Less a sequel than a complete remake, Rocky II picks up where the first one left off and follows Rocky (played by screenwriter Sylvester Stallone) as he – in an effort to placate his new wife, Adrian (Talia Shire) – attempts to make a living without using his fists. It’s an undertaking that proves to be fruitless, and it’s not long before the Italian Stallion is prepping for a high-profile rematch against old foe Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers). Rocky II is undoubtedly a solid movie, but the problem is it’s pretty much the same movie as the original – particularly in terms of its storyline, which is virtually a note-for-note replica of its predecessor’s. And while the series has never exactly thrived on innovation – each installment essentially follows the structure laid down by the first one – Rocky II can’t help but come off as the most needless installment of the bunch (the climactic fight, however, is just as effective as one might’ve imagined).
**1/2 out of ****