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Rocky II
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91 out of 104 people found the following review useful:

One of the best sequels ever made. I'm not joking.

7/10
Author: MovieAddict2016 from UK
10 August 2004

I have to hand it to Sylvester Stallone – he did the impossible with 'Rocky II' and made a successful follow-up to 'Rocky,' winner of the 1976 Best Picture Academy Award.

Some argue that 'Taxi Driver' (also nominated) deserved the Oscar more. I'm not so sure. 'Rocky' came along at just the right time – it was an uplifting story and people needed that back then. Now, 'Taxi Driver' is usually considered the superior of the two – but they're entirely different and, in my opinion (and it's a rare one), 'Rocky' is just as good – but in a different way. They're both great films, and I'm not saying that 'Taxi Driver' shouldn't have won – but I'm not necessarily saying it should have, either. 'Rocky's' achievement is monumental and it is one of the greatest films ever made. To say it's 'not as good' merely because it is more optimistic is nonsense.

So what's so great about 'Rocky II' and why is it generally underrated? (Its average user score right now on the Internet Movie Database -- with over 8,000 votes -- is a measly 6.2/10, compared to the original's 7.7)

Because it maintains the focus of the first film, and continues the story rather well. A story that didn't really need to be continued, per se, but nevertheless formed the foundation of one of the greatest film franchises of all time. That's right – many people hate the 'Rocky' sequels, but apart from 'Part V,' they're all surprisingly entertaining – and, more importantly, well made. I like them; they entertain me, and I think they all serve their purpose.

What's particularly interesting about 'Rocky II' is that apart from repeating the central theme of fighting Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers), Rocky (Stallone) goes through a character arc here that many sequels totally ignore – we see the after-effects of his fight, and him struggling to adapt to the 'New Life.'

Rocky is not a smart person. But he is one of cinema's deepest characters. Stallone (who wrote all the scripts and directed three of the sequels) succeeds at evolving Rocky's self-confidence. After winning a small fortune from his famous fight with Creed, he goes out on an impulsive shopping spree, buying a cool car, a new leather jacket (with a tiger – the beast with the 'eye' that Rocky re-captures in 'Part III' – printed on the back), and a new luxurious apartment for him and his wife Adrienne (Talia Shire).

The problem is that Rocky soon runs out of money. His happy-go-lucky personality crashes when he is faced with the prospect of losing it all. He promised Adrienne never to fight again, and keeps his word by trying to get a 'real' job at the meat-processing factory (the same one he trained at in the original film). However due to staff cut backs he is fired and soon realizes that he was born for one reason: To fight.

Meanwhile, Apollo is eager to take on 'The Italian Stallion' again – to prove he isn't the coward that criticizers are implying he is. He entices Rocky back into the ring for a final match – and to say that the outcome is satisfactory is an understatement.

Most people seem to forget that Stallone is almost solely responsible for the entire success of 'Rocky' as a whole. He came up with the idea, wrote a script, fought to get it made, fought to become the leading star, and literally fought to get in shape. All of this fighting paid off – and it continued to pay off as he kept on cranking out all the sequels.

Indeed, the 'Rocky' legacy is often poked fun at because it is the typical endless Hollywood moneymaking franchise. But 'Rocky II' and 'III' (more so than the other two sequels) have guts, power, determination and focus – they've got the so-called 'Eye of the Tiger' and I can't really say that I agree with anyone who says these movies are worthless. They aren't masterpieces but they certainly aren't trash, either. I give 'Rocky II' a hearty recommendation – it's a truly solid sequel that surprises us right when we expect to be disappointed.

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62 out of 67 people found the following review useful:

Excellent sequel

9/10
Author: LebowskiT1000 from Escondido, California, USA
8 October 2003

"Rocky II" is one of those sequels that is just as good as the original, if not better in some aspects. I can't say it's better than the original because you can't have the second film without the first one. Meaning that this film does not stand on it's own, you need the first film to understand the characters and back-stories of everything in this film. But all in all, I think "Rocky II" is slightly more enjoyable than the original "Rocky".

In all honesty, I think this film is better directed than the first film. The story seems to flow quite nicely and is slightly faster paced than the original. Not only that, but the main fight in the film is much more exciting and longer.

