Information for Parents
Common Sense Media says Iffy for 10+
Sly's boxing saga begins to go lightweight.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this movie, in typical Hollywood fashion, glorifies the brutal sport of boxing as the way our champ hero proves his intrinsic worth. While previous films in the Rocky series (and other boxing dramas) showed the wounds inflicted and talked up the long-term physical damage associated with pugilism, this one shows the two-fisted violence with no consequences. It's more like pro wrestling -- which, by the way, got a big plug, with cameo by Hulk Hogan -- and should probably be put in the same class.
- Families can talk about how the lesson in the original Rocky -- that it doesn't matter if you win or lose, as long as you "go the distance" -- compares with the more success-oriented mania in this sequel. Note how the Clubber Lang character is even acknowledged as a sort of up-and-coming contender, the way Rocky Balboa used to be, but unlike the Sylvester Stallone hero he's given barely any human qualities at all. Would this movie have been a box-office hit if he were a better-drawn character instead of just a trash-talking bully (one who also happens to look like white America's worst nightmare of a black ghetto thug)? You could also talk about the transformation of Apollo Creed from Rocky's nemesis to his friend and ally, and how that plays out in the final scene. Ask kids what they think happened next.
The good stuff
Positive messages: Rocky Balboa remains a hero here, literally star-spangled, and Apollo Creed has also turned into a good sport. In fact, they're pretty much too good to be true, with the nemesis Clubber Lang such a figure of pure evil he may as well breath fire. There's an uncomfortable racial subtext in the gentlemanly white boxer vs. the bestial black one, though Apollo Creed as a mentor figure takes some nasty edge off.
What to watch for
Violence: Rocky and Clubber Lang take a pounding in their fight scenes, and Rocky gets tossed around by a wrestler. Still, it's more cartoony and WWE-like than bloody.
Sexy stuff: Both the villainous Clubber Lang and a pro wrestler named Thunderlips boast of their sexual prowess. Scantily clad girls are ringside.
Language: Trainer Mickey says "hell" a lot.
Consumerism: Rocky is shown on a spread of real-life magazine covers and there's a montage of him as an advertising pitchman.
Drinking, drugs and smoking: Recreational drinking and smoking, mostly by Rocky's brother in-law, who gets drunk at one point and thrown in jail.