After iron man Drago, a highly intimidating 6-foot-5, 261-pound Soviet athlete, kills Apollo Creed in an exhibition match, Rocky comes to the heart of Russia for 15 pile-driving boxing rounds of revenge.
Three years and 10 successful title defenses after beating Apollo Creed, with whom he has become great friends, a now wealthy Rocky Balboa is considering retirement. Fame and complacency soon cause Balboa to lose his title to Clubber Lang, who inadvertently causes the death of Rocky's trainer Mickey. Rocky sinks into a depression, and Apollo decides to train Rocky for a rematch against Lang so Rocky can try to win the title back. Written by
Sylvester Stallone's first wife Sasha was the blonde groupie who asked for and got a kiss from Rocky during his public training session for his first fight with Clubber Lang. See more »
During the statue dedication, the band plays, "Gonna Fly Now," marking the first and only time in the Rocky series that the song is played live where Rocky can actually hear it as a part of the actual plot. All other times, the song, along with the other soundtrack pieces play as a backdrop to the movie. Since backdrop songs to any movie aren't actually parts to the plot, the playing of the song, "Gonna Fly Now," would technically be a song Rocky has never heard before and he would have no idea what the connection is or why the song is being played at the dedication. See more »
[Preparing to fight Thunderlips]
Hey Mick what do you think this guy eats?
About 202 pounds.
... Weighing in at 202 pounds...
[Rocky gives Mickey a look, and Mickey grins in response]
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For the first time in the series, Tony Burton's character is credited (and referred to on screen for the first time) as Duke. See more »
After the recap of the fight from the previous movie, Rocky III opens with a montage which begins with fireworks and giant light up sign of Rocky, as if to say "Welcome to the 80's!": a decade when everything was larger than life. The song of choice is Eye of Tiger, the montage is edited like an MTV music video and Rocky even appears on The Muppet Show; and all that merchandise, me want!
Rocky III is ridiculously entertaining while still managing to have thematic substance. Rocky is no longer struggling with fame. A man who couldn't film a simple commercial in Rocky II is now making all sorts of endorsements. He could barely drive a car in Rocky II, now he can now drive with ease. Rocky has also become a more intelligent man instead of the dumb dumb he was in first two movies. Not to mention does he looks different, very handsome I might add and in such physical shape. I think Stallone looks like Al Pacino here, especially when wearing a suit.
Rocky III brought the series in a different direction, distant from the first two movies. But despite Rocky's wealth and fame, Rocky III is not a movie which cheapens out. The primary theme of the movie is about Rocky's fame making him soft, or as Mickey puts it, "You got civilised". Once Rocky discovers Mickey has been hand picking fighters his seemingly perfect bubble of a life is burst; "You wake up after a few years, thinking you're a winner, but you're not, you're really a loser". This continues the series theme of being semi autobiographical of Stallone's own life as the movie examines what fame and fortune can do to a person. Adrian's role is smaller is time round, although her character still see an evolution as the famous lifestyle has taken away her shyness and made her more outspoken, and pretty hot too I might add. Just listen to the words of motivation she gives Rocky on the beach, a far cry from the Adrian in the first movie.
Even when Rocky discovers Mickey has been hand picking fighters, before his fist fight with Clubber Lang, Rocky is training in the most superficial gym. It's full of photographers and visitors, musicians are playing and merchandise is being sold. Unsurprisingly, he gets the worst beating of his life at the hands of Clubber Lang. The solution to Rocky getting his so called "eye of the tiger" back; get away from the superficiality of his wealthy lifestyle and back to the nitty gritty. As Apollo Creed puts it, "Man, when we fought, you had that eye of the tiger man, the edge! And the only way to get it back is to go back to the beginning; you know what I'm saying?". I stick by these words as some of the wisest words I've heard uttered in a motion picture. Whenever you lose your mindset of determination weather physically or mentality, go back to where you first started in order to reclaim it. Rocky III humanises Apollo Creed, with Rocky and Apollo becoming friends being a great spin on the story. I always think of his intense shouting of "There is no tomorrow!" whenever I need some motivation.
The hypnotic, uneasy music which plays when Rocky is training poorly under Apollo and stuck with the threat of living with failure reminds me of Bernard Herman's score to Vertigo in possibly the most uneasy scenes in the series. Likewise the scene of Paulie in the arcade has to be the most surreal scene in the entire series in which he throws a bottle pinball machine in slow motion complete with odd sound effects; it's an image which doesn't leave your head.
Mr. T as Clubber Lang, oh man! What a beast! A true larger than life villain with outbursts of immensely entertaining lightening fast dialogue; he sure has a way with words with such a violent temper and high levels of anger. You do not want to be stuck in an elevator with this guy. Which raises the question; is Clubber responsible for the death of Mickey by pushing him to the side? Yet even close to Mickey can still inspire in scenery chewing words of motivation, with his death being one of the series most emotional moments. The boxer vs. wrestler charity fight on the other hand between Rocky and Thunderlips (Hulk Hogan) has nothing to do with the rest of the movie, but dam is it entertaining. It's so over the top with such intense pain on display; the referee and police officers are thrown to the side, the audience is assaulted and even Paulie gets in on the action (I do love those bits of humour Paulie provides).
The final fight in Rocky III is the only in ring fight in the series which takes place in real time until Creed. Meanwhile the final scene of the movie is such fun, with Rocky and Apollo playing off each other, which along with the training montage gives off some homoerotic vibes along the way with sweaty, shirtless muscular men, tank tops and men hugging and jumping by the sea.
Also the film's trailer refers to Rocky III as an "American tradition". What's the tradition? Hollywood sequels?
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