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Sylvester Stallone completes his Rocky Epic with a stirring conclusion. I saw a special sneak preview in Detroit at a Kronk Boxing Gym benefit. Although the first 45 minutes kind of dragged, and at times the dialog made me cringe, its at least as worthy of Rocky II or the original Rocky. A lot of flashbacks, but it definitely wraps up the series a lot better than Rocky V did. It won't win best picture, or any great acting awards, but the cinematography was better than I've seen in a lot of the previous 5. As far as the big question in the blogs, does Rocky die in this one, you'll have to wait till Christmas and see for yourself. The music was great, the final scenes were great, and Paulie was great! It was also interesting to reintroduce the characters of Little Marie and Spider Rico from the first movie.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I don't normally go out of my way to send out reviews of movies...but I have to say if you haven't seen Rocky Balboa yet...you MUST! First of all, it is rated PG...and it actually was....I mean, I didn't have to worry about hiding my children's eyes because of a gratuitous...whatever...ya know? Okay---so, It was THE BEST film I've seen in a long time...since...geez...maybe since...I don't know...maybe since Braveheart! If Stallone is ignored or doesn't win an Oscar for this movie, I'll never watch, vote for or speak of the awards again. The film harkened back to the original with a great script and character development...I can't say enough about the writing. Do you remember how the first one made you feel? Like you were in the life of the characters in Philadelphia? The simple wisdoms and UNscripted feeling you got...that which was lost in the later films...just great language. Stallone's acting was fantastic...yes...that's right...Stallone can act! In fact, Stallone wasn't there...just Rocky. This character has lived in Stallone so long, there wasn't anything or way in which Sly didn't know exactly how Rocky would feel or move or think...total character. Burt Young who plays "Paulie" was great as well, showing how all the crap he's dealt out over the years has haunted the character in very deep ways...along with quirky character habits and some surprises that are presented in such a tertiary way that you walk away from the film and only later giggle about them because you didn't realize it at first...like a relative in your own family...like, "eh--that's just Pualie..." only realizing later, "Wait, I'm not related to Paulie...no one is!" lol. Old characters are integrated into this film so smoothly and without pomp as to crate a fluidity between the first and last film that seems effortless for the audience. For example, does anyone remember the references in the first film to "Spider Rico" or who said, "Screw you, Creepo!" ??? These little things are tugged out of our memory like a childhood pal and brought to the fore of this film in way in which the familiarity brings a smile to your face. The clothes are great. Just pay attention to Rocky's suit coat. This is not an action movie...so those of you that want to see the Stallone blowing stuff up, should rent Rambo III (A great social commentary in its own way). But for those of you who like STORY and CHARACTER, you will love this film. And here is how broad the films appeal was, I went to see it with my 4 year old, Meadhbh, and she loved it. We've both been humming the theme song since we saw it. It took me all night, thinking about the script to realize the deep social commentary that Stallone has made with this film. There is much on how each one of us can affect changes that reach our far beyond our own lives, how we've lost that which made us great as a nation when we would connect with each other by making the most of what we can in our own little part of the world. Like, buying from local merchants and grocers, restaurateurs and retailers, instead of Mega stores, employing people from character rather than qualification (showing them the ropes and mentoring, instead of always hiring ready made employees), the inter-dependence we have on foreign workers and the GOOD balance that can create... the need for a man (in the case of the film) or a woman to work for self-esteem, pride for what you can do with your own hand, not taking the easy way or accepting handouts because you feel like the world owes you something...how having love is so, so precious and ...and how we should express and acknowledge that fact every day to those whom we love and who love us...how we cannot live by mere existence, that we MUST be challenged and if we are not, we must make challenges for ourselves that may seem unattainable...I'm not talking about conflict, rather, the defiance of complacency...There is an overall theme about how we should, and can, conduct ourselves in the world, everyday, in every way that is so gently presented as to not offend or feel forced. Rather it is given as a gift, a reminder of our better selves...even for those that are living that better path, it is a confirmation and reassurance that those actions, though never easy, are righteous. The movie is so good to look at and conversations so great to listen to, you almost forget that the movie has to end with the big fight. But then the music comes in...but then that trumpet comes in and when THE music kicks in, the whole audience was yelling, "Yeah! Go Rock! Rocky! Rocky! Rocky!" When was the last time you heard the audience engaged with a film at all? I sometimes feel like I'm in a theatre with the walking dead, where nothing goes on between the screen and the seats, no one leaves the theatre talking about the film. People left this movie smiling, crying, punching the air, doing the Rocky, victory at the top of the stairs dance...it was awesome!
