Creed II is hitting theaters on November 21. This follow-up to the 2015 Rocky spin-off continues the story of Adonis Creed, who has become a boxer in an attempt to live up to his father’s legacy. But the sequel makes things a little more personal for the heroic boxer. Not only does he have a dangerous new opponent to face in the ring, but his determination to fight him may end up costing him everything he cares about.
This new opponent is Russian fighter Viktor Drago, and there’s more going on with him than you might know. Here’s all the info you need on Creed II’s scary antagonist.
Who Is Viktor Drago and Who’s Playing Him?
Creed II follows the Rocky series’ habit of casting real fighters as fictional boxers. Viktor Drago is played by Romanian boxer Florian “Big Nasty” Munteanu. He hasn’t done much acting before. In fact, his only other credit is the 2016 short film Bogat. But the filmmakers didn’t hire him for his expensive film experience. He got the job because he’s big, scary, and knows how to throw a punch.
The ‘Rocky’ Connection
Viktor Drago’s father is no stranger to Rocky fans. He’s Ivan Drago, the villain of the fourth movie, which had Rocky Balboa traveling to Russia to take on the machine-like boxer to avenge the friend Drago had killed in the ring.
That friend was, of course, Apollo Creed. Adonis never met his father, but the opportunity to fight the son of the man who murdered him offers some sense of retribution or closure for his loss.
Rocky, who trained Adonis at the start of his career, suffered severe brain damage in the fight. And he hopes to steer the young boxer away from making the same mistake he did. But it wouldn’t be a boxing movie if the big fight didn’t happen, so he’s probably not going to listen.
How does Viktor compare to Ivan Drago?
Since Creed II is all about sons measuring up to their fathers, it only makes sense to wonder how Viktor Drago compares to his dad.
In Rocky IV, Ivan Drago stood 6’5” and weighed 261 pounds. This was thanks to extensive training and whatever no-doubt illegal chemicals his handlers injected into him. The film shows him as almost inhuman and monstrous.
Munteanu — and therefore Viktor — has similar stats, which is a little intimidating considering we’re talking about a real person and not a fictional boxer that the Soviets basically grew in a lab. He stands 6’4” and actually lost weight for the role. So he “only” weighs 245 pounds. And according to the actor, he achieved this by using old-style Russian training methods, some of which will actually appear in the film.
The Drago Legacy
Adonis sees the fight against Drago as an opportunity to reclaim — and possibly exceed — his father’s legacy while getting some sort of proxy revenge for his murder. He’s spent his whole life feeling like he’s had to live up to his famous, heavyweight-champion dad, and this is an opportunity to do so.
But Adonis isn’t the only one carrying father issues into this fight. Ivan Drago trained his son specifically to carry on in his stead. And Viktor’s success will be his own after his fall from grace 30 years ago. Losing to Rocky and embarrassing himself in front of high-ranking Soviet officials effectively ended Drago’s career, and his son presents his best opportunity to return to the spotlight.
So Viktor is carrying his own share of historical baggage, which adds even more to the stakes and tragedy of the bout. The fighters have more in common with each other than they realize, but pride and pressure are forcing them into the confrontation.
Viktor Is More Than His Father
Considering the complicated family history between Adonis, Viktor, and their trainers, comparisons between fathers and sons are likely. But from the footage we’ve seen of the younger Drago in action, he’s nothing like his once-famous father.
That’s probably because rather than being a symbol of the might of Soviet sport and science, Viktor is rising from the crumbs of his father’s life. The elder Drago got the boot from his home country after the fall of the USSR, and he ended up raising his son alone. He’s obsessed with revenge and blames Balboa for everything bad that happened to him.
And he’s poured all of this hatred and rage into his son, who then passes it on to his opponents. Viktor is an aggressive, angry fighter. That’s a huge shift from his father, who was basically an enormous punching robot made of meat and steroids.
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