A sequel to the sleeper hit Rocky was inevitable. Equally inevitable is that it does not quite match up to the original. Its heart is in the right place, but the challenges Rocky faces, which were sincere and human in the original, often fall into maudlin theatrics the second time around.
The movie begins right where the original left off. Both rocky and Apollo are taken to the same hospital because of their severe injuries. Apollo is interested I a rematch, but Rocky is in such bad shape, he announces his retirement. Only Adrian supports his decision.
The plot complications that follow are awfully contrived. Apollo is burned by the public sentiment Rocky was robbed of victory by the judges. He begin a smear campaign to goad Rocky back ito the ring. Meanwhile, Rocky is having a tough timesaving in on his fame because his lack of education is hindering his ability to read for commercial endorsements. As his financial woes worsen, he realizes boxing is the only thing he knows how to do. He is further pushed back into the ring by his old friends who think he is a coward for not facing up to Apollo’s challenge.
Now for the maudlin--Rocky and Adrian marry, she gets pregnant, but the baby is born premature and se falls into a coma. Rocky refuses to train for his rematch with Apollo until she wakes up. She does, but y that time, Rocky would have to be Superman to be prepared to fight Apollo. But he does anyway and wins even easier than he did the first time around when most of the movie was devoted to him training for the impossible task of defeating Apollo.
It sounds like I am down on Rocky II,but I am not. Sylvester Stallone created a very appealing, sympathetic character who I want to see win out I the end. My desire allows me to overlook the story quality, which is definitely about two steps below the first. I would place Rocky II in the middle of the pack in the series. It has problems, but it is still an enjoyable film.
Rating: *** (out of 5)