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‘Creed II’ punches back at how Russian characters are depicted in movies

All of this fades far, far into the background in “Creed II,” which presents its once-robotic Russian rivals in a much more empathetic, humanizing light. Directed by Steven Caple Jr., the sequel takes a moving moment to zoom in on Ivan Drago who, upon losing to Rocky Balboa at the end of “Rocky IV,” was banished to Ukraine and has spent three decades in shame and regret.