Rocky Balboa – The Early Years: Part II

Released in 1979, Rocky II begins where the last one ended, in fact you get the last five minutes of the original and then it continues with Rocky being taken to hospital. There, despite whispering to Rocky at the end of the fight he doesn’t want a rematch, Apollo taunts him saying he wants to fight him again. So the scene is set for the film – or is it? Actually there’s a lot to get out the way first. Again, I can’t quite believe this is the same actor as the one that starred in Stop Or My Mom Will Shoot! Stallone is brilliant, just watch the scene where he proposes to Adrian. The wedding is great too. When Rocky kisses the bride you expect cheering and music, instead the camera pans up to reveal the only guests are Paulie, Micky, the money lender Tony Gazzo and Adrian’s boss from the pet shop.

Rocky is brain damaged after the fight and is happy with Adrian, with a new house and playing stick ball with kids in the street. This is juxtaposed with his awkwardness at the advertising shoot where he’d rather be somewhere else. He wants to box but gives it up for his wife and imminent baby, however he finds getting a regular job hard and after taunts from Apollo Creed, gets drawn back into a rematch.

It’s strange that the actual proper boxing training and fight takes up such a small part of the film, but it’s better for it. I’m not expert at the pugilistic arts but something tells me that’s not proper boxing. Rocky is supposedly fighting right-handed (he’s a south paw) to confuse Apollo but from what I can tell he basically gets punched in the face for 15 rounds. Mickey’s slightly risky strategy of reverting him to south paw in the last round is followed by a couple of decent left hooks and some more falling over from the both of them.

The fighting is just silly, fun, but unrealistic, I much preferred the earlier scenes. Rocky’s such a well written character, I enjoyed him speaking to his turtles, telling jokes to Adrian and trying to read much more than the boxing. Saying that I couldn’t help but cheer at the end.

A very slight rehash of the original film, Rocky II is almost as good as the first. Not sure what they can do next, oh, I know, get Mr T in on the act…

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