Admit it. The first time you heard this movie was being made, you
either laughed or cringed. On the surface, the concept of a sixth ROCKY
film is one of the most ludicrous in recent memory. A brain-damaged
boxer who hasn't fought in two decades comes out of retirement in his
50s? To take on the Heavyweight champ? Come on.
But just as The Italian Stallion has one fight left in him, it turns out that writer-director-star Sylvestor Stallone still has the talent to produce top-quality entertainment. We pick up with Rocky in contemporary times, now running a quaint little restaurant called Adrian's, named after his beloved late wife. His relationship with uptight son Robert is awkward, and his life is filled with reflections on years gone by. After a computer-simulated boxing match suggests a young Rocky would defeat current boxing champ Mason "The Line" Dixon, the 50-something decides to climb into the ring again. He plans to headline small-time local fights for thrills, but Dixon's managers soon propose an exhibition charity match of "Will Vs Skill" between the two men. And so the stage is set for the final (and most unlikely) match of Rock's career.
What's most amazing about ROCKY BALBOA is that again Stallone makes us believers. Just as we believed that at wash-up from the streets of Philly could take the boxing crown from Apollo Creed all those years ago, we believe he can stand toe-to-toe with Dixon. Stallone doesn't gloss over the unlikeliness of the storyline. The boxing commission initially rejects his application, for seemingly obvious reasons. Reporters chide the fight as a sort of circus-like event that hurts boxing. Dixon's champion status is watered down by the fact he has been spoon-fed weak opponents his whole career, didn't seem to take the Balboa match seriously, and injures his hand early in the fight. It all gives the film a very real feel, as unlikely as it may sound.
ROCKY BALBOA is also a very fresh take on a character we've grown to love. The film has a very gritty, contemporary look. Rocky's old neighborhood isn't quite the same place where men used to sing in perfect harmony around a barrel fire. Now it's filled with decrepit buildings and obnoxious young people who remind you of the guests who go on Jerry Springer and swear at the audience. The Rocky here is a man out of his time who can hardly be blamed for his desire to seek out past glories. At the same time, ROCKY BALBOA has high nostalgia value. Whether you like the film or not, it's a real treat to see Rocky, still with his pork pie hat, back when we were sure we'd never see him again. Paulie's back, too, still drunk most of the time, and former Creed trainer Duke once again gets the most out of his man in the ring.
ROCKY BALBOA is first class entertainment. Like the original entry, it's not really a boxing movie, but a film about the human condition and following our dreams. It's fantastic.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Just 2 hours ago, I exited an advance screening for ROCKY BALBOA in downtown Chicago. I had a few of questions going into the theater: (1) Why wasn't this called ROCKY VI? (2) Will this stop the downward trend in quality of the ROCKY series? (3) Why is the movie being specifically marketed to faith groups? And (4) Will Sly Stallone be there in person? First, if anyone saw ROCKY V, you know that it was one of the worst movies of the 1990's. That alone is good enough reason why not to call it ROCKY VI. Also, ROCKY BALBOA is a really good cap on the series. There is a lot of quick flashback moments to scenes in previous ROCKY'S, but it's not overdone either. This definitely stopped the downward trend, and was more of a character piece on the thoughts and decisions of a retired, widowed boxer. It is a slow moving dialogue movie, with only the last 20 minutes containing the training and big boxing match, so don't expect an action-filled adventure. It is a closer resemblance to the original ROCKY. There were some acting flaws with some minor roles, and the hokeyest part was how the crowd was one-sided pro-Rocky. Las Vegas is a gambling town, so there are always cheering for both boxers. Even with the cheesy moments, it was a very inspirational movie, and overall clean with a PG rating. Anyone who grew up with ROCKY or enjoyed the previous movies will find this a very good trip down memory lane. FYI... Even though there were a few faith-filled lines in the movie, I think the faith-driven marketing is more financially driven than anything else. Also, Sly was not at the theater, but he was doing a press conference later that day at a Chicago hotel (but I couldn't make it).
Wow, this was not what I was expecting!
The story was a lot slower than any Rocky film since the first one in the mid '70s, but I'm not complaining. When it was all over, I thought this was probably the best-made Rocky film of them all. I never thought I would describe a Rocky movie as "classy," but this one deserves that adjective. It may be the least entertaining, as far as a lot of action goes, but it is the most classy.
