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ROCKY II ($25) is the surprisingly good sequel to the Academy Award winning best picture of 1976. ROCKY II picks up right after the events of the first film, and propels the characters into new situations that they find themselves ill prepared. Rocky discovers his newfound fame fleeting in the light of his loss to Heavyweight champion Apollo Creed. Whatever money he earned for the fight with Creed is soon gone, and his inability to get a decent job frustrates the newly married Rocky, especially since he and Adrian have a child on the way. Creed himself finds his own situation frustrating; he didn’t take the fight with Rocky seriously and barely won by decision. With his fans denouncing him, Creed needs a decisive victory in a re-match.

A re-match would solve Rocky’s financial problems, but another fight could cost him his eyesight. Sylvester Stallone’s screenplay and direction are right on the money, creating another winner. Like the original, ROCKY II is a character driven film with terrific performances. Stallone isn’t afraid to bring Rocky’s weakness and strengths to the surface, delivering a fine performance. Talia Shire again makes the character of Adrian a real person. The always-entertaining Burgess Meredith makes the most of Rocky’s cantankerous boxing manager Mickey. Carl Weathers gives a stronger, more human performance in his second go round as Apollo Creed. Burt Young adds some humor to the film with his vivid performance in the role of Pauly. The cast of ROCKY II also features Tony Burton, Joe Spinell and Sylvia Meals.

MGM Home Entertainment offers ROCKY II in Letterboxed and pan and scan presentations on opposite sides of the DVD. The pan and scan transfer is full frame and doesn’t detract too much from the viewing experience. The Letterboxed transfer looks terrific and presents ROCKY II close to its proper theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1. Bill Butler’s cinematography is slick looking, with the sharp, detailed transfer being faithful to his work. MPEG -2 compression artifacts were never really noticeable on either presentation.

The Dolby Digital soundtrack is two channel stereo and decodes to standard Dolby Surround. The mix is respectable considering the age of the film. Bill Conte’s music sounds best on the track, although there are a number of pleasing directional effects. Other soundtrack options include French and Spanish language tracks. Subtitles are available in English, French and Spanish.

The interactive menus offer access to a theatrical trailer and the standard scene selection feature.




DVD reviews are Copyright 1998 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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