Rocky II (1979)

Condominiums?  I Never Use ‘Em

I consider it a necessity to complete the series that I start.  Because of this – and because it was requested – I now continue with the sextology that I started yesterday.  In my review yesterday, I called the original movie one of the best movies of all time, combining a great underdog movie with a love story.  The happy ending of the movie was not how the main character performed in his task, but saying I love you to his lady friend.  This movie forgets about that, deciding to basically make the same movie but change the ending.  But that may or may not be the worst thing in the world.  Let’s see if it was in my review of Rocky II, written, directed by, and starring Sylvester Stallone, and also starring Talia Shire, Burgess Meredith, Carl Weathers, Burt Young, Tony Burton, Joe Spinell, Frank McRae, and Frank Stallone.

In case you had forgotten what the last five minutes of the first Rocky was like, you get to rewatch it.  Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) and undefeated heavyweight champion Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) finished their epic battle in the ring.  A split decision gives the win to Apollo Creed and Rocky and his girlfriend Adrian (Talia Shire) share “I love you’s” in the ring.  After the match, Apollo Creed has already forgotten that he said in the ring that he didn’t want a rematch and challenges Rocky to another fight, but Rocky declines, having promised Adrian that he would retire.  Rocky proposes to Adrian and the two get married.  The money from the fight goes to Rocky’s head as he buys a house, a car, and a bunch of extravagances.  Money then becomes an issue and Rocky must do some odd jobs to provide for Adrian and their upcoming child.  Apollo receives a bunch of hate mail mocking him for rigging the fight so that he would win even though the bell clearly saved him.  Apollo embarks on a smear campaign to goad Rocky into fighting again.  Rocky must choose between his heath, his wife, and being true to himself.

It’s not the worst thing in the world.  That’s Rocky V.  This movie is pretty good, but a noticeable decline from its predecessor.  The basic story of the movie has not changed drastically.  Rocky is still the underdog who must train hard and in an unconventional way to overcome his opponent at the end of the movie.  And people probably wanted Rocky to win at the end of the first movie, so they decided they should sort of remake that movie and change the ending.  They amp up the tension in the end of the movie so much and so well that, even knowing the outcome of the movie (and probably being able to predict it even if I hadn’t already seen it) it still managed to give me goosebumps.  The love story is vaguely present, but not really a focus.  They get married in this movie and Adrian’s wishes get in the way of Rocky’s training for a while, but the greater focus is on Rocky’s problem overcoming the loss of his calling as a fighter and trying to find his place in normal society.  It still allows for some more emotional situations than the general boxing movie, but I would say women would be more justified in not paying much mind to this movie.  It doesn’t have very much to offer the fairer sex by way of story, but guys ought to be right at home.  Of course, that’s only if you fit well within classic stereotypes for your gender.  Especially since Rocky shows in this movie that he clearly thinks his wife Adrian is a retard.  In the first movie, Gazzo’s driver pokes at Rocky by telling him Adrian is retarded.  What is his suggestion of a place to take a retarded person?  A zoo!  And what is Rocky’s first idea of a place to take his retarded wife?  A zoo!  She’s just shy, Rock!  No need to jump to those kinds of conclusions.

The performances are still admirable in this movie, but most of the people didn’t have a lot of emotional legwork to do.  Sylvester Stallone has a pretty good emotional bit in the movie when he was talking to Mickey about needing to at least be around boxing.  It was real and it was well done, but mostly Stallone kept up the same act of talking way too much and getting on my nerves.  I don’t know why he felt the need to narrate everything he did in the movie, but he did.  Like during the wedding scene when it was time to kiss the bride and he had to say, “Let me lift up your veil here,” or something like that.  This made it easier for me to not watch the screen and still know what was happening, but I feel like the general majority of the audience is actually watching.  Talia Shire and Burgess Meredith were still both great in the movie, but they each only had like one emotional scene, so they didn’t impress as much.

Rocky II is still a good movie if judged by itself, but not nearly as good as the original.  The story is still enjoyable for men, but lacks any kind of love story like in the first one to draw in lady folk that might be interested in that.  It’s still a great underdog story, but suffers from being a little too familiar to the first movie.  Still worth watching and probably worth owning.  Rocky II gets “Yo, Adrian!  I did it!” out of “Derogatory?  Yeah, he’s great.”

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