Creed II Ultra HD Blu-ray Review

Under the tutelage of Rocky Balboa, heavyweight contender Adonis Creed faces off against Viktor Drago, son of Ivan Drago. Check out Ralph Potts’ review of the Ultra HD Blu-ray release of Creed II.

The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )

Film:

Extras:

Audio/UHD Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )

90

Details:

Studio and Year: Warner – 2018
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 130 minutes
Genre: Drama

Disc Format: BD-66
Encoding: HEVC
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Resolution: 2160p/24

Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD 7.1, DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, French/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson, Wood Harris, Phylicia Rashad, Dolph Lundgren, Russell Hornsby
Directed by: Steven Caple Jr.
Music by: Ludwig Goransson
Written by: Juel Taylor, Sylvester Stallone
Region Code: A

Release Date: March 5, 2019

“The Legacy Continues”

Synopsis:

“Between personal obligations and training for his next big fight, Adonis Creed, son of deceased world heavyweight champion Apollo Creed, has boxing in his blood but it up against the biggest challenge of his life. Facing an opponent with ties to his family’s past only intensifies his impending battle in the ring.” – Warner Brothers Home Entertainment

My Take:

In 1985, Russian boxer Ivan Drago killed former U.S. champion Apollo Creed in a tragic match that stunned the world. Against the wishes of trainer Rocky Balboa, Apollo’s son Adonis Johnson accepts a challenge from Drago’s son — another dangerous fighter. Rocky Balboa is there by his side 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. Creed II is about going back to basics to rediscover what made you a champion in the first place, and remembering that, no matter where you go, you can’t escape your history.

Before offering my comments on Creed II I wanted to share my thoughts on Creed:

I recall having very mixed feelings when I initially heard about Creed. I mean it seemed like a stretch to make yet another “Rocky” film, despite the idea of contemporizing it with a plot involving the son of Apollo Creed. I went to see it with my family after the film began causing quite a bit of buzz online and among friends that had seen it. As I watched all of my concerns were assuaged as I found myself caught up in the story, characters and familiar tone. It was immediately obviously to me that co-writer/director Ryan Coogler loved Rocky and wanted to build upon its foundation in a meaningful AND contemporary way. He succeeded.

I really enjoyed the flow of the film and how the narrative’s arc stayed true to the thematic essence of the original Rocky. By that I mean it’s about a young man facing internal and external struggles that only he can overcome. He comes to realize that he can’t do it alone and has to put his faith/trust in someone other than himself. It’s an emotionally rich plot that is capably supported by drama, light romance and several rousing set pieces/training montages derived in the spirit of the type of melodramatic boxing competition we have come to expect and enjoy from Rocky films.

Michael B. Jordan gave a terrific performance, one which should have garnered him an Oscar nomination. Sylvester Stallone was easily as good, providing what I considered to be his best performance since Rocky. He received an Oscar nomination and won several awards, including a Golden Globe. How appropriate that this would come in connection with a character that he created which has become so deeply ingrained in out pop culture.

I thoroughly enjoyed Creed. As a Rocky fan I found its refreshing take and homage to the character and earlier films to be spot on and very entertaining. ‘Nuff said…

I took Creed II in at the theater and came away from it feeling like it most definitely captured the essence of what a (Rocky) franchise sequel feels like. Does it reinvent the wheel? Nope. What it does do is take an established character (s) that you care about and build a competent story around them that teems with emotion, typical flair and, the pulse pounding and sometimes visceral beat of David versus Goliath where the outcome, we all know is coming, still manages to prove thrilling and fun to watch.

What I really liked here was the subplot involving the Dragos and, how Viktor struggled with his past and the pressure exerted upon him by his father’s blind need for redemption. Viktor, on the one hand, served as the film’s focal protagonist and on the other, as one its most empathetic characters. There are a host of “familiar” themes to past Rocky films, specifically Rocky III and IV, which felt a bit campy at times but, I was okay with that. The script which was co-written by Sylvester Stallone has his knack for effective and well-placed drama/melodrama. Again, no complaints there.

