I wasn’t a huge fan of Rocky, I thought it was good but not great, unlike most people. As a result, I wasn’t excessively optimistic about Rocky II. Which I suppose was the right attitude to have because Rocky II is very similar in structure to the previous film. Nonetheless, it is a good, organic continuation of Rocky’s story. He feels more vulnerable this time around, which helps to really dig into his character. Adrian (Talia Shire) gets more development this time too. There also is much more Mickey (Burgess Meredith)! I wanted to see more of these two characters from the previous film and felt they were underutilized, so I really enjoyed their expanded presence. I was a little surprised by Mickey. He is sassy and made me laugh out loud several times throughout the movie. Meredith was absolutely wonderful.
When I watch a boxing movie, I look forward to the boxing matches. Like Rocky, Rocky II spends more time developing Rocky outside the ring than inside. However, the final match between him and Apollo was much longer and didn’t feel rushed like the last movie. There was also much more of Rocky’s training with Mickey, which I found lacking in Rocky. Almost as much as I like watching the matches, I like to see the relationship between boxer and trainer flourish, so again, this was a nice step up. In the end though, I did enjoy Rocky more. Although Rocky II made some improvements, it fell into the trap of many sequels and feels too similar to what came before without offering much new.
Cast & Crew
Sylvester Stallone – Writer / Director
Bill Conti – Composer
Sylvester Stallone – Rocky Balboa
Talia Shire – Adrian
Burt Young – Paulie
Carl Weathers – Apollo Creed
Burgess Meredith – Mickey
Tony Burton – Apollo’s trainer
Joe Spinell – Gazzo
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