The acting in "Rocky II" is better as well, or at least I thought so. Sylvester Stallone does a fantastic job with his role of Rocky Balboa and really struts his stuff here. Talia Shire and Burt Young also pull off nice performances. Carl Weathers plays the character of Apollo Creed to a "T". And of course, Burgess Meredith does a fantastic job as Mickey.

This is one of those sequels that truly has the same feel as the original. Granted, it isn't as fresh as the original...but it's a re-match that can't be missed. If you liked the original "Rocky", then you definitely ought to check this one out, I don't think you'll be disappointed. I hope you like the film as much as I do. Thanks for reading,

-LebowskiT1000

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39 out of 46 people found the following review useful:

Same Story, Both Continued AND Re-told

10/10
Author: Steve P from Branson, MO
12 October 2005

I'm old enough to remember the thrill of seeing each of the "Rocky" films during their original, theatrical runs. The magical component that Stallone achieved was to tell nearly the exact same story, twice in a row, with the same characters... and yet, he gives us a one-two punch that hits just solidly as the first.

It's truly a remarkable feat. Differences? We've already met all the characters. Gone is the sense of discovery, the sense of learning who these people are. We already know, don't we? Yet, Stallone's characters are sufficiently interesting enough for us to want to spend more time with them, seeing them in a world most of us don't know, living a life few of us would really want. While the sense of discovery about these characters is gone, our joy of being a voyeur into their world is not.

It's a toss up which movie, "Rocky" or "Rocky II," asks us to suspend disbelief more. In "Rocky," we have to accept that a nobody, unrated, club fighter could a) get the chance to fight the world champion. B) He could possibly defy all odds and go the distance. That's a huge stretch only possible in Hollywood movies, classifying the first movie as a fairy tale along the lines of Cinderella.

Soap opera-esquire is not a bad way to characterize "Rocky II" because of the emotional ride, but I don't find it as trite as a soap opera. Rocky's actions are very believable, from his earnings feeling like a fortune to him (when they were obviously not), to his illiteracy and his unsophisticated, "punch drunk" boxer. The ramifications of his past are believable. He fritters away the money and is unable to capitalize on his 15 minutes of fame. Hey, it happens all the time. Very believable.

With a pregnant wife, no job, and no way to pay his bills, he's backed into a corner. What's a fighter to do? (And in this case, I mean "a fighter" in its most literal sense.) He's willing to risk his health and even his marriage to do what any man should do: provide for his family.

Adrian's bit of drama is the single "problem" with the movie, but it's also the heart of the movie. It's not a movie about losing it all and coming back again, it's much more than that. It's about a simple man who's trying to do the best he can with the only tools he has. And when Adrian is first to go down for the count, it puts it all in jeopardy.

It's not until his wife is ready to accept him as he is, for what he is, that he can continue his quest, one more fight, for his family, for himself.

The story arc feels so similar to the first movie that this one is often tossed to the side, yet it truly is amazing how Stallone managed to re-imagine all the magic of the first movie and, better still, give us a second helping of it that's just as sweet. Enjoy!

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33 out of 45 people found the following review useful:

A good sequel that repeats the successful formula

Author: bob the moo from United Kingdom
27 April 2002

Immediately after Rocky's close contest with Apollo Creed, he is drawn into fame only to find it is a temporary thing. As the money fades he finds personal crisis is never far away and is tempted into a big money rematch against Creed. Meanwhile Creed, who should fight other fighters, is plagued by suggestions that the first fight was staged to go the distance. Things build to the rematch.

Stallone proves that he has got a money making brain in his head by basically remaking Rocky. The story covers similar themes – it's a soap opera with a fight at the end. Here the soapy mush is mostly about his loss of money and decline back into the gutter, while we have children and comas thrown in for good measure. This is all well and good, and Stallone doesn't let it get too mushy. The script has some good scenes and mixes in comedy – my favourtie line being where Rocky is advised to invest his money in condominiums, to which Rocky replies `condominiums? But I don't use them.'

This comedy helps endear Rocky to us despite being a bit `punchy'. The fight however – that's where the money is. As in the first Rocky movie, the fight is a huge thing, full of emotion and welling music. The fighting is, of course, nonsense – even sillier than the first film, but with the raw emotion and use of music you can't help but get involved – even if you don't want to! At times it goes a bit far and may look a bit like ego-massaging by Stallone, eg the scene where he is out on his training run and is followed by hundreds of supportive children!

