More in-depth film festival coverage than any other website!
Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 

Overall Rating

Awesome: 35.42%
Worth A Look39.58%
Average: 18.75%
Pretty Bad: 4.17%
Total Crap: 2.08%

1 review, 42 user ratings

Latest Reviews

To the Ends of the Earth by Jay Seaver

Wood Job! by Jay Seaver

News of the World by Rob Gonsalves

Promising Young Woman by Rob Gonsalves

Wonder Woman 1984 by Rob Gonsalves

Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone by Rob Gonsalves

Mank by Rob Gonsalves

Wander Darkly by Rob Gonsalves

Stand In, The by Rob Gonsalves

MLK/FBI by alejandroariera

subscribe to this feed

Rocky 2
[] Buy posters from this movie
by MP Bartley

"Back in the Ring"
4 stars

With 'Rocky Balboa' opening to surprising box office and critical success, it's clear that everyone still loves the basic story and foundation of the character. The essential fondness for Rocky lies in the fact that he's probably unaware of just how good he is, and he proves that winning is not the important thing - retaining your pride is. If the last couple of Rocky films before 'Balboa' forgot this, then the first sequel is one that still revels in the spirit of the first - and is also almost always forgotten when it comes to lists of films that are just as good as the original.

Taking place immediately after the final fight of the first has ended, Rocky takes the plaudits for being able to last the full 15 rounds with Apollo Creed, but announces his retirement, preferring to settle down with Adrian instead. They marry, get pregnant and Rocky attempts to return to his old working life. However this just consists of humiliating aftershave advertisements, menial factory work and throwing out the spit buckets at Mickey's gym.

Apollo meanwhile is faring no better. Seething at the public perception of him, which is that while he may have won the fight on points, he certainly didn't beat Rocky, he demands that a rematch is set up. Taking place in Philadelphia, Creed's intention is that this fight won't be a circus event like the first, but merely a showcase for Creed to pulverise Rocky. A challenge that Rocky, spurred on by Mickey, eventually rises to.

No-one had really anticipated Rocky to be the huge commercial succes that it had been, particularly as it had been made on a miniscule budget. Due to it's huge success therefore, Rocky 2, had more money to play with and it shows. It looks cleaner, brighter and smoother. All the rough edges of the original have been hewn away, meaning that while it may look more pleasant, it also lacks the authentic attention to grimy detail that made the original stand out so much. It's also much more of a boxing film. The original actually had very little boxing in, aside from the end, instead concerning itself with Rocky as man first, and a fighter second.

Here however, the emphasis on Rocky's return to boxing is very much at the forefront, and the film lacks the moral complexity of the original (Rocky being an out and out hero here, as opposed to being the unwilling enforcer of the first). This isn't necessarily too much of a drawback, as it's just fun to hang out with Rocky, Adrian, Paulie and Mickey again, and the emotional investment of the first flows naturally here. It's pretty heartbreaking to see Rocky humiliated and mocked for his poor reading skills by the director of the commercial, and once again you're with the character all the way - particularly when THAT music kicks in. The emphasis on family harmony does mean that a hospital subplot towards the end does drag its feet endlessly as it;s one soap opera element too many, but all that can be forgiven when it reaches the climax that it richly deserves. Creed is written as much more as an out and out villain here (a suggestion that he wants the rematch to happen partly because his sullied reputation is causing his kids to be bullied is unfortunately quickly forgotten), which gives the ending as much power and emotional wallop as the first film had. There have been plenty of fights throughout the entire Rocky saga, but perhaps none are as brutal, visceral and sweaty as the one here.

The cast fit into their roles snugly again, and it's good to see a lot more of Burgess Meredith's Mickey here. Stallone is still having a ball as the mumbling, stumbling Rocky who just wants to have a little pride for himself and a lot of love for his family no matter what anyone else thinks. There's a wonderful scene towards the end where he bellows to a priest leaning out of his window, asking him for a prayer because he might "get beat up bad tonight", before cheerfully telling the priest he'll see him on Sunday. It's a lovely, natural, unforced scene which tells us exactly just why the character of Rocky resonates and why Stallone is so good in the part - it's the absolute sincerity behind him. Sure he's goofy, but it's an entirely unaffected goofiness. Stallone may portray Rocky as someone who's never learnt how to use his mouth properly, but he portrays Rocky as an idiot or someone to feel nothing but sympathy for - certainly not here anyway. At his best, Rocky never asks for anything - he earns it.

