ROCKY II CRITICAL REVIEWS
By David Litton | January 1, 2004
Picking up only moments where the first film left off, Rocky II follows battered rivals Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) and Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) on their way to the hospital. Rocky, still in high spirits after going fifteen rounds against the heavyweight champion, seems unflinched by the experience; Apollo, on the other hand, is steaming-broccoli mad, and vows on the spot to defeat his opponent once again in a rematch. As he becomes steadily obsessed with proving himself to the world by coercing Rocky in every way imaginable, the Italian Stallion acquires a wife in Adrian (Talia Shire), a home life, and soon enough, starts a family of his own with the birth of his son. But he soon finds himself buckling under the pressure, and against Adrian’s wishes and once again under the wing of Mickey (Burgess Meredith), he finds himself heading out to face Apollo once again.
Okay, so it’s not quite as good as Rocky was, and yes, it does seem like a tailor-made sequel aimed at giving our prize fighter the chance to beat the holy living crap out of his rival and come out on top. And in all honesty, it’s actually kinda fun watching him reign victorious over the pompous Apollo, who had it coming ever since his Uncle Sam stunt prior to their first match. What Rocky II lacks in originality it more than makes up for in character, something it carries over splendidly from its predecessor. Rocky’s and Adrian’s relationship takes on a new level in matrimony, while her post-partem coma provides for a period in which we see a new, more humble side to Rocky. Stallone, now acting as director in addition to acting the part and writing the screenplay, knows what truly makes these movies work, and he keeps all the human elements in the story alive and strong for a sequel that lives up to the expectations and makes a name for itself as one of the best ever.
By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat | 2003
Forget about Stallone’s wobbly performance in F.I.S.T. or his floundering direction of Paradise Alley. He was great in Rocky and is even better in Rocky II! In this one, he marries Adrian (Talia Shire) and uses the money from his fight with Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) to purchase a new home, car, and gifts for his friends. However, when a stint making commercials doesn’t pan out and jobs become scarce, Rocky finds himself short of bread. His wife is pregnant and they both must work to make ends meet. Finally, after nearly dying giving birth to their son, Adrian reverses her decision against Rocky returning to the ring.
Apollo Creed has challenged him to a rematch and Rocky goes into intensive training with his manager (Burgess Meredith). The fight again provides a powerful and engaging climax to the film and we’re back in the crowd rooting for Rocky to win.
What makes this sequel so endearing? Stallone’s finely-tuned depiction of Rocky. He’s generous, humble, and disciplined, a loving husband, a good friend, and a talented boxer. Up against the cardboard heroes of other films in this genre, he comes out a true champion.
By xBox | June 10, 2001
Sylvester Stallone returns as Rocky Balboa in this sequel to the hit 1976 blockbuster Rocky.
Imaginatively titled Rocky II, the story continues from the end of his historic fight with Apollo (Carl Weathers). Having made his point and a few dollars Rocky is advised not to fight again for fear of losing the sight in his right eye. Apollo has other ideas …
Having won the fight on points the World Champion boxer is receiving hate mail. He knows the only way to win the fans back is to prove once and for all that Rocky was just lucky last time. With this in mind he starts goading the now retired underdog.
Meanwhile Rocky has spent all his money, married the love of his life and even managed to produce offspring. Desperate for money (he gets sacked from working in a meat packing plant!) and tired of the constant public jibes coming his way he goes back to his trainer Mickey (played by Burgess Meredith) to help him get his own back.
After initial doubts about his eye, Mickey agrees to train him. And so starts an intensive training program to get our hero into shape. Finally, after all the hype, the big day comes and the fight of a lifetime takes place. The winner is … well that would be telling (but you can probably guess!).
Considering the first film was nominated for a Best Picture Oscar (bet you didn’t know that!) this sequel is actually quite good. The only character that is possibly a little too unbelievable is Rocky (sorry, but I can’t believe that anyone can be that thick). The acting is quite good and the story is relatively strong if not complicated and predictable.
As with the first film the musical score plays a big part of the film and provides that feel good factor that a film like this needs. A surprising sequel to a surprising film that may just about stand on its own if you haven’t seen Rocky – well worth a watch.