July 02, 1979 12:00 PM

Good news, Rocky fans: The sequel is a knockout. Sylvester Stallone has reassembled the same cast and crew (except that Sly himself has replaced John Avildsen as director) and tells basically the same story, picking it up with the last round of Rocky’s fight against Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers). Then Rocky retires, can’t find work and is shamed back into the ring. Talia Shire re-creates her role as Adrian, marrying Rocky and producing a son named, naturally, Rocky. As the battered old manager, Burgess Meredith is still blustering, though Burt Young, as Adrian’s crazy brother, puts on a coat and tie and acts a little more subdued. Stallone touches the familiar bases: the pet shop, punching carcasses at the meat-packing plant, training on the Philadelphia streets and, of course, the bounding run up the steps of the art museum. The fight scenes are beautifully choreographed and shot, with a surprise climax. Stallone says there will be a Rocky III—which, if the principals aren’t all punch-drunk by that time, should be something to look forward to. (PG)

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