Monday, November 16, 2015

Movie Review: "Rocky II" (1979)

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Movie"Rocky II"
Director: Sylvester Stallone
Year: 1979
Rating: PG
Running Time: 1 hour, 59 minutes

After losing a close split decision to world champion Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers), Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) decides to retire from boxing, hoping to earn enough money through endorsement offers so he'll never have to fight again. But after his endorsements don't work out due to his lack of reading and acting ability, and he blows through the $37,000 he made from his last fight, Rocky is forced to take a job at a meat packing plant. Meanwhile, Apollo receives hate mail about how he really rightfully didn't win the fight against Rocky. Now, on a quest to prove to the world it was a fluke, Creed tries to goad Rocky into a rematch. Rocky wants to stay retired, but after losing his job and with a baby on the way, he has no choice but to take the second fight against Apollo. 

"Rocky II," the rematch. This sequel takes the same formula from the original Best Picture winning "Rocky" and runs with it, hard. Its whole mentality for existing is, if it's not broke, why fix it? The film opens with the ending of the first Creed vs. Balboa boxing match, but then continues on to the aftermath of such a tough battle. It shows Rocky's struggle of recovery and the physical toll boxing can put on a body. Creed's pride is hurt knowing he gave Rocky his best and just barely squeaked by, which is a feeling he has never had to face up until now. Rocky has become an overnight sensation ending the Creed fight in such a close fashion. He has lots of people making grand promises of monetary reward for endorsements to him, which he, of course, takes at face value. Rocky and Adrian, played by Talia Shire, get married, Rocky buys a car and a house, plus a few other things he probably didn't need, and before he knows it, his $37,000 fight purse is gone in a flash. Despite being a title contender, the struggle is still there for Rocky and we see Stallone play this part extremely well. Rocky has no real education beyond the 9th grade and has spent his entire life getting punched in the head for a living. He now has fame, but almost nothing to show for it. The majority of the movie displays Rocky and Adrian's post-fame financial struggles. Adrian is about to have a baby, and after getting laid off, the only legal job he could get with anyone willing to hire him, Rocky starts to contemplate boxing Apollo again, even though he wants to stay retired. This becomes a point of contention between Rocky and his wife as she fears for his safety and doesn't want to risk the possibility of him going blind. After he decides to train with Mickey, played by Burgess Meredith, once again, next of course comes the infamous training montage and the inevitable boxing match at the end of the film. Despite continuing down a very similar plot road to its predecessor, "Rocky II" still manages to be an intriguing film. With Sylvester Stallone both in front of and behind the camera this time around in addition to being the writer of the screenplay, we can't really blame him for sticking to an award winning formula. It still manages to be gripping and of course, inspirational, even though some parts do feel a bit melodramatic at times. We can't help but feel hefty emotions during the final boxing match after watching Rock's suffering and subsequent road back to the ring. Even after multiple viewing, we still get excited to watch Rocky and Apollo trade blows in their rematch. Carl Weathers is such a good hype master in this film that it really gets you invested in their rematch. Since this sequel came out 3 years after the original, that was plenty of time to be ready for another Rocky showdown. Though not quite the masterpiece the original is, it is definitely a very solid, fun movie to watch time and time again.

My Rating: 7.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 8/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.1/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 73%
Do we recommend this movie: Yes!
To see our review of "Rocky," click here.

To see our review of "Rocky III," click here.

To see our review of "Rocky IV," click here.

To see our review of "Rocky V," click here.

To see our review of "Rocky Balboa," click here.

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