Stallone is good in all his roles, the playing of Rocky as a working class bum made good is bang on. Shire doesn't have much to do but she's good beside Stallone. Young is good and Meredith easily repeats his tour-de-force as the grizzled trainer. Carl Weathers is good as Apollo Creed and this is one of his best roles.

Overall this isn't a classic but by repeating the basic formula of the first movie and taking Rocky back to the gutter, this remains an entertaining soap that is driven by mushy, if formulaic, emotion.

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24 out of 33 people found the following review useful:

A pretty good sequel

7/10
Author: Agent10 from Tucson, AZ
8 June 2002

Sure, Apollo was pointlessly painted as the bad guy early in the film, but this a sequel. While it is not as good as the first film, it still embodies many of the themes and hopes which made the first film so powerful. This time, the audience got what it wanted, a win for a guy who had been kicked down for so long. With more money, the film felt more lucid and better put together, which made it a whole new experience in itself. I especially enjoyed the scene where the kids are chasing Rocky, certainly one of the most complicated and time consuming shots of all time, considering all of the extras the various sequences needed. Better than an average sequel, it still pales a shade below the original film.

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13 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Outstanding Sequel.

9/10
Author: jerekra from United States
16 January 2009

"Rocky" is truly one of the greatest films ever made. So a sequel to this film would have a tough time following it. Rocky 2 does a great job following up "Rocky" and is truly a great film.

The story starts up right where "Rocky" left off. Rocky goes to the hospital and has surgery and it is revealed that further fighting could damage his eye badly and make him go blind possibly. So Rocky settles down, marries Adrian and starts making commercials. Soon Adrian gets pregnant. However soon his ability to not read well costs him his job making commercials and Rocky struggles to find another job. Elsewhere Apollo Creed is furious that so many people are criticizing him for going 15 rounds with a guy who came off that street. So Apollo wants a rematch. Rocky decides that he must fight again, which upsets Adrian due to the health risks he may face.

This film succeeds mainly due to the fact that it does a great job continuing the Rocky saga. It starts right up after "Rocky" and further continues the story. It is an awesome follow up. All of the characters are further developed. Apollo Creed is shown more and his character is expanded the most and you get to see what he is like more. Carl Weathers does a great job with Creed in this episode and really plays the upset athlete at the media well. Paulie takes a back seat in this film for the most part but Adrian is very significant in this film as she is the main reason why Rocky is so reluctant to get back in the ring.

Rocky 2 is really funny, more so than the first one. Love how Rocky goes around trying to get a job despite the fact that he has basically no education. Also humorous is how bad Rocky is at reading cue cards and what he chooses to talk about at his press conference with Apollo. For the most part Rocky and Rocky 2 are more funny than the next films mainly because of how Rocky becomes "civilized" in "Rocky 3" and loses his sense of humor in some ways.

The training that ROcky does in this film is epic. Love the training that he goes through in this film, slamming metal, chasing chickens, and hopping around with lumber on his shoulders. Rocky really works hard training in this film, my personal favorite of his films in how he trains.

No film is perfect though. The "Gonna FLy Now" song is not the same as it is in the first film. It is not sung by the same people who sang it is the first film so it is not nearly as good. However this song is only used when Rocky is running, not when he is doing his other training. They use the "Going the Distance" song when he is doing his training outside of his running which is fine.

Also the fight at the end of the film is not nearly as good as the fight in the first film. It is mainly just Rocky getting pounded relentlessly and having to overcome a superior athlete. Not like in the first film where it is an even fight for the most part.

A great sequel that is funny, further expands the story and characters, and has some really great and memorable moments. A must see and easily the second best film of the series.

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14 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

Round 2: Rocky Balboa vs. Apollo Creed. Rematch of the Century, You Know!

