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Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Rocky II (1979)

"Yea, I love yous too. I just also wanna thank God. Except for my kid bein' born, this is the greatest night in the history of my life. I just wanna say one thing to my wife who's home: YO, ADRIAN! I DID IT!"

Following the success of Rocky, Sly returned with a sequel that is far better than critics give it credit for. In relation to the history of cinematic sensations and the unsatisfying sequels that inevitably follow, Rocky II is one of the best follow-ups in movie history. As we know, the Rocky saga slowly but surely gets worse - but not just yet.

Rocky II is an immediate continuation of the path Rocky Balboa would inevitably choose to go down; one that would pave way for a sensational rematch with Apollo Creed. Confronting each other in the hospital following the bout, Apollo is abusive and typically loud mouthed regarding his demand for a rematch - a fight Rocky and Micky want no part of.

Time proves the best healer for Rocky (Sylvester Stallone) as his growing relationship with Adrian reaches a new height. Rocky convinces Adrian of potentially retiring while on the other hand Apollo (Carl Weathers) is receiving a hail of media criticism with many claiming the fight should have lasted no longer than a few rounds. Struggling to cope with such negative attention, Apollo is trying everything in his power to reel Rocky into settling the grudge once and for all. Rocky is beginning to settle into a life with fiance Adrian (Talia Shire), however the possibility of life without boxing appears daunting. With Rocky struggling to adapt to life in advertising, and a baby on the way, he begins to realise that his heart is in the ring. Rocky knows if he can get Mickey on board, he could upset the odds once again.

Mickey (Burgess Meredith) is reluctant to return to Rocky's corner, believing the underdog was "lucky" to go as far in the first bout. But Micky needs Rocky for what he never had while Rocky needs Micky for his knowledge and inspiration.

As the "gonna fly now" anthem lingers in the back ground, Mickey tapes the hands of Rocky once again in a bid to close the mouth of Apollo Creed once and for all.

I adore the return of Rocky just as much as I did with the original. I think the "beef" between Apollo and Rocky gives the sequel a more entertaining factor, with a bigger insight into the life of each boxer - while the aftermath of the fight invites you into the home of Apollo, revealing a more in depth analysis of the character and the family man he is behind closed doors. The struggle of Apollo captures a vital part in the sport, showing sequences of ambition and what he must do to satisfy himself more than anyone. On the other hand we get a delightful insight into Rocky's new life, as certain opportunities begin to open, but as much as he can easily pay the bills through advertising and factory work, Rocky Balboa is "born to fight".

There is a mash-up of beautiful scenes this time around. The chemistry between Sly and Talia is a delight to watch once again; with the snowy scene at the zoo and the wedding that follows. But there is a slight dip in the relationship due to Rocky's desire, while Adrian is pregnant. It makes Rocky's task all the more important and once again emotional. Sly gives another superb performance along with the fantastic bragging-rights of Apollo.

Burgess Meredith is mesmerising. He is involved in more emotional scenes and significant speeches: "if you wanna blow it, then damn it I'm gonna blow it with ya. If you wanna stay here, I'll stay with ya. I stay with ya. I'll stay and pray. What do I got to lose?"

Rocky II is another dramatic classic from the cast, with a plot that is more straightforward, but offers a climax better than any in the saga. Yep, a better climax than the first and a better fight. This review is not a comparison. The original Rocky received an academy award for its originality and inspiring performances. The sequel however offers nothing new; although it does supply a number of memorable scenes as did its predecessor, but maybe critics failed to find a ripe concept this time around, which is something Sly did ever so well before hand.

I on the other hand love this sequel. As I gradually progress to reviewing the third movie, unsurprisingly, the first two movies are the body to Stallone's career. The ones that follow are the limbs that hang in the balance of the mind-set of your average movie lover.

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