Posts Tagged ‘Rocky II’

Robert Mckee wrote one of the better known books on screenplay writing. In his book, simply called Story, he said a strong ending can make the audience forget the weaker parts of a movie. Such is the case in Rocky II, it ends on such a emotional high note, it makes us forget about the slow ploddingness of the rest of the movie.

Rocky II is one of the rare sequels that picks up immediately after the events of the previous film. It begins the tradition of the opening recap of the last film’s fight. It then takes us to the immediate aftermath, with the opening credits running over scenes of Rocky’s ambulance rushing him to the hospital. For anyone that doesn’t know, Creed won the match of the first movie by a split decision. The rest of the movie is about Creed, embarrassed that a no name fighter went the distance with the champ, wanting a rematch, and Rocky wanting to live the rest of his life quietly with Adrian.

Once he gets out of the hospital, Rocky proposes to Adrian at the zoo (which is weirdly ironic since in the last movie someone insulted them both by suggesting Rocky take her to the zoo because “retards like the zoo.”) They marry and buy a new home. Rocky’s lack of sophistication is played up here, as he recklessly spends money on new clothes, a nice car, etc. It’s the only time of the series where Rocky is kind of un-likable, and at times comes across like an early Homer Simpson. Naively, he attempts to get an office job, but his lack of education and criminal record bar this. He briefly attempts to do commercials but, embarrassingly, he has trouble reading the cue cards.

Meanwhile Apollo keeps goading him into trying to fight again, but Adrian doesn’t want him to. There’s also a plot point about Rocky’s one eye being damaged/not being able to see well. (This plot point is dropped for the rest of the series. Maybe once he got rich he got some magic surgery to fix it.) Adding to the pressure is Adrian’s pregnancy. She delivers the baby but falls into a coma afterwards. At this point the series delves into soap opera melodrama, though I fully admit tearing up upon first seeing this at age 13. Maybe in 1979 the whole slipped into a coma angle wasn’t cliche yet. Either way, Adrian turns out to be fine, encourages Rocky to fight, and away we go.

There’s two training montages this time, with the familiar Rocky theme returning. We see him running through the city getting followed by school children, showing how the city of Philadelphia has truly embraced him. They all run to the top of the steps together, and I always thought it would have been funny if they did a fake outtake where Rocky accidentally belted one of the kids.

Possibly one improvement Rocky II has over its predecessor is the final fight is filmed much better. Now that they have a real budget we get to see an arena filled with people watching the match. While the first fight was more dramatic, this one is filmed more for excitement, with Bill Conti’s “Conquest” score which ended up being used a few times throughout the series. There’s also an angle of southpaw Rocky training to fight right handed, only two switch to his left at the end. However, he doesn’t end up doing the switch, which was due to an injury Stallone had while making this movie.

While visually an improvement over its predecessor, the fight is also a bit more ridiculous. If you know the littlest thing about boxing, you know that you always keep your hands up to defend yourself. Rocky has almost no defense, he seems to willingly take Apollo’s punches. Now granted most of the Rocky’s are guilty of this sin, but in II it’s the most blatant. It’s just too hard to believe that he is able to take this beating and not get knocked out. It’s arguably more ridiculous than Rocky IV, because that whole movie is over the top so it’s just kind of understood. Like the first movie, Rocky II is somewhat grounded in reality, so to go from something grounded in reality to this absurdity is a lot to take.

Rocky II runs two hours, just like its predecessor, but unlike the first one, which won an Oscar for best editing, this one feels a lot longer. The scenes of Rocky trying to live a normal life really drag at times. Rocky V is widely considered the worst of the series. However, I would suggest Rocky II might actually be worse. The thing is, the audience forgives its slowness because the very very end is highly exciting and emotional. Stallone comes up with a clever ending in that Rocky simply doesn’t knock out Apollo. Instead both fighters fall to the mat, and the situation is whoever gets up first wins the match. It’s a real nail biter done very well. It should be no surprise that Rocky wins, and afterwards give a speech ending with him addressing his wife who was watching at home on TV. Ending with the now famous “Yo Adrian, I did it!” Rocky II ends in an undeniable emotional high, which makes us remember this movie being a lot better than it really was.

I’ll leave you with the ending below.

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This is something I’m just totally screwing around with but it’s fun to talk about.

In the movie world Rocky I opens in November of 1975.

Rocky II has him winning the title a year later, Thanksgiving of 1976. Also it should be noted that Rocky and Adrian get married the same year.

Rocky III is said to take place 3 years later, which would be 1979.

The secret re-match between Rocky and Apollo at the end of Rocky III takes place in the same year, as evident by Apollo acknowledging that he thought of this 3 years ago.

Rocky IV opens immediately after that rematch, when Rocky comes home late for Paulies’ birthday party. Later that evening, Rocky gives Adrian an early wedding anniversary surprise. However, before Adrian gets a ride on the “Italian Stallion,” he lets out a major continuity error which could threaten the fabric of reality itself.

He says it’s been almost 9 years since they were married. (Adrian acknowledges that he’s a week early, so pretty much 9 years.)

Now this night in movie time has to be 3 years, not 9 years later.

However, in the movie world they got married in 76, which in our world is the same year the first movie came out. Rocky IV came out in 1985, which in our world is 9 years later. So in the real world it had been 9 years since the movie world of 1976. Realities have somehow crisscrossed on this matter. (FIY They get married in Rocky II, which was in 1979, but takes place in 76.)

Upon further monitoring of the Rocky Reality, it is stated in Rocky IV by Rocky and Adrian that Apollo has been retired for around 5 years. Again, in movie continuity, it should only be 3. This statement is made when Ivan Drago comes to America.

But again Rocky IV came out in 1985, Rocky II, where Apollo loses the belt, was released in 1979, which is 6 years prior. However in Rocky II they fought on Thanksgiving, near the end of the year, so it still could be 5 years technically.

However, this one COULD possibly be reconciled, by assuming that Ivan Drago came to America to fight two years after the night of Paulies’ birthday party.

Other errors to discuss:

When Apollo comes over Rocky’s house they watch their fight from Rocky II and have maybe a five minute conversation. If you watch and listen closely, (and have too much knowledge of Rocky II like I have) you’ll notice the beginning of the conversation they’re watching the very beginning of the fight, but at the end of the conversation, you can hear the announcers calling the closing moments. So a whole 15 round fight was viewed during a five minute conversation. Maybe they were watching the fight on laser disc, and Apollo in his excitement hit the skip chapter button on the remote, which sent the disc to the end of the fight. (The real reason of course, was the whole fight obviously wasn’t filmed for the movie.)

Also the age of Rocky’s son fluctuates a lot depending on what time scale your looking at. He ages rapidly between IV and V.

In Rocky III, both fights with Clubber Lang are filmed completely from bell to bell, or to the end of the fight. Rocky I, II, and IV, have rounds 1,2, and 15, filmed in their entirety, with the in between rounds shown in a MONTAGE!!!!!!!! When I was a kid I noticed if you ever watched, none of those fully filmed rounds are actually 3 minutes. I think most were like a minute and a half.

These errors could threaten the fabric of reality itself!

Of course I’m just joking around. Back to my 9 years thing the real reason is that movies are usually presumed to take place the year they came out, unless it explicitly says otherwise or it’s assumed to be a either a period piece or a sci-fi film set in the future. It’s just something fun to talk about.

Hey yo.