Directed by: Sylvester Stallone
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Burt Young, Antonio Tarver,
Geraldine Hughes, Milo Ventimiglia, Tony Burton,
Released by: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Short: Thirty years after he won our hearts
in the ring, Rocky is back in a surprisingly
effective finale to the long-running film series.
Takes One More Shot
we really need another “Rocky” film? After
five films spanning the years 1976 to 1990, most of us
thought that there was nothing left to say about (or milk
out of) the working-class boxer from Philadelphia who
went all the way to the heavyweight championship of the
world. Most of us except Sylvester Stallone, that is,
who still had one more story to tell.
surprisingly (especially after seeing the abysmal “Rocky
V”), this final chapter that Stallone wrote, directed,
and (naturally) stars in is a good movie. Rocky is older,
running his Italian restaurant in South Philly and still
living in the past, at least in his memories, of both
his late wife Adrian and his former glories in the ring.
ESPN airs a computer-generated fantasy fight between Rocky
in his heyday and the current world heavyweight champion
(Antonio Tarver, who in real life was the light heavyweight
world champ), Rocky’s world is turned upside down.
As the media spotlight is put on him once more, interest
builds for an exhibition match between the two fighters,
and the rest, as they say, is history.
enticing thing about “Rocky Balboa” is that
the film is a winning combination of a one-two punch.
Rocky’s journey back to the ring is an insightful
look at the inevitable aging process of an athlete—and
the often depressing realities, both physical and emotional,
that go along with that. Then, once he gets there, the
fight sequences are truly exciting and unexpectedly believable.
certainly helps that 60-year-old Sylvester Stallone still
sports a washboard stomach and massive arms, and that
he still looks good enough in the ring to make the battle
look real. And it also helps that while there is a little
bit of cornpone slung as the story unfolds, the film is
on the whole a mostly unsentimental look at how the desire
for our past glories often colors our present actions,
and not always in a positive sense.
don’t be surprised if, when the final bell rings
on the “Rocky” saga, you actually find yourself
feeling a little bit choked up and emotional. After all,
it’s been a 30-year journey that many viewers have
taken with this character, and this bittersweet film is
a fitting finale to Rocky’s “anyone can make
it to the top with determination and guts” attitude
and iconic reflection of the classic American dream.