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June 30, 1979 - Image 8

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1979-06-30

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Page 8--Saturday, June 30, 1979-The Michigan Daily
Stallone does it all.

. .but badly

In taking on the multi-faceted role of
writer, director and star of Rocky II,
Sylvester Stallone has bitten off more
than he can chew. While the film's early
box office success will go down easy,
Stallone may have trouble swallowing
its critical notices. Reviewers seem to
be having a field day pointing out the
flaws in this sequel to Rocky.
As "the story continues," Rocky
marries his shy sweetheart Adrian and
begins to look for a job outside of
boxing. We learn that he is in demand
as a popular personality owing to his
near-victory over Apollo Creed, the
heavyweight champion of the world.
But Rocky bombs in his attempt to do
TV commercials, and since doctors

have warned that another bout could
blind him, he has decided to retire per-
manently from boxing. However, when
Rocky finds that he doesn't have
enough education to get a desk job, and
he loses a menial job because of a plant
cutback, he decides to take the risk and
go back to fighting. Conveniently
enough, Apollo Creed just then deman-
ds a rematch, and the stage is set for
Rocky's triumphant comeback.
MANY CRITICS are upset about
Stallone's aggrandizement of Rocky.
The fighter used to jog down the streets
of Philadelphia alone, but now he is
followed by throngs of adoring fans.
They are also bothered by Stallone's
borrowing of successful elements from

the first film. (The filmmaker uses the
same theme song and even copies,
almost verbatim, certain scenes from
Rocky Il's predecessor.) Other
reviewers find problems with Stallone's
unrealistic presentation of certain
events-in the fight scenes, Rocky
doesn't seem to know how to duck a
punch-and his melodramatic ap-
proach to others-after giving birth to
Rocky Jr., Adrian lapses into a lengthy
coma, and Rocky Sr. stays at her side
the whole time). In terms of his
cinematic sensibilities, Stallone falls
into the trap of the novice who wants to
look like an expert, and so substitutes
gimmicks for creativity, thinking no
one will notice the difference. This is
evidenced by the abundant and
gratuitous use of such cinematic
devices as the freeze frame, montage,
and slow motion shot.
All these problems hurt the picture,
but I could live with them if only
Stallone had done as good a job with
characterization in Rocky las he did in
its predecessor. Rocky was shot with an
eye for gritty realism, and its charac-
ters reflected that no frills approach
with the tendency to react to life on a
gut level. For example, Rocky's friend
Paulie (Burt Young) was a study in
volatility. Frustrated by his inability to
get a better job, and by his generally

Brian De Palma's 1977
The director of CARRIE & OBSESSION brings us a chilling tale of extro-mental
use and abuse. KIRK DOUGLAS finds his son has psychic powers-but so
does a girl with similar abilities. Government agencies are of course inter-
esting and the inevitable clash between all of them is resounding.
NOTE: The Fritz Lang FURY advertised in our schedule for tonight will not
be shown.
CIN EMA LD 730ae 1.50

tT uertified Crazy Person's Comedy

L/ ' is one of the funniest films
in years. I was tripled-up with laughter.
It's been a long time since I've
laughed this side-hurting hard."
Gene Shalit, NBC-TV

bad lot in life, the man channeled his
feelings into violent action. When his
mousy sister Adrian was afraid to go
out on a date with Rocky, Paulie
showed his concern for her by tossing
the Thanksgiving turkey out the win-
dow, so that she would have no excu se
to stay home. On Christmas eve, Paulie
expressed his anger twoard Rocky (the
boxer couldn't get him a job working
for his petty gangster boss) by
drunkenly wielding a baseball bat
through the house that he and his sister
shared and smashing everything in
IN THE MORE slickly made Rocky
II, the boxer suddenly decides that
Paulie is able to handle working for the
mobster. As soon as he begins wearing
a suit and has a little money in his
pocket, Paulie's violent anger and
frustrations seem to disappear
magically, as if the Mafia were a
soothing employer. His stronges
display of anger in the film is when he
knocks a bowl of bird seed out of
Adrian's hands. Stallone has for no
reason transformed this character into
a snow cone-slurping wimp.
Paulie is not the only character in
Rocky II who suffers from a deficiency
of passion. Sylvester Stallone's strong
physical presence on the screen in
Rocky launched his career as sex sym-
bol, but in that movie he was more than
a dumb guy who looked good in a T-
shirt. The magic of Rocky was that
Stallone created in him a dichotomous
mixture of social naivete and insight in-
to human nature. Rocky was not sharp
enough to get rich at his shady
profession, but he realized that a sen-
suous woman was lying dormant
behind Adrian's glasses and frumpy
clothes. In the first film, the scene in
which Rocky seduces Adrian is power-
ful because of Stallone's dominating
physical presence, but also because of
his sensitivity to her inexperience.
Rocky sets up a great potential for the
two as lovers.
That's why the presentation of their
relationship in RockyIIlcomes as such a
disappointment. Stallone has made
Rocky so goofy that he's hardly sexy
anymore. He still wears a T-shirt oc-
casionally, but most of the time we see
him in a too-small hat and a jacket with
a gaudy tiger embroidered on the back.
Sometimes the boxer seems so dumb
that he's almost retarded, as when he's
trying to act ina TV commercial and he
can't even read simple sentences off
the cue cards.
MARRIAGE (or something) seems to
have blurred any insights he used to
have into human nature. When Rocky
and Adrian are happy, they converse by
cutely repeating the same line to each
other until the viewer feels like
knocking their heads together. When
they are mad at each other, which is
most of the time because Adrian
doesn't approve of Rocky's boxing am-
bitions, their communication consists
of Adrian shooting sulking looks at
Rocky's guilt-ridden countenance.
Whether or not there is any truth to
the theory that marriage dissipates
sexual passion, the love scene between

Music by JOHN MORRIS - Executive Producer ALAN ARKIN - Written by ANDREW BERGMAN
MON.-TUE.-THUR.-FRI. 7:15-9:45
231 s1IE="state SAT.-SUN.-WED.
.. - . f12.10-2.30-d.50-7.15-9.45

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