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Soundtrack review: Rocky II (Bill Conti – 1979)

With very few intimate and personal moments, “Rocky II” falls a little short

“Rocky II” was the movie that introduced the motivational training routines…This is the movie where the “Rocky steps” were born, and that scene with the kids following him, running with him and climbing the steps with him remains one of the most iconic in movie history. This is the movie that gave the scene for his statue, and this is the Bill Conti score I am reviewing today as part of “The Expendables month”.

The new theme introduced here is “Redemption”. This theme is more serious than “Gonna fly now”. This track means business; it’s a sharp guitar rhythm that breathes determination more than motivation. If the original Rocky theme was an explosively sunny day, this one brings the chill of a cloudy day when you know you have to get things done.

“Rocky II” is funkier than then the first score. It still sounds fresh today, even if it isn’t as exciting as its predecessor. We get a version of “Gonna fly now” here as well, except is played at a faster pace and it sounds more jazzy and a little less inspiring than the original version. The whole sound of “Rocky II” is more electronic than melodic, but we still get the great 8 minutes long “Overture”, which is basically a suite of our already favorite Rocky themes. My only complaint is that in this track as well I feel Bill Conti chose to focus more on making music rather than making themes. The sound bares the sign of the time: funky, electronic, and jazzy and it loses the personal and inspiring touch it had in the first score.

With very few intimate and personal moments, “Rocky II” falls a little short. It’s still part of the franchise’s history and it did give us the Redemption theme, but that’s the only track I listen to from it. Luckily, we get a lot to choose from when it comes to Rocky music.

Cue rating: 70 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 8 / 34

Album excellence: 22%

 

Highlights:

Redemption

Gonna fly now

All my life

 

About the author

Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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