I really enjoy watching Michal B. Jordan in this role and find him to be an excellent actor who devotes himself to the characters he plays. Tessa Thompson and Phylicia Rashad were both solid in support and, I thought that Dolph Lundgren did a very nice job with an older Ivan Drago. Stallone never leaves me disappointed as Rocky although, I can’t stand that damned hat, handball and the Converse “Chuck Taylor” sneakers.

So, having seen Creed II twice now, I can say that I enjoy it for what it is and have added it to my collection alongside the other Rocky/Creed films.

Replay Value: 4 Stars

Parental Guide:

The rating is for sports action violence, language, and a scene of sensuality.

AUDIO/VIDEO – By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

UHD Presentation(HDR-10): 90
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

 

  • HDR: Dark Highlights: 
  • HDR: Bright Highlights: 
  • HDR: Expanded Color: 
  • Resolution: 
  • Visual Impact: 

 

UHD Presentation (Dolby Vision): 90
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

 

  • HDR: Dark Highlights: 
  • HDR: Bright Highlights: 
  • HDR: Expanded Color: 
  • Resolution: 
  • Visual Impact: 

 

Dolby Atmos Rating: 90
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

 

  • Level of immersion: 
  • Soundstage integration: 
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  • Effectiveness of Atmos platform: 
  • Entertainment factor: 

 

Creed II comes to Blu-ray Disc from Warner Brothers Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video, lossless Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1 and DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound.

For its presentation in Ultra HD Creed II was derived from a 2.8K source, rendered from a 2K DI, and up-converted to 4K.

This is an excellent Ultra HD presentation that looks great on my large screen. This is a drama/thriller that features elements that make use of rich color, boldly applied contrast, and a distinctive visual aesthetic. With a discernible increase in detail and emboldened chromatic highlights the UHD image appears noticeably sharp, and vivid. Primary colors such as red, and blue, are pleasingly rich, while whites and grays appear gradational. Fleshtones are wonderfully lifelike, and consistent throughout the presentation. Looking at the shots of the darkened streets in Philadelphia, Vegas, and the interior of the sports arenas, the added dimension in blacks and shadows is immediately noticeable.

The rendering of detail is excellent as the finest minutia in physical features, clothing, or the variety of textures seen in areas such as the desert training location, are reproduced with stark realism. The benefits of high dynamic range and wide color gamut are on display as well, as colors have an added dimension that makes them eye catching. The sequence where Adonis enters the arena before his first encounter with Viktor looks terrific.

Shot digitally, this rendering makes the most of its original elements, which are excellent. Looking at the 1080p version, which is solid in its own right, the difference is noticeable, but not what I would describe as night and day. That being said, there is no question about which of the two makes for the most engaging viewing experience.

Dolby Vision vs HDR-10:

I utilize the TCL 55P607 UHD Dolby Vision HDR flat panel in my review system to enable me to compare the visual quality of titles that contained the Dolby Vision metadata versus its HDR-10 counterpart on the same disc. All titles are first watched via my JVC front projector. I then select specific scenes which are watched on the TCL, first via HDR-10 then via Dolby Vision. The TCL isn’t among the top tier flat panels with DV, however it came recommended by AVS Forum Senior Editor Mark Henninger, and calibrates/performs extremely well for a set at its price point.

* The cumulative A/V score will still be based upon the HDR-10 rating, with the DV rating serving as informational only for now.*

In comparing the DV and HDR-10 renderings I ran the same scenes using my reference Panasonic UB820 UHD player (DV) and Oppo 203 UHD player (outputting HDR-10 only). The title looked terrific on both formats with respect to the reproduction of HDR. Any differences weren’t worthy of note and there my rating for each are the same.

