Thursday, August 11, 2016
THE SYLVESTER SEMESTER PART II: Rocky II (1979)
Rocky II” was also massively successful, becoming the third highest grossing film of the year. The success of part two is assuredly the reason why Sylvester Stallone would become so open to sequels throughout his career. The public wanted more of the Italian Stallion and Sly was more then happy to give the public what they wanted.
“Rocky II” picks up right where the original left off, to the point that its opening moments are the same as the first film’s closing moments. While both fighters are battered and bruised, Apollo Creed demands a re-match with Rocky Balboa. Rocky, meanwhile, is reluctant. He marries Adrian and soon conceives a child with her. She hopes Rocky won’t have to fight again. However, Balboa has little success in his post-boxing life. This, combined with Creed’s much publicized goading, has Rocky back in the ring before too long.
While even more of a crowd-pleaser then the first, “Rocky II” still has more in common with the original then the increasingly eighties-ified further sequels. The romance between Rocky and Adrian continues to be a pivotal part of the story. His endearingly awkward proposal is only the first of several genuinely sweet moments in the sequel. The chemistry between Stallone and Talia Shire continues to be paramount to the film’s success. Rocky’s self-deprecating ways, Adrians’ continued pronouncements of love, and their shared joy at having a child all tug at the viewer’s heart. While lesser films would make someone like Adrian a bad guy for wanting to keep her husband away from his calling, the sequel makes it clear that her concerns are strictly based in love and worry. When Adrian falls into a coma following a difficult birth, it gives Rocky one more thing to fight for. Now, he’s fighting for his family, for the people he loves the most.
more swole then ever, gets a chance to really ham it up without loosing a bead on Creed’s humanity.
Beyond literally featuring a rematch between the first film’s combatants, “Rocky II” also happily doubles down on the fan-favorite sequences from part one. There’s another training montage, with Rocky triumphantly leaping up the steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, while flanked by a crowd of adoring fans. It all leads up to the second showdown between Creed and Balboa. Stallone, who returns to directing after “Paradise Alley,” brings a less melodramatic hand to this one. He maintains the naturalistic tone of the first. The fight, however, definitely has some memorable moments. After especially powerful blows, the film slows down, matching the dazed mindsets of the battered boxers. The victory is dramatically framed, Rocky and Apollo climbing up the ropes, attempting to regain their footing before either get counted out. It’s not as subtle as the first but remains awfully exciting and satisfying nevertheless.
[THE STALLOWNAGE OF SLY: 5 outta 5]
[X] Frank Stallone or Frank Stallone-esque Inspirational Music
[X] Incapacitates or Kills Someone With His Body
[X] Shows Off Buffness
[X] Social Outcast [Struggling Fighter]
[X] Sweaty, Veiny Yelling