Beginning precisely where Rocky left off, the surprisingly effective 1979 sequel takes the saga of Rocky Balboa to its logical next step, as the palooka turned public idol and media darling returns to his "normal" life in ... more »Philadelphia with his newlywed bride Adrian (Talia Shire) and some degree of material comfort. He needs to find a job, but boxing champ Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) is challenging Rocky to a lucrative rematch, and despite his doctor's warning against future boxing, Rocky can't resist. Defying the odds that most sequels can't live up to their originals, Rocky II doesn't pack all the punch that Rocky did, but it takes us further into the lives of its now-familiar and beloved characters, and Stallone (as director and star) gives us another rousing finale in the ring. Do you really need to know who wins? --Jeff Shannon« less
"When I saw that the Rocky Anthology - which originally came out in 2004 (look it up on Amazon, it is still available for order) - was being re-released, I was excited because I figured it would finally include special features for all the films. You see, this is the THIRD time they have packaged the entire series together - first in 2000 when the original Special Edition of the first film came out, then again in 2004 when the entire series was re-released with hi-def picture, and now again.
But guess what? There are no special features on the discs.
Which wouldn't bother me on the sequels - but when ROCKY: SPECIAL EDITION has just come out (with two discs and a free ticket to see Rocky Balboa), I consider it a major rip-off to find out the box set doesn't include any of the bonus material from this two-disc edition. They both came out on the same day, yet this Anthology was created without the inclusion of any of the other edition's extra features.
Essentially this is the EXACT same box set as the one from 2004, with identical artwork (the tagline on the back of the box is even the same), only this newer 2006 edition has smaller cases inside (those new, tacky, plastic snap-cases that TV shows are often issued with).
So, if you bought the last Anthology box set, skip this and just buy the Special Edition of the first film, which is also available now and has far better packaging and bonus features.
If you don't own the anthology already, I'd still recommend waiting for the price to drop and just get the Special Edition of Rocky."
Rocky 2 a Slow Sequel to Rocky
James Koenig | Minnesota | 01/05/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Released in 1979, Rocky II picks up where the original "Rocky' leaves off, the movie beginning with the last round of the first fight with Apollo Creed. This second installment of the 6-part Rocky series is very slow to develop. The audience is made to wait the entire film to see the much-anticipated climax where Creed and Rocky square-off for their long-awaited rematch.
In essence, this film is a remake of the original "Rocky" movie, as it has all the same elements: Rocky courting (and this time marrying) Adrian, Rocky's passionate heart-felt love for Adrian, Rocky getting into fighting shape under the firey guidance of Mickey his trainer, and finally the epic fight against Creed. While the fight with Creed is exciting, the prelude leading up to the fight is at times tedious and overdrawn. So while the film is essentially another "Rocky", it fails to capture the audience's passion like the original.
Bill Conti, the musical genius of the original "Rocky", returns with much of the same upbeat inspiring music, adding a long "Vigil" piece, where Rocky is waiting and praying for his stricken wife, Adrian, to recover from a coma. (Adrian goes into premature labor, gives birth to a son, and lose so much blood, she falls into a deep coma). Conti's "Vigil" is a beautiful and haunting instrumental piece that depicts Rocky at Adrian's bedside, praying at the hospital Chapel, and waiting with trainer Mickey for Adrian to get better. While many viewers will find this tedious, and perhaps outright boring, I found it to be a further character insight into the man, Rocky Balboa. He is about to fight Apollo Creed for the heavyweight championship of the world, and yet, he is ready to give it all up because of his intense loyalty and love for Adrian. His manager, Mickey (played again by the cantankerous Burgess Meredith), begs him to train, but Rocky is so emotionally empty without Adrian, that he cannot possibly leave her side. Adrian finally revives, and Rocky tearfully and tenderly tells her, "I knew you'd come back to me." Despite its corniness, I still found it a touching tear-jerking scene. In gratitude for her revival, Rocky promises Adrian he will give up fighting forever if that will please her. Instead, Adrian tells the Rock the one thing she wants most of all: "Win, win!".
With Adrian behind him, Rocky eagery submits to Mickey's training regimen, and in a replay of the first film, Rocky returns to fighting shape while Conti's "Gonna Fly Now" plays in the background.
The fight with Creed is brutal, with Creed battering the outmatched Balboa. Despite taking a terrible beating, Rocky's indominable fighting spirit cannot be bent or broken, and he gets up off the mat repeatedly thoughout the fight. Going into the final 15th round, and far behind on points, Creed and Balboa touch gloves in the center of the ring, and Creed demands, "You're going down!". Rocky, unwavering, unbroken, and defiant, simply replys through broken and swollen lips, "No way".
The fight has a surprise ending that keeps fans wondering who will win up until the very last second, Exact details will not be revealed, but the insightful reader will realize there is a Rocky 3,4,5, and 6, and should be able to ascertain the ending.
Rocky II follows the formula of the original "Rocky", but with a less satisfying effect. It is certainly entertaining, but does not come close to the original offering. Thus, like most sequels, it falls short of the glory of the inspiring original. I still recommend it, but not nearly as highly as the 1976 award-winning "Rocky".