I say this mainly for the wonderful, sweet tone to this story: a story of aging boxer who is long past his glory and is still mourning the loss of his wife. (Apparently "Adrian" died some time after the last Rocky film.) His wife's death is haunting him, which makes this a very sad film in the first 45 minutes. However, interspersed in Rocky's reflective period is the still the same upbeat, look-at-the-positive side-of-people attitude.
Rocky now acts as host of his Philadelphia restaurant and he regales the customers with stories of his past ring successes and seems to enjoy doing it. He still has his old friend "Paulie" (Burt Young) dropping by daily. Rocky's now-grown-up son seems to be sullen and resentful of trying to fill Rocky's hometown-hero shoes but dad is ever-encouraging. It's obvious Rock still loves people. With that attitude, it's impossible to dislike the man.
One of the turning points of the film is when the old fighter gives his son a what's-what speech about life. The veteran pugilist may not be Phi Beta Kappa but he comes up with some very profound statements. His son soon "sees the light" about his dad.
For those who might be leery about watching yet another Rocky movie filled with over-the- top villains and way overdone ring action, rest easy: you won't see that here. Balboa's training scenes last only a few minutes and the fight doesn't begin until the last 15-20 minutes of the movie. Preceding that are melodramatic moments with Rocky's friends, family, and new female friend and her son.....all handled with dignity and class.
The cinematography is just beautiful in parts and if you're a student of photography, you'll enjoy viewing this.
Sad, nostalgic, yet inspiring and optimistic, I can't recall ever being so impressed with a "Rocky" film. Highly recommended.
This new ROCKY is a truly fitting finale to the saga of Rocky Balboa.
Always likable, usually stirring and entertaining (of course, I'm not
acknowledging there was a Rocky V), this version has replaced macho
with heart. In a glorious, pitch perfect performance of a revered Champ
in the twilight of a now lonely, unfulfilled life, Stallone is actually
amazing. I didn't think he still had this kind of heartfelt performance
in him. He has written, directed and performed this work with the
insight of a person who has endured all the ups and downs that a career
The setting is familiar, the characters have been thinned down to only the dependably irritating Paulie, the haunting memory of his beloved Adrian, his withdrawn and overshadowed son and a struggling acquaintance from his past. All the performances are fine, but this is about Stallone in full on Rocky mode. He exudes the melancholy of a life that has lost meaning, while not unpleasant, just not connected. His revelation that he wants to "like fight" doesn't seem weird or unnatural.
Some of the film's conventions to get him back in the ring, with the current undefeated champ no less, are achieved quickly and stretch our believability, but once that "Rocky Theme" (and as I sit here, I'm getting a goose bump or two) blares out of the sound system, you are getting "READY TO RUMBLE!!!!" The fight sequences, which have always been cartoonishly brutal, mock the limits of human endurance and insanely exciting, deliver once again. But its the insight that Stallone brings to this script, his heartfelt "speeches" to the Licensing board, his son and of course, Paulie, that are the real knockouts in the film.
I am so glad this turned out to be the fitting farewell that an icon like Rocky and Sylvester both deserve.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain't all
sunshine and rainbows. It is a very mean and nasty place and it will
beat you to your knees and keep you permanently there if you let it.
You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain't how hard
you hit; it's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.
How much you can take. That's how winning is done. Now, if you know
what you're worth, then go out and get what you're worth. But you gotta
be willing to take the hit, and not point fingers saying you ain't
where you are because of him, or her, or anybody. Cowards do that and
that ain't you. You're better than that!" - Rocky Balboa.
For a guy with a single digit IQ and a chronic speech impediment, Rocky sure does speak a lot of sense. Part of the appeal of the first film was Rocky's "never give up" attitude. We loved watching an underdog succeed. The ring became a metaphor for life, and The Rock a metaphor for the unmovable human spirit. He weathered blow after blow, but kept on standing.
Rocky Balboa, the last film in the series, is likewise a tale of triumph against the odds. It's a small story, akin to a gritty 1950's B movie, but it's filled with pathos, some nice character interactions and a couple memorable speeches. Though the final boxing match is pretty unmemorable and badly shot, the entire film has a sense of maturity which I found neat.
What's great is that Stallone doesn't pander to audiences with unearned sentiment. He honestly believes in his story. He honestly believes in the inspirational element. As such, it's a fitting coda to the series, and a worthy re-translation of the first film.
Of course Rocky 1 remains the best in the series. It's a low key Cinderella story filled with lots of iconic moments and a cute romance. Yes, it's an absolute rip off of Robert Wise's "Somebody up there likes me", but it's appealing (and John G. Avildsen's direction was in some ways innovative) and clicks with the audience. Especially young males.
