I Saw That!

One woman's opinions about popular entertainment.

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Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Amateur boxing coach, Christian (but not so heavenly-minded that I'm no earthly good) singer, writer, self-defense advocate, childfree. feminist www.smartwomenboxingtraining.org

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Rocky II (1979)

This film opens with the fight that was at the end of Rocky (1976).  Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) and his opponent, champ Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) are whisked off to the hospital afterwards to heal their injuries.  Rocky took the worst of the beating.  Once out of the hospital, Rocky marries Adrian (Talia Shire), and he promises her he will not box anymore.

However, life outside of the ring proves to be a major challenge.  Rocky is signed to do a commercial, but the project is scrapped when it is discovered that the boxer can't read the cue cards -- Rocky is illiterate.  A job comes up at a meat packing plant, but due to budget cuts, Rocky is laid off.  Without a high school diploma, opportunities for the former boxer are few.  There are bills due, and Adrian is pregnant.

Meanwhile, Apollo, embarrassed by how Rocky stood up to him during their fight, wants a rematch ASAP. Apollo, with the help of his coach (Tony Burton) and PR team, launch a campaign to lure Rocky back to the ring.  Mickey (Burgess Meredith) is willing to train Rocky again.  Pauly (Burt Young), Rocky's brother-in-law, is willing to support him.  But Adrian isn't happy about the idea, and it causes friction between her and her husband.  Also, Rocky has his doubts -- can he handle Apollo again, or was it just luck?

I love these characters, and the whole film has a realness about how these people interact with each other and live.  This is one of those rare movie sequels that lives up to the original film.  One of my favorite aspects of this movie as in the previous film is Burgess Meredith, who barks orders as Rocky's old school boxing coach.  I remember Meredith mostly from playing the Penguin on the old "Batman" TV series (1966-1968).  In other roles, Meredith was either playing mild-mannered guys, like the bank employee caught up in a nuclear war on a famous episode of "The Twilight Zone" (1959-1964) or sophisticated men.  Meredith does a great job playing a guy whose seen a lot in the boxing world.

The fight at the end is truly brutal.  Even though I knew the ending before I ever saw the movie, I still clapped and yelled as if I was watching a real match.

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