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Musings from the Edge of Forever

Note: This blog expresses only the opinions of the blog owner,
and does not represent the opinion of any organization or blog
that is associated with RONIN ON EMPTY.

Gwailo Corner: ROCKY II (1979)

Rocky, Too

Year: 1979

Director: Sylvester Stallone

Writer: Sylvester Stallone

Cast:
Sylvester Stallone, Talia Shire, Burgess Meredith, Burt Young, Carl Weathers, Roberto Duran (cameo)

The Plot:

After going the distance with Apollo Creed, Rocky retires from boxing and marries Adrian. Ol’ Rock tries to get a regular day job, but finds himself struggling to make ends meet, so a pregnant Adrian volunteers to work part-time at her old job to help pay the bills. Pissed that he didn’t knock Rocky out, Apollo challenges Rocky to a rematch, but Adrian objects, voicing her concerns over Rocky’s health. However, neither Rocky nor his trainer Mickey (Meredith) can ignore Apollo’s taunts for long, and a second bout is arranged against Adrian’s wishes. The Italian Stallion begins training, but without his wife’s approval, Rocky’s heart just isn’t in it anymore. A dramatic turn of events causes Rocky to abandon his training regimen and rush to Adrian’s side. Will he be ready for Creed? Three words: “Gonna Fly Now.”

Best Lines:

“Condominiums? I never use ‘em.” — Rocky

“Win!” — Adrian

Training Montage:

The training montage is everything Rocky’s was and more. In fact, it’s actually split into two. After a nice little moment between Rocky and Adrian, the training with Mickey commences, accompanied by Bill Conti’s Rocky II theme — “Redemption.” To the sounds of “Gonna Fly Now,” the second part includes Rocky’s jog through the city, which ends up drawing both the attention and the support of people in the community, emphasizing the “local hero” angle tremendously. Oh, and remember chasing the chicken to increase speed? That’s in this one.

Major Additions to the Series:

Rocky, Jr.

Paulie’s A-Hole Factor:

Somewhat improved over the first Rocky. As a side note, Burt Young looks like he lost some weight, although he gains it all back and then some in Rocky III.

The Big Fight:

Jesus Christ! How in the hell can Rocky take so many damn headshots? Aside from Rocky being a human punching bag for much of the fight, it’s remarkably more cinematic than the previous film. A lot of the Rocky boxing conventions come into play — slow-motion, spit and sweat flying everywhere, punches that sound like shotguns, etc.

Awards:

People’s Choice Award
–> Winner — Favorite Motion Picture

Final Decision:

I seem to remember Rocky II as basically a rehash of the first Rocky, only with a happier ending. Well, I have to say I’m glad that the movie turned out to be a lot more than that. Once again, it’s a drama about the relationship between Rocky and Adrian, but what makes this entry stand out even more is the stellar performance from Burgess Meredith. The mentor/student relationship between Mickey and Rocky is much more pronounced here than it was in the original, and it makes for some hilarious and actually quite touching interplay between the two actors.

–>WINNER, BY KNOCKOUT IN THE FINAL ROUND

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