Rocky II takes off where the first one ended after showing the outcome of the fight once more. The fact that a nobody from Philadelphia could go the distance with reigning world champion Apollo Creed has him disgraced, he’s constantly getting hate mail and despite claiming that there won’t be a rematch, the only way he could redeem himself in his own and the public’s eyes is that by having one. Meanwhile Rocky is living the large life of becoming a sudden celebrity. He retires from boxing, marries Adrian, buys a house and a car with the money made with the match as well as a whole lot of luxury products he doesn’t really need. When it turns out being a celebrity isn’t turning him to a wonder in making commercials and an office job is out of the question for someone who never finished school Rocky, once the money was all spent, has to back to the manual labor his brother Paulie did in the first movie. When even the work here dries up the only option he has is to fight Apollo once more, despite Adrian not supporting him afraid he will go blind due to the punches. To make things worse for Rocky Adrian ends up in a coma after giving birth while he has to train for the fight.
Keeping in tone with the first movie Rocky II is a low key movie revolving more around drama than sports. Rocky’s life has gotten a small bump upwards but the fact that Rocky doesn’t know how to handle a large sum of money in his bank account will bring him down to earth really quickly. Though with a heart of gold, Rocky is quite a stupid character. Deliberate cringe worthy scenes like him buying a house and doing a commercial show you that there’s only one thing this guy knows how to do; fighting.
Where Rocky wasn’t the brightest tool in the shed in the first movie, in the second they really push it. Especially when he has run out of money, takes upon the challenge to provide himself with a another big payday and responds to a reporter ,asking him what he’s going to do with the money he’s now making, that he’s going to spend it on his bills (good!) and a bunch of stupid unnecessary presents for his close relatives (stupid!). Adrian shouldn’t be worried about him going blind, she should be more worried about brain damage, but we’ll have to wait until part V for that chapter.
Of course this being a Rocky movie it has its fair share of montages, two of them being training montages. The other montages consists of him spending all his money and surprisingly becoming literate by reading books every day to Adrian in the hospital. I bet you never expected this kind of a training montage? The two actual training montages are set up as they always are; at first it’s to display how bad in shape he is, the second shows how he gets strong for the final showdown. Since the whole movie is in tone with the first they don’t stray very far from what was done before. Rocky now learns to catch a chicken, pounds steal with a hammer on a junkyard and has the entire youth of Philadelphia join him in his run across the town ending upon the same stairs.
This is Rocky II’s weakest point, as it literally continues the story line of part 1 but in such a way it’s actually repeating it. The opponent is the same, though now aware of the strength of Rocky and thus training equally hard. The pawns were placed in the first movie and they don’t move much in this movie.
Rocky II is a decent movie, and one of the better in the series, but brings nothing new and memorable to the story.