United Arists' Rocky II-A Fun, Equally Inspiring Sequel to a Classic

The rematch of the century.

Rocky II is a 1979 sports-drama film directed by Sylvester Stallone, written by Sylvester Stallone, produced by Chartoff-Winkler Productions, and distributed by United Artists. The film stars Sylvester Stallone and Talia Shire. It was not nominated for any Academy Awards. This is the second film in the Rocky franchise. It was preceded by Rocky and followed by Rocky III.


"Yo, Adrian! I did it!" -Rocky Balboa

Plot


After the fight between Rocky Balboa and Apollo Creed gains national recognition, Creed becomes jealous of Rocky and arrogantly tries to lure him back into the ring. Rocky focuses on his personal life with Adrian Pennino, but eventually succumbs to the taunts of Creed and agrees to the rematch of a lifetime.


Positive Aspects


The first thing about this movie is the characters and each of their arcs. Rocky is still very likable and charming, but is loses some of the heart for boxing because of his relationship with Adrian. He is a character that you genuinely enjoy watching. You root for him and want him to win, but you see him getting shot down by the other characters. Apollo Creed humiliates him in front of the nation. Adrian doesn't want him to fight. Mickey thinks that he isn't trying hard enough. He tries to satisfy everybody, but ends up in a bad place after spending all of his money and failing to do ads for deodorant companies. After Adrian gets put into a coma, he wants to win for her.


They really gave everybody a good arc. Rocky's is obviously the longest, but Adrian has a pretty long and devoted one as well. She marries Rocky, is skeptical of him trying to fight, doesn't love him spending all of their money, and then has a kid and gets put in a coma. After that, she has a change of heart. I thought that her arc was also fantastic. Apollo and Mickey have smaller arcs, but they both have changes of heart.


The training montage is good, but kind of weird. I guess I liked the gigantic group of kids that was following Rocky, but I think that it was kind of abnormal and odd to have a humongous group of kids running after Rocky Balboa in a movie.


I think what makes this movie work is that it does everything that the first movie did, just bigger and better. The fight is bigger and better, the characters are more developed, the training montage is bigger, the emotions are bigger, the story is bigger, etc.


The movie is very well-paced. It starts off with the proposal, and, while Rocky's life can seem like it isn't interesting or well-paced on paper, it is. When Apollo starts taunting Rocky and trying to beckon him into the ring, it just takes off at the speed of light.


The final thing is the story. I think that Rocky II has a better plot than Rocky. There are more plots and more things that happen in it, and that makes some parts more enjoyable and make the movie fun as a whole.


Negative Aspects


The first thing is that Adrian's change of heart isn't ever explained. She wakes up from her coma and just decides that she suddenly wants Rocky to fight.


The second is the writing. I wouldn't say that all of the writing is bad, but the majority of it is. Some of the lines that are said are just not right. They can be cringy and just bad at some points. I think that the proposal is the prime example of that. The way that Rocky asks Adrian to marry him and the way Adrian responds are not good.


I also did not Iike that Paulie Pennino was barely featured in this film. He had about five minutes of screen time, and he was one of the better parts about the first film. It was a disappointment in a movie with very strong characters.


Final Score


This is an improvement from an already strong first film. Despite some bad writing, the character arcs and a bigger overall movie carry this film all the way to victory.


I'll give it a Savory rating. The age range is 7+.


SWEET N' SOUR SCALE

Sweet (Great)

Savory (Good)

Sour (Bad)

Moldy (Terrible)


"Rocky II"


Fun Factor: 7/10

Acting: 8.5/10

Characters: 8/10

Story: 7.5/10

Quality: 7.5/10


WHERE TO WATCH

HBO Max: Available for premium subscription

Amazon Prime Video: Available for free with premium subscription

Apple TV+: Available for rent


Directed by Sylvester Stallone


Released on June 15, 1979


Rated PG for boxing violence and action, thematic elements


1 hour and 59 minutes


Sylvester Stallone as Rocky Balboa

Talia Shire as Adrian Pennino

Burt Young as Paulie Pennino

Carl Weathers as Apollo Creed

Burgess Meredith as Mickey Goldmill