Movie Name: Rocky II
Studio: United Artists
Release Date(s): June 15, 1979
MPAA Rating: PG
Rocky (Sylvester Stallone) has done the impossible. He’s gone the distance with heavyweight champ Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) and proven himself to the world. Now, Rocky has vowed to quit boxing and settle down with Adrian (Talia Shire) but being a champ isn’t as glorious as Rocky had planned as endorsements and opportunities dry up. Unable to find work and publicly challenged to a rematch by Apollo, Rocky might have to step back into the ring despite the risk to his health and his relationship with Adrian.
Written and directed by Sylvester Stallone, Rocky II is the follow-up to the Academy Award winning Rocky from 1976. The movie received positive reviews and had a strong box office numbers.
Rocky became a parody of himself. Sylvester Stallone was an action superstar in the ’80s, and Rocky was the movie that made him famous. It is hard to watch Rocky II and not think of “STALLONE” as he appeared in the countless sequels. This Rocky still has some purity of the first Rocky and that is a good thing.
The movie is a true continuation of Rocky. It picks up immediately after the end of Rocky and unlike something like The Karate Kid and its sequels the characters look relatively the same so it works. Though the script is smart with the idea that simply being a champion doesn’t always get you much (Rocky would have had book deals, interviews, and been a sports commentator on ESPN today). The only problem that the movie has is that it starts to fall into that Rocky formula. Rocky is challenged, Rocky trains, and Rocky fights against orders.
Stallone is still good as the bumbling Rocky who is allowed to be more bumbling since you could argue that the fight left him a little more brain damaged. Talia Shire starts to remind me a bit of her character in The Godfather in that she whines and complains about Rocky fighting but still takes the house and job. You also get a little more dimension on Creed who is shown in his life a bit more in the movie and Burt Young and Burgess Meredith just keep screaming for Rocky to fight.
The movie still looks great and is filled with the classic Rocky music that is still motivational. Moments like Rocky training and the fight at the end remain powerful and uplifting even with the clichés of the sequel. The film series becomes less and less of a sports movie however and more of an action series and the movies progress.
I honestly don’t think I sat through a Rocky from start to finished besides Rocky and Rocky IV which always seemed to be on throughout the ’80s and ’90s. Watching Rocky II was a “new” experience for me and it was a positive one. Each Rocky feels like it will be Rocky’s last fight and with Rocky II maybe you thought it would be if you had seen it in the theater. However, Rocky continued his fight in Rocky III in 1982.