Review: Creed II (4K)

Fight for legacy, destiny and family when Creed II arrives on 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD and Digital. From Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures, Warner Bros. Pictures and New Line Cinema, Creed II stars Michael B. Jordan and Sylvester Stallone reprising their roles as Adonis Creed and Rocky Balboa. Also returning are Tessa Thompson, Phylicia Rashad, Wood Harris, Andre Ward, Florian Munteanu, Russell Hornsby and Dolph Lundgren, returning to the franchise as Ivan Drago.

Steven Caple Jr. directed Creed II from an original screenplay co-written by Juel Taylor and Stallone, story by Sascha Penn and Cheo Hodari Coker, based on characters created by Stallone. The film is produced by Irwin Winkler, Charles Winkler, William Chartoff, David Winkler, Kevin King-Templeton, and Stallone. Ryan Coogler, Jordan and Guy Riedel served as executive producers.

The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray disc of Creed II features Dolby Vision HDR that dramatically expands the color palette and contrast range and uses dynamic metadata to automatically optimize the picture for every screen, frame by frame.

Plot: Life has become a balancing act for Adonis Creed. Between personal obligations and training for his next big fight, he is up against the challenge of his life. Facing an opponent with ties to his family’s past only intensifies his impending battle in the ring. Rocky Balboa is there by his side through it all and, together, Rocky and Adonis will confront their shared legacy, question what’s worth fighting for, and discover that nothing’s more important than family.

Director:  Steven Caple Jr.

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1

Runtime: 130 min

Rating: Rotten Tomatoes 84% & IMDB 7.5/10

Unboxing (See below)

Review:

This movie was shot with ARRIRAW camera’s in a 2.8K format and (I would have to believe) given a 2K Digital Intermediate. As per the norm with UHD release, it was also given a HDR color grade for your viewing pleasure in Dolby Vision.

This UHD from Warner Bro’s has basically no grain, so you’ll get a very clean image. What I didn’t remember from my first viewing in the theater was how dark this movie is. Most of this film (outside of some training sessions and in the ring) takes place at night, early in the morning or in and around low-lit rooms. With that in mind, the use of HDR and black levels will come into play the most here — and the good news is, they do their jobs quite nicely.

On that note, everything looked to be shot in all natural lighting? I can’t confirm this, but it sure does look that way. If that’s true, it really highlights what HDR is meant to do in the subtle ways to bring out all the color on the screen. The way it’s used in this film almost gives off a matte-like type of effect.

Something that did stand out to me (though it could just be my perception) is that the majority of the shots in this film, if not all, had great depth of field. Everything appeared like it was made for a 3D release. While the overall detail, clarity and color from this movie is rock solid, it’s not demo-worthy material and I believe it comes back to the depth of field. So much foreground focus is apparent on this disc that everything in the background fades away — almost too much. You would think all foreground and no background means that everything would have the ability to be crystal clear, but it just didn’t appear that way to me. I felt there was a bit of softness that took away from the full-ability of demo-worthy material. I’m not trying to be picky or find something negative. Not everything needs to be demo-worthy, I just needed to mention it. Am I wrong? Please let me know if you noticed this as well.

Now on to some highlights…

Some of the highlights I jotted down include Chapter 4 when Adonis and Bianca are laying in bed talking about their future baby. You get a lot of up close shots with enhanced detail and sharpness seen in their faces — blemishes, wrinkles, beard stubble, etc. It’s a low lit scene, but you will still notice little things like the silky texture on clothes and warm lighting from the use of HDR. This continues with some training highlights in Chapter 5 when Adonis is underwater in the swimming pool. The blue colors from the water look great in contrast to Creed himself — and little details like the tiles on the pool-floor will be apparent too. Again, these little things will be seen in Chapter 7 when Adonis and Rocky are in Apollo’s trophy room. The gold shine coming off the trophies adds a nice touch with great natural lighting and the use of HDR.

Finally, in Chapter 10 you get the lead up scenes to the Championship fight. The subtle red glows and fiery orange flames look great on Drago’s entrance, while the blue hues and lasers look equally as great on Creed’s end — all while everything in the background stays dark and muted.

In conclusion, it’s amazing how after six Rocky movies we are already two films in to the inevitable trilogy+ of the Creed saga. The franchise formula that worked for Rocky is working all over again and even though you can predict the flow of the movie, the whole thing just works. It ‘packs a punch’ and Creed is setting up to be this generation’s Rocky. If you’re a fan of the formula, which who isn’t? This is an easy recommendation. Great movie and great visuals equals an easy win.

Own Creed II on 4K UHD Combo Pack, Blu-ray combo pack and DVD on March 5, or own it early on Digital right now!

Cheers,

Matt.