Rocky II (1979)

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Released 18-Jan-2005

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1979
Running Time 112:04
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (72:35) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Sylvester Stallone
Studio
Distributor

MGM
Starring Sylvester Stallone
Talia Shire
Burt Young
Carl Weathers
Burgess Meredith
Tony Burton
Joe Spinell
Leonard Gaines
Sylvia Meals
Frank McRae
Al Silvani
John Pleshette
Stu Nahan
Case ?
RPI $19.95 Music Bill Conti
Frank Stallone


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
German
German for the Hearing Impaired
French
Italian
Spanish
Dutch
Swedish
Finnish
Norwegian
Danish
Portuguese
Polish
Hungarian
Greek
Turkish
Hebrew
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Rocky II (1979) is the worthy film sequel to perhaps the most uplifting underdog-makes-good movie of all time, Rocky (1976). With Rocky II (well-written and directed by Sylvester Stallone), we are treated to an unashamedly sentimental tale, with another rousing climax.

    Rocky II picks up the story at the end of Rocky. Rocky (Sylvester Stallone) has retired from boxing to appease his pregnant wife (Talia Shire), but he is struggling to make ends meet. Rocky has generously spent most of the money he earned on his new lifestyle and his family/friends. Meanwhile, boxing champion Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) feels humiliated by the underdog "going the distance", and he tries to lure Rocky back into the ring for a rematch.

    As a film, Rocky II succeeds as it carefully and patiently pushes Rocky back down into being the underdog. As a result, the fight between Rocky and Apollo again provides a powerful and exciting David vs Goliath climax to the film, and once again we're standing up and cheering for the people's champion, Rocky, to win.

    Apart from Stallone's excellent writing and direction, his acting in this role is unparalleled by any of his other performances. He really does bring the character of Rocky to life. We all love Rocky - after all, he's not just an underdog, he's kind, honest, caring, generous, humble, and disciplined. He's a loving family man, a loyal friend, and a real battler. The amazing thing Stallone has done is to create such a schmalzy character, with a very sentimental story, yet make it completely believable and real, without it coming off as being sugar-coated or sickly. In a very, very cynical world, this is truly a great piece of producing, writing, acting, and direction.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The transfer does show its age at times, but overall it is quite acceptable.

    The transfer is presented in a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.85:1. It is 16x9 enhanced.

    The sharpness is generally okay, but there are a few soft or hazy moments. As with many older films, the shadow detail is often poor. For example, consider the scene in the hospital at 9:26 or the basement at 40:48, which lack any shadow detail at all.

    The colour often appears undersaturated (or muted), and some of the skin tones have a slight, orange/brown tint.

    There are no problems with MPEG artefacts, but there is often a serious amount of grain present. It seems various film stocks have been used, and some of them result in a very grainy (and at times, even dirty-looking) image.

    There are no serious problems with film-to-video artefacts, just a slight shimmer here and there, but a large number of film artefacts appear frequently throughout.

    English, English for the Hearing Impaired, German, German for the Hearing Impaired, French, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Swedish, Finnish, Norwegian, Danish, Portuguese, Polish, Hungarian, Greek, Turkish, and Hebrew subtitles are present. The English subtitles are accurate.

    This is a Dual Layer disc, with the layer change at 72:35. It is in between scenes and not disruptive.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    There are five audio tracks on the DVD: English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s), German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s), French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s), Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s), and Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s).

    The dialogue quality and audio sync are fine throughout on the default English audio track.

    The musical score is credited to Bill Conti, who of course shot to fame with his theme for Rocky, Gonna Fly Now. This theme has been re-worked and re-used in all five films. Apart from this, Conti has also composed many memorable television themes, such as those for Dynasty and Cagney & Lacey.

    The English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s) audio track is surround encoded, and I was very impressed with the surround presence and activity. Indeed, this track is far more aggressive and immersive than the 5.1 track on Rocky III. Obviously the surround sound mix is quite front-heavy, but the rear speakers are used effectively to help carry the score and provide ambience. This  maintains a nice soundfield while keeping the viewer firmly focussed on the screen. The use of the rear speakers adds a lot to the film, such as when the crowd is cheering at the boxing match at 89:59.

    As a stereo track, there is obviously no LFE for the subwoofer.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    Considering this was a re-release, I was expecting more in the way of extras.

Menu

    A simple menu.

Theatrical Trailer (2:36)

    The trailer is presented in a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.85:1, non-16x9 enhanced, with English Dolby Digital Stereo Surround audio.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    Rocky II was originally released on DVD as a dual-sided, single-layered disc in R1 back in 1997.

    The Region 4 DVD misses out on:

    The Region 1 DVD misses out on:

    Rocky II was later released on DVD in R1 as part of the Rocky Collection DVD Box Set. Even though released in 2001, the same 1997, non 16x9 enhanced disc was recycled into the package.

   This year, the Rocky Anthology DVD Box Set was released in R1, and they finally got a 16x9 enhanced version of the film. (BTW: In this box set, Rocky scores a new dts 5.1 mix for the first time!)

    The Region 4 DVD misses out on:

    The Region 1 DVD misses out on:

    I would favour the R1 box set, but only marginally. According to a few sources, the 5.1 mix isn't that different to the Stereo surround mix, and the dts audio on Rocky isn't that spectacular either.

Summary

    Join in with the surround-encoded audio of the crowd, as we all chant: Rocky! Rocky! Rocky!

    The video quality is slightly disappointing but still very watchable.

    The audio quality is very good albeit quite front-heavy.

    The extras are limited to a trailer.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Brandon Robert Vogt (warning: bio hazard)
Friday, December 31, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-535, using S-Video output
DisplayGrundig Elegance 82-2101 (82cm, 16x9). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationSony STR DE-545
SpeakersSony SS-V315 x5; Sony SA-WMS315 subwoofer

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