Creed II: Sylvester Stallone is Retiring From Rocky Balboa Role

Stallone Retires From Rocky Balboa Role

I didn't have a chance to chime in with my thoughts on Steven Caple Jr's "Creed II" -- an entertaining return to the world that was built up by Ryan Coogler in 2015 with "Creed," but this one just doesn't have as much of the awe-inspiring freshness Coogler infused into the first chapter. This, of course, does not mean the sequel is forgettable, au contraire mes amis! I found myself mostly invested in this follow-up which pits Apollo's son Adonis Johnson (Michael B. Jordan), under the mentorship of Rocky Balboa, against Ivan Drago's son. If you remember, 1985'S "Rocky IV" had Russian boxer Ivan Drago killing Adonis father in the ring, former U.S. champion Apollo Creed. This sequel follows a very similar blueprint to what a sequel to Rocky would be like, meaning the unavoidable cliches are there but so are the irresistible thrills that can come in rooting for the underdog champ. It's all anchored by another great supporting performance from Sly Stallone, who garnered an Oscar nom for his performance in the 2015 film. In fact, I wish there was more Sly in this film, not to dismiss Jordan's performance which is, by all accounts, delivered in ways only a true star can deliver it. 

In a video posted this morning, which was shot during filming on the last day of “Creed II,” actor Sylvester Stallone revealed that he’s hanging up his gloves with “Creed II” serving as his final performance as Rocky Balboa. In the video he speaks with the the cast and crew of the film:

“Well, this is probably my last rodeo because what I thought happened, and has happened, I never expected. I thought Rocky was over in 2006 [Rocky Balboa]. And I was very happy with that. Then all of a sudden this young man presented himself and the whole story changed. It went on to a new generation. New problems. New adventures. And I couldn’t be happier as I step back because my story has been told, there’s a whole new world that’s going to be opening up with the audience, with this generation. Now you [pointing to Michael B. Jordan], have to carry the mantle."

This makes his work in "Creed II" feel all the more resonant. I would have loved to have seen him bid adieu to the franchise with that final shot of him standing at the top of the stairs in "Creed," alas we're going to have to settle with the second best option, which is the touching reunion he has at the end of this new "Creed" flick. 42 years since the original 'Rocky' and, even if he's taken a backseat for new blood, Stallone is the still the MVP of this franchise.