Dolby Atmos:

In listening to the Dolby Atmos surround mix I found it to be of the less aggressive variety but, considering the source material that’s not a complete surprise. Its use of audio objects placed above is comprised of a mix of atmospherics and discrete effects. This is done well when implemented and creates a tangible level of immersion. The music score is subtly mixed over the platform so as to add natural depth to its orchestrated elements without drawing attention away from the thematic details of what is transpiring onscreen. While this mix doesn’t make constant use of attention-grabbing audio object placement, I found myself completely involved when it mattered and found this to be an enjoyable audio presentation that complimented the source material.

** It should be noted that the DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio soundtrack is the default audio option. Listening to the Dolby Atmos mix requires entering the audio set up menu and manually selecting it.**

For those not familiar with the details regarding Ultra HD Blu-ray you can refer to my article that includes some pertinent data on the subject. Here is the link:

Ultra HD Blu-ray Has Come to AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Blu-ray Video:

Video: 94
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

 

  • Resolution/Clarity: 
  • Black Level/Shadow Detail: 
  • Color Reproduction: 
  • Fleshtones:
  • Compression: 

 

Audio: 92
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

 

  • Dynamics: 
  • Low frequency effects: 
  • Surround Sound presentation: 
  • Clarity/Detail: 
  • Dialog Reproduction: 
  • DSU/DTS Neural:X Rating * (non-rated element): NA

 

Creed II comes to Blu-ray Disc from Warner Brothers Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video, lossless Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1 and DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound.

Lighting schemes are effectively used in this film to help set the tone/setting based upon the mood of the scene and characters within it. The chroma range isn’t diverse but hues can vary from being sullen and inanimate to warm and inviting. Skin tones are appropriately bland with natural highlights and descriptive variation. Images onscreen are exquisitely detailed and sharp with superb depth of field and visible texture during wide angle shots. Contrast is spot on and blacks are deep with revealing delineation that provides excellent perceptibility during scenes shot at night or in lower lighting. The video has a clean, pristine quality that enhanced dimensionality and provided a looking through a window effect.

The Dolby TrueHD 7.1 channel (Atmos core) and DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio tracks features crystal clear dialogue, robust dynamics and a subtly aggressive and involving surround sound mix. I was impressed with the implementation of both spacial dimension and discrete directional sounds that created a realistic and occasionally immersive listening environment. This worked hand in hand with film’s music, and thematic elements to build tension and help drive the story. The low frequency rumble of synth bass and resonating punch that underscored the dramatic points sounded great. Be sure to turn this one up, sit back and take it in. It’s a lot of fun!

** It should be noted that the DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio soundtrack is the default audio option. Listening to the Dolby Atmos mix requires entering the audio set up menu and manually selecting it.**

Bonus Features:

  • Disc 1: Creed II Ultra HD Blu-ray
  • Disc 2: Creed II Blu-ray
    • From Father to Son, Blood Runs Hot
    • Finding the Authentic
    • The Women of “Creed II”
    • The Rocky Legacy
    • Deleted Scenes
  • Digital Copy

Final Thoughts:

Creed II like its predecessor, successfully captures the essence and freshness of the Rocky film lore, paying a rousing homage to the character and films that have become near and dear to its devoted fans. It comes to Blu-ray in this Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack featuring excellent Ultra HD video, crystal clear high definition audio/video, including a complimentary Dolby Atmos sound mix and, a fair supplemental offering. I thoroughly enjoyed Creed II and highly recommend that you give it a spin on the highest quality format supported by your home theater system.

 

Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS500 3D/4K Ready High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6-HDR Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen – Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16×9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Electronic Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV7704 Audio/Video Processor
Emotiva XPA-7 Gen 3 Seven Channel Amplifier
Emotiva XPA-11 Gen 3 Amplifier
Panasonic DP-UB820 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton “Ergo” and Canton In-Ceiling Series Speakers
SVS Ultra Surrounds (Gloss Finish in Bipolar Configuration)
Dual SVS PC4000 Cylinder Subwoofers
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) – Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
AC Infinity Aircom T8 Component Cooling Systems 

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