Monday, March 7, 2011

Rocky II (1979)

Rocky II (1979)

Rocky Two, although this not the classic likes its predecessor, rarely do sequels come close to ever doing so, and I believe Rocky Two is an under-rated film. If you are a Rocky sequel, you tend to get quite a lot of bad reputation, not such as the sequels themselves being bad, but just by the amount sequels there are. Although the Rocky franchise has a feeble amount of sequels too say the Godzilla franchise, which is currently holding twenty-eight and counting sequels. When it comes to mainstream audiences, they are not used to this many sequels, well with the exception of horrors. Therefore, Rocky Two is a solid film, although it does not branch-out too far away from its predecessor story, it keeps you entertained and you should be satisfied with your viewing. There is not much new, but improves on entertainment value, it remains as a welcomed sequel to the masterpiece Rocky.

The film opens up with the last boxing match of Rocky, although it may seem like filler, I think it refreshes your memory on the last movie. You could just come back to any movie just for some entertainment, and this would help us just remember the story. After it shows the last boxing match, it follows Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) and Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) as they go to the hospital after the bout in Rocky. Later in private Apollo tells Rocky he tried his hardest, the story changes when the press come-out, the story changes to him not even trying, and calls for a rematch. Rocky says he is retired, and marries Adrian (Talia Shire). Therefore, Rocky tries to move on with his life, going on a spending spree after the fight, he starts to get short on cash, and he does not get the office job he intended. Guess what, Adrian gets pregnant, so Rocky starts to struggle when his advertising career does not go to plan. Predictably, Rocky decides to back to boxing, but it is not as easy as he intended.
Rocky Two is a lot more predictable than Rocky; this is not always a problem though. The story is handled well, the way it deals of the life after the fairytale story, which in itself becomes another fairytale story. There is something about watching Rocky trying his hardest, but struggling outside the world of boxing, it surprisingly succeeds in empathy. Empathy is the reason why so many sequels fail, but this sequel just feels right, and not out of place. Rocky Two is basically Rocky, but more inflated, but not too ridiculous. For example the famous running up the stairs scene, this time is joined by about fifty or more children, which is a little ridiculous when you see it, they just happen to be on the streets and run with him. Also Rocky Two manages to fill the whole stadium, a common sign of high budget when they can get large crowds, opposed to Rocky where they darken out the back seats.
The acting has not changed much. The characters are the same, perhaps more developed to some degree, although others like Paulie are left in the dark and do not shine like they do in the original. Stallone brings perhaps a more broader performance, but not as good. Stallone's constant ramblings, idioms and 'jokes' seem a lot more contrived and tedious. Although Stallone gains more control than ever, he seems to be in less control of his performance, although his broader performance stretches to father, worker and underdog. His character does not change, but grows a lot more, without yanking at the heart string, although it does try for sympathy, it's not quite in your face yet.
The support cast are the same story as Stallone really. They all got broader parts, although I think Burt Young was a more neglected. Mickey on the other hand is a lot more interesting a stereotype in this film, which I enjoyed.

This time Stallone was put behind the camera, which already shouts danger everywhere. Stallone plays a dimwit, and he is so good at it because he is a dimwit in real life, maybe he can be lucky with an act, but direction is something really important. The thing is, you do not really notice much of a difference, sure it is not the clever direction as Rocky, but it is not too different, and there's always deterioration with a sequel in direction quality. Rocky Two is a lot sloppier, but Stallone brings all the emotion intended. The boxing matches are more exhilarating and entertaining. The emotional parts are more cliché though, similar too Rocky, Stallone seems to get more common dilemmas, like pregnancy. Therefore, it is not as original or as effective, but it avoids reading like an episode of The Bold and the Beautiful, it is still a great movie with great emotional aspects.
The more epic fight
Overall, Rocky Two is a bigger, inflated Rocky, yet never diverts too far, keeping its quality. It is a lot more predictable and cliché. Rocky Two though continues the great story, grows on it and is more inspirational than ever following yet again the underdog, although the ending is almost certainly known before the movie pasts the ten-minute mark. Yet the ride we are given is an entertaining fallout, but solemn as well. The workout scenes are also perhaps more of a reason to get down and do push-ups.

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