9/10
Author: (robocoptng986127@aol.com) from U.S.A
27 March 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Our story begins right before our last one left off: Rocky Balboa and Apollo Creed in a grueling boxing match. Blood and sweat flew all over the place. Then with a few final jabs, Rocky laid out Creed and the fight was his! Shortly after, Rocky is rushed to the hospital. His manager, Mickey, friend Paulie, and girlfriend Adrian, follow. Rocky is badly injured from his fight and not too coherent. Apollo Creed is there too and he demands a rematch. He felt the fight was unjust. Well, after some time, Rocky healed and was out of the hospital with a few fading bruises and minimal damage to his brain. He quickly proposed to Adrian in his own unique way and they were married. Rocky also decided to live the high life with his winnings from the match: $37,000. He bought a shiny new car, even though he didn't know how to drive, furs, new clothes, Rolexes, even a roomy new townhouse! Plus, Rocky discovers that he is about to become a father! Life was going great for the Italian Stallion, while life for Apollo Creed was terrible. He was looked down upon by his fans and wanted a rematch with Rocky badly!

Rocky meanwhile, had spent all of his winnings and needed a job. He wanted a nice, cushy office job, but couldn't get one. He tried making commercials, but was unsuccessful due to dyslexia. The only job he could find was a job Paulie got him at the meat processing plant. Rocky found the job inquisitive as he wrapped the meat and loaded it into trucks. The meat he used to box (punch). But then one day, due to cut backs and union regulations, Rocky was fired. It seems the one thing Rocky could ever do was fight, so he wanted to get back in the game. He went to see Mickey to help train him again, but Mickey knew if Rock tried to fight again he'd suffer permanent and even fatal damage, due to his now bad eye; Apollo Creed printed incriminating newspaper articles about Rocky and taunted him on television to get him to fight. Mickey saw one and jumped right in to train Rocky. Unfortunately the Itallian Stallion train really half-arsed. Then one fateful day, Rocky received news that Adrian collapsed at work and was rushed to the hospital. Rocky and Paulie race to the hospital. Adrian had the baby prematurely, but she had sunk into a coma. Rocky was devastated. He wouldn't leave Adrian's side. He even went to the chapel to prey for her. Mickey joined him. After several emotional, gut-wrenching days, Adrian came to. She and Rocky saw their new baby boy together. They name it Rocky Jr. After that, Rocky decided to buckle down and train most vigorously. He'd run every morning. He'd do more sit-ups, more push-ups, even more throw- ups. He pummeled the punching bag, he punched the pummel bag, he ran up and down those famous steps with everyone in town cheering him on. Finally, after months of rough, grueling training, the Italian Stallion was buffed up, charged up, and ready to step up...To that evil Apollo Creed!

The night of the fight soon arrived. It was held at the Philadelphia Spectrum. Apollo Creed was all jazzed up and raring to get at it and smash Rocky's skull. Rocky felt a bit nervous. The fight commenced. In Round 1, Apollo knocked the wind out of Rocky. Round 2, he knocked the wind back in to Rocky then knocked it out again. Apollo had the advantage for the first 9 rounds, jabbing and punching and pummeling Rocky non-stop, but in Round 10, Rocky laid out Apollo with a few quick blows. Well it was anybody's fight for the next few rounds. Apollo was in dominant position. Finally, the 15th and final round came. Rocky disdained many bruises and swollen eyes and Apollo had many bruises and scars. Their faces decorated with blood and sweat. Rocky and Apollo jabbed and punched at each other like there was no tomorrow. Rocky delivered a few swift blows to Apollo's gut, Apollo countered with rigorous blows to Rocky's face. Soon, both men were down. But Rocky managed to get up so he won!! Rocky Balboa was the new Heavyweight Champion of the World! Mickey and all his fans were so proud of him. Apollo Creed was even proud of him. At long last, Rocky Balboa, the Italian Stallion, had obtained the title he so richly deserved.

Well, I think Rocky II was just as good as the 1976 original! If not better. Sylvester Stallone reprises his role as Rocky Balboa. Burgess Meredith, God bless him, his back as Mickey Goldmill! Burt Young is back as Paulie, Talia Shire is back as Adrian and Joe Spinell is back as Tony Gazzo. This film had the same great drama as the first film with much light comedy mixed in, like when Rocky was doing the TV commercial and all. This movie is followed by Rocky III where he goes up against Mr. T! I pity the fool that don't see that match. Then Rocky IV and Rocky V. Instead of Rocky VI, Sylvester Stallone started a new reality TV series, "The Contender". I've never see it though. So anyway, if you saw the first Rocky movie and want to see what happens next to our hapless, southpaw hero, then check out Rocky II today! Sylvester Stallone wrote, directed and starred in this movie. That's a lot of work for one man. Billy Bob Thornton does that too. Rocky Balboa vs. Billy Bob Thornton? Maybe. Anyway, see Rocky II today! Two times the fun. Two times the action. Two times the Rock! I recommend it.