Sylvester Stallone seems to have finally found some closure for the character of Rocky, and quite right too - it's exactly what the character deserves. What shouldn't be forgotten however, is that the first film is certainly not the only one besides 'Rocky Balboa' that is sincere, emotional character study.

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 01/29/07 21:35:48
[printer] printer-friendly format  

User Comments

2/20/08 Anthony Feor Equally as good as the first one. 5 stars
8/09/07 EZ $$ extremely great not as good as the first 5 stars
2/18/07 Double M Almost on par with the 1st. one of the best sequels ever. 5 stars
2/06/07 David Pollastrini first one was better 3 stars
8/23/06 David Cohen A sequal that had to be made. So why couldn't they have stopped after this one? 4 stars
5/03/06 PaulBryant I don't think I can watch another minute of this series 3 stars
5/02/06 Ryan_A Derogatory? Yeah, he's great. 4 stars
5/02/06 William Goss Haven't seen it. 3 stars
5/02/06 David Cornelius yo 4 stars
5/02/06 HBS-SH tall man trifecta 4 stars
2/13/06 Anthony The Best one 5 stars
12/21/05 Michael There is hope when the spirit is set free. 4 stars
12/03/05 Keithers I love this movie just for the final fight...when rocky screams "I did it!!!" makesmeloveit 4 stars
8/26/05 ES excellent movie and worthy sequel 4 stars
6/25/05 Mr Fluffy This is just like Jaws 2 but without the shark. 4 stars
5/28/05 tony My favorite one! but still no need for sequel 5 stars
3/25/05 Cameron Cubbison Emotional, satisfying sequel. Well made, Stallone knows his craft. True to the character. 5 stars
1/05/05 keithers.. It's worth a look just to see Rocky win....besides that it's okay 4 stars
12/15/04 Tom Benton Okay sequel is actually more of a remake, so we've seen it all before. 4 stars
6/22/04 Sean Scanlan This is just like Jaws 2, except for a scene or two 2 stars
12/06/03 john actually nearly as good as the first - a worthy sequel and then some- great! 5 stars
7/08/03 Alex A damn fine moive 5 stars
6/20/03 Sammy I pity anyone who hasnt sen this movie...It is better than all of them 5 stars
5/05/03 Andrew Carden Good Fight Scenes, and Stallone Is Great...but Goes On Too Long!!! 3 stars
3/10/03 Jack Sommersby A bit slow and monotonous, but the bravura ending fight makes up for it. 4 stars
3/09/03 jack b nimble good flick 4 stars
12/19/01 Fropstick the Nortimus Actually better than the overrated original, & K.O.s all 3 following faggotass sequels 3 stars
5/31/01 Ben Donnelly awesome 5 stars
5/17/01 Monster W. Kung C'mon, this is just bad. 2 stars
4/12/01 fifu good if you like corny but saved by legendary amazing boxing action 3 stars
3/25/01 Danielle good, but what can I say slyvester stallone played in it! 5 stars
11/28/00 Cristopher Revilla still good, but not as good as the original 5 stars
5/03/00 matt The whole movie was boring until FINALLY the end where he trained and fought 1 stars
7/07/99 Ben Leostein Rating: ** (out of ****) Category: "Average" 3 stars
4/27/99 Lucas jackson This was one of the best sequels ever in history of movies,Stallone is awesome 5 stars
2/20/99 Piz Same craftiness as the 1st but a bit more predictable, Stalonne is great again. 4 stars
11/04/98 Bad Kosh KICK ASS! That's all I can say. Kick ass! 5 stars
11/03/98 Silent Rob Umm, okay, the first one was good. This one just keeps it movin'.... 3 stars
11/02/98 Oz Wow. I just realised my comment was for III, not II. Still ruled all hell though. 5 stars
11/01/98 Negative Creep Not a sequel,but a continuation of the story. SEquels began with the next film. 5 stars
11/01/98 Oz Travelled the same path as the first, but bought in Mr T and Hulk. Decent. 5 stars
Note: Duplicate, 'planted,' or other obviously improper comments
will be deleted at our discretion. So don't bother posting 'em. Thanks!
Your Name:
Your Comments:
Your Location: (state/province/country)
Your Rating:

Discuss this movie in our forum

  15-Jun-1979 (PG)
  DVD: 08-Feb-2005


  02-Feb-1980 (PG)

Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About Australia's Largest Movie Review Database.
Privacy Policy | HBS Inc. | |   

All data and site design copyright 1997-2017, HBS Entertainment, Inc.
Search for
reviews features movie title writer/director/cast