I love it when sequels include the ending of the previous film as a recap for the audience. It’s very considerate.

I had forgotten nearly all of what happened in this film but it all came flooding back as I started to watch it. The last time I watched Rocky 2 was on VHS in the early/mid-80s.


Rocky goes from fighting Apollo Creed to trying to become a star of commercials rather than stepping back into the ring but this doesn’t work out (completely due to the dickhead director rather than because of our Italian hero). He then decides to try and get an office job. When this fails he then tries to get any kind of job. He eventually finds employment in a slaughterhouse. As they are so strapped for money, Adrienne decides to go back to her pet shop job part-time even though she now has a bun in the oven. Rocky then decides to a rematch against Creed but Adrienne disapproves. She then overworks herself in her job which then brings on premature labour. Whilst she gives birth and the baby is fine, she slips into a coma through complications to do with her working when she should have been relaxing.

We see that Rocky’s training for the rematch is very sloppy before Adrienne’s hospitalisation. The scenes in which Rocky sits by his wife’s side as she lay in her coma are gorgeous. I also love that when she awakens from her coma she says she wants Rocky to win in his rematch against Apollo. This sparks scenes of Rocky’s training for said match with him now giving 110% and with the famous Rocky theme playing. These scenes are genuinely uplifting as the same kind of montages are repeated from the original with Rocky as a kind of Everyman who has come from nothing but worked hard to get to his lofty heights- the embodiment of The American Dream. Under anyone else’s direction these sequences would be as corny as hell but under Stallone’s direction (yes Sly wrote and directed this film) they work beautifully.


Again, uniformly brilliant performances as the beautifully drawn characters are again brought to life by their respective players. Again, Joe Spinell is in this film and again, I smiled when I saw his name in the opening credits. That’s enough of me using the word ‘again’.

Stallone as Rocky is such a great performance with him being just as lovable, full of heart and tenacity as he was in the original. But, Burgess Meredith has more airtime in this film and he turns in a terrific performance as the gnarled old boxing trainer Mickey who has a huge part in Rocky getting his head together and getting back in the ring to win.


This isn’t a sequel that is better than its original film but that’s only because the first Rocky was so good. Rather, this is a sequel on a par with the original. Rocky wasn’t just a fluke. Rocky 2 became one of the three highest-grossing films of 1979 and was also critically acclaimed. And deservedly so.

4 stars out of 5


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