Jim "Konedog" Koenig
p.s. I took a girlfriend to see Rocky II in May of 1979 in Bemidji, Minnesota. It was our first date. I ended up marrying her in 1982, had 6 kids, and we have been together ever since. Like Rocky, I don't know what I would do without my "Adrian".
L. Shirley | fountain valley, ca United States | 03/08/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This review refers to the MGM/UA VHS edition of "Rocky II".....
Sylvester Stallone once again, brings us another feel good story in this first of four sequels to "Rocky". Even if you don't like boxing(and yes there are some of us that could do without it), you gotta like these Rocky flicks. This one, with the entire cast reuniting, is nearly as good as the first.
"Rocky II" picks up where "Rocky" left off. Apollo Creed(Carl Weathers) and Rocky(Sylvester Stallone) have beaten each other to a pulp. Apollo, on a split decision, has been declared the champ once again. Poor Rock's injuries are so bad that the Doctors strongly advise him not to fight anymore. He and Adrian(Talia Shire) marry and decide to live a normal life. The Rock tries his hand at acting in commercials, this doesn't work out(not a big surprise there), can't get hired at an office job, and finally ends up working at a meat packing plant where he is promptly laid off. The pregnant Adrian becomes the bread winner and Rocky is feeling very unmanly.
Creed, wanting a re-match, taunts Rocky out into the public and Rocky takes the challenge, against the wishes of Adrian, of course. Mickey(Burgess Meredith), after much coaxing decides to train him, but alas, The Rock's heart is not in it. What will it take for him to be the old Rocky we know and love?
Of course there are the wonderful scenes of Rocky training and getting pumped up for the fight, with all the great "Rocky" music that goes along with it. The intense bout with Creed is outstanding. Can Rocky go the distance this time...well...you know.....
The lines are priceless...after Rocky gets out of the hospital, a reporter asks.." Hey Rocky, did ya get any brain damage?", and Rocky's answer..."Yo, I don't see any.." There's a ton of those. Oh and don't forget the irrepressible Pauly(Burt Young), he's back too and in rare form!
Now I know, most everybody has seen this, and I didnt really need to tell you what it's about. It's just a little refresher on how good these movies make us feel. I watch them often and always find myself smiling. It's a series to be enjoyed by the whole family(if you haven't seen"Rocky V", don't stress over it) and for future generations to come.
The VHS is a a pretty good picture and the sound is in Dolby Surround(stereo), and also fairly decent.
"Yo Adrian...I DID IT!"(Rocky)......Laurie"
Well done sequel delivers the goods
Joseph P. Menta, Jr. | Philadelphia, PA USA | 11/03/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Rocky II" is a worthy sequel, more in line with the subtlety and realistic drama of the first film than the super-heroics of the later sequels (which nevertheless were fun in their own way). Here are a few things I liked about the movie (beware spoilers):
Character-based consequences and outcomes lent credibility to the proceedings. Character and heart helped Rocky "go the distance" in the first film, and kept him on his feet here, too. But, in an intelligent move on the part of the filmmakers, it's made clear that Apollo is still the superior, more skillful fighter and would have won again this time. Apollo's downfall here is that he ignores his trainer's advice to just stay out of Rocky's way in the later rounds and win again on a decision. But, no, Apollo's temper and ego make him get in close and try to go for a knock-out, which of course gives Rocky the opportunity to try for the same thing.
I liked how the movie wasn't afraid to be low key and maybe even a little boring in the earlier going, as we see Rocky struggle with finding employment and living a quiet domestic life following the big fight at the end of the first film. As both the audience and Rocky's wife Adrian eventually comes to realize, however, maybe a quiet, normal life isn't for everyone.
While Apollo plays to the cameras and resorts to some unsavory publicity tricks to lure Rocky back into the ring, he's never reduced to the role of a one-note villain. You can understand why he's frustrated and wants closure after the unfinished business of the first fight. All along, though, an unspoken rapport with Rocky, a level of respect for him, is evident. Apollo's alliance with Rocky in the broader but still very entertaining "Rocky III" is therefore pretty believable, as the groundwork is laid here.
Like the first film, this one has lots of great little moments: Rocky's wince-inducing attempts to film the aftershave commercial, learning to be quick by chasing the chicken around the yard, and his stopping for a quick blessing at the church right before his rematch with Apollo. But the movie knows when a big moment is the thing that's called for, too: witness the great training session with all the kids following Rocky up the Art Museum steps and the numerous great moments during the big fight, for example.
Like the first film, and the Rocky character himself, "Rocky II" has plenty of heart, resulting is a sequel that's worth your time. Pop this into your DVD player (after watching the first film, of course) and sit back and enjoy.
The Rematch Of The Century
James Koenig | 11/17/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This movie had just as much heart as the original. It was just as realistic, just as heartset, and just as expected. A true hero, Rocky follows his true calling, and defends his honor as initiative for this fight, as opposed to winning the title. The film was incredibly emotional through Rocky's eyes, because we see him try to support his family other ways, try to be a good worker, but he knows that his true calling belongs in the ring. The result is what I think to be the most realistic, greatest fight of the series."