-

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22 out of 32 people found the following review useful:

Makes you want to go the distance and hit someone :D

9/10
Author: Kristine (kristinedrama14@msn.com) from Chicago, Illinois
15 November 2005

Rocky II is the second installment in the Rocky series. One of my friends told me that I have to see the Rocky movies because they are very good and every movie fan should just see them. I'm also just interested in seeing what the hype was about. I actually was very surprised on how much I enjoyed the first Rocky. It had entertainment and was very inspirational.

Rocky II dove a little more into what Rocky himself is all about. Obviously, from the first Rocky movie, he was just a punk off the streets who just got "lucky" according to Apollo, his competitor. In Rocky II, he and Apollo decide they want a rematch to see who is the real winner and fighter of the world since it was a draw match from the first Rocky. Also, Rocky marries Adrien and has a son with her. I did enjoy Rocky II, and I'm very much looking forward to the third one. I heard Mr. T is the star! :D

9/10

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8 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Rehash that works every time and in which Balboa returns to take on Apollo Creed

7/10
Author: ma-cortes
28 March 2011

Officially a sequel is most a rehash but happens to be a nice second chapter about Rocky saga with intimate Stallone . Two-bit fighter Rocky now retired lives from records but our hero returns to face off a daring Apollo . Although he is homaged as one of the greatest boxing champions in the history also is panned as a down-and-out fighter , being nicknamed as the Chicken Stallion . But Rocky comes out from retirement for fame and self-respect to combat strongest, youngest and faster contender , again champion Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers)through a rematch. Apollo after being dethroned by obnoxious Rocky seeks vendetta . While Rocky attempts to prove himself and his family , his wife (Talia Shire), brother-in-law (Burt Young) and his recent born son. Then he's trained again by the veteran , feisty coach (Burguess Meredith who repeats efficiently his series role).

This agreeable predictable entertainment displays splendidly the 'formula Rocky'. The movie works at usual manner, fitting appropriately to franchise , even though we know the plot the film works . This soaper on the ring is developed in gentleness, dignity , feel-good style such as the initial outing. Spectacular and climatic final bout including slow-moving images. Writer-director-actor Stallone new entry is surprisingly entertaining and packs good feeling. Usual and nostalgic musical score by Bill Conti and atmospheric cinematography Bill Butler. The motion picture is lavishly financed by the producers complete saga, Robert Chartoff and Irwin Winkler and well directed by Stallone who along with John G Avildsen made the six Rocky.

While here the opponent is an invincible young boxer,champ of the world, in subsequent entries the contenders were the following : Rocky III against corpulent Mr T from A Team; Rocky IV against a massive Russian boxer played by Dolph Lundgren; and Rock 5 against an ingrate young fighter who he trained played by Tommy Morrison and Rocky Balboa proving his estranged young son Milo Ventiglimia who still can fight. Rating : Good , being impossible to dislike ,the result is deliciously corny agreeable and predictable amusement . Although we've seen it all before , Sylvester manages to make it work one more time and it works every way even better than subsequents Rockys.

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12 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

pretty good for a sequel

Author: Special-K88
18 April 2002

Imperfect, but highly entertaining sequel picks up right where the original left off. Having suffered heavy brain damage as a result of his brutal battle with the hard-hitting champion, Balboa decides to call it quits and dedicate his life to his newfound love Adrian (Shire). However the intense media hype, public mockery from the champion Creed, and a discovery that "normal" life isn't all that it's cracked up to be draw him back into the ring for a highly publicized rematch. You have to be patient this time around as the film is slow going at first, and lacks the emotional punch of the original, but an exciting, edge of your seat climax makes it worth the wait. A good follow-up considering the impact of its predecessor. **½

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