with its bonus material, film still hits

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Connor Bynum // Film Critic

CREED II

Rated PG-13,
Director: Steven Caple Jr.
Cast: Michael B. JordanSylvester StalloneTessa Thompson,
Phylicia Rashad
, Dolph Lundgren, Florian Munteanu, Russell Hornsby and Brigitte Nielsen

When we first reviewed CREED II in theaters, we gave it a favorable score while praising the film’s ambition to offer an emotionally rich story, even if it is fighting in a familiar ring. With the film’s release onto 4K UHD, we went back to see how well it holds up for home theater audiences – and boy does this disc pack a punch.

Movie Grade: B+

From our theatrical review:

“It’s a damn fine follow-up to its predecessor, never losing sight of its heart. There is a well-rounded story from beginning to end, and it is better acted than the previous film, anchored by subtle, nuanced performances from Jordan, Thompson, and Stallone. At the end of the day, we’re all somebody’s child, and we carry that with us on our backs, whether positively or negatively. The Creed/Drago arc is something familiar and familial. Loss, pain, hope and preservation… these intangibles keep us going. As long as these themes remain constant within the frame, it will keep the CREED franchise going too.

It’s a damn fine follow-up to its predecessor, never losing sight of its heart. There is a well-rounded story from beginning to end, and it is better acted than the previous film, anchored by subtle, nuanced performances from Jordan, Thompson, and Stallone. At the end of the day, we’re all somebody’s child, and we carry that with us on our backs, whether positively or negatively. The Creed/Drago arc is something familiar and familial. Loss, pain, hope and preservation… these intangibles keep us going. As long as these themes remain constant within the frame, it will keep the CREED franchise going too.”

Courtesy of Blu-ray.com

Video/Audio Grade: A-

CREED II arrives on 4K UHD employing an upscale from a 2.88K digital intermediate. That said, the slight enhancements implemented over the standard 1080p Blu-ray are a welcome improvement. Skin tones are sharp, and beads of sweat and blood are strikingly vivid during the boxing scenes. Additionally, the inclusion of HDR10 make the contrast of the brightly lit boxing ring and the darker crowds all-the-more apparent and immersive.

However, the real star of the show here is the Dolby Atmos audio track. Roaring crowds, the punches, and the heavy hip-hop soundtrack all take full advantage of the immersive audio technology to make the viewer feel like they’re right there in the ring. It should be noted, however, that this feature must be selected manually over the default DTS-HD 5.1 track which is also superbly mixed. Even if the visuals do feel mainly standard at times, the audio on this disc is more than enough reason to give this disc a spin.

Extras Grade: C+

As it is the unfortunate norm with 4K releases that there are no special features included on the 4K disc, but some can be found on the included standard Blu-ray. While none of the included extras are particularly groundbreaking, hardcore fans of the series will enjoy.

Full List of Special Features:

  • Deleted Scenes (9:46, 1080p)
  • “Fathers and Sons” (7:16, 1080p)
  • “Casting Viktor Drago” (5:43, 1080p)
  • “The Woman of Creed II” (5:51, 1080p)
  • “Rocky’s Legacy” (15:01, 1080p)

Final Grade: B+

While the Rocky Balboa boxing movie franchise was about to feel as tired as Sylvester Stallone looks, it’s continuation within the CREED films is showing no sign of throwing in the towel. CREED II is an entirely worthy 4K entry to any home theater enthusiast’s collection.

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