Rocky 2 is likewise very good, but suffers from a pointless story. It's essentially the same film on a bigger budget.
From here on, the series would go down hill. Rocky 3 sees a complacent Rocky challenged by Clubber Lang, a hungry fighter. Thematically the film logically progresses from the first two. The Rock has weathered the beatings and risen to the top. But once there, he grows complacent. When the hits resume, he's not ready. He's lost his edge and his cracks are exploited by Lang. It's an entertaining film, but with Rocky 3 the series gradually begins to lose its realism.
Rocky 4 degenerates further, taking things firmly into popcorn territory. It's basically a 90 minute music video in which The Rock has to fight Russians. All realism is gone and it's now all a silly cartoon. Still, I like the film in a guilty sort of way. The soundtrack, all those cheesy muscle shots, the montages...it's dumb fun.
Rocky 5, however, is totally worthless. It's an embarrassment and the whole subplot with Rocky's son is pathetic. The film is a waste of time and it's incompetence is largely why Sly decided to revisit and salvage the series.
Luckily with Rocky Balboa he does just that.
Rocky 1- 9/10
Rocky 2- 7.5/10
Rocky 3- 7.5/10
Rocky 4- 7/10
Rocky 5- 6/10
Rocky Balboa- 8/10
The Rocky series has taken a lot of critical flak, but it's not as bad as people make it out to be. The first and last films in the series play like low-key B movies from the 1950's (ie "Somebody Up There Likes Me", also about a boxer called Rocky), and have a nice sense of realism. The dialogue is witty and well written and Sly, despite his goofiness, is quite endearing. One can imagine a Robert Rossen or a young Robert Wise directing these 2 films in black and white.
I hear talk of Leonardo DiCaprio possibly receiving an Oscar for his performance in Blood Diamond?! I apologize in advance for saying this, but come on...DiCaprio trying to put on the accent is not convincing whatsoever! What is convincing then, might you ask? Rocky Balboa, that's what! Sylvester is the one that should be nominated for an Oscar folks. Sylvester put his heart and soul into this film, and it shows. One of the best movies that I have ever seen, in all honesty. I can't think of one single bad thing to say about this film. I hope it does very well at the box office, because it deservedly should. Great script, great plot, great acting, wonderful surroundings/great camera shots & color of the city of Philly, the list could go on for days. $6? I would've paid twice that to see this film. I'm 27 years old, but no one is ever too old for Rocky Balboa. Wonderful closure to one of the best movie franchises in movie history, thank you Sylvester for everything that you've put into Rocky over the years. Hats off to you my friend
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Rocky Balboa First off this film is very good. It is definitely not a
classic like the first Rocky but it is just as good as the second film.
It is very slow paced and is more dialogue driven then the other Rocky
Spoilers The film begins showing Mason Dixon beating X-Cell for a title defense. He is getting booed as people do not think he is a real champion. The camera then goes to Rocky getting out of bed in the early morning. He feeds his turtles and visits Adrian's Grave. He sits and stares at the grave with Paulie by his side.
Rocky now drives a large white van. He owns a restaurant named Adrians. He spends his nights telling old fight stories of him and Apollo Creed and telling stories of Mickey in the gym. His regular patron is Spider Rico, played once again by Pedro Lovell. Lovell plays the part wonderfully and actually has a fairly large supporting role.
In a very emotional scene Rocky and Paulie visit Adrian's grave on her anniversary and also visit the remains of the ice skating rink. He also goes to the pet shop and looks at Mickey's Gym, saying "How You Doing Mick". He has flashbacks of Adrian going into his apartment on there first date. This scene plays with a great score by Conti and is so touching.
Following the anniversary Rocky goes to the Lucky Seven Tavern which is operated by Little Marie. Geraldine Hughes and Stallone have excellent chemistry and she was an excellent choice for the role. Rocky is hassled by some punks outside the tavern and he "takes care of business". Hughes is fantastic in these scenes. James Francis Kelly "Steps" is shortly after introduced. Although the character meant well it probably would have been better top use his screen time to something else. The character was mediocre as was the actor who played him. "One scene when Rocky picked out his new dog with him kind of dragged on a bit" There are many emotional scenes in the film with Rocky and Paulie. One scene is absolutely heart breaking as Rocky completely breaks down. He says about Adrians death "I never thought it would be this hard". Stallone and Young could win Oscars for this film. Young is absolutely brilliant and Stallone is excellent. They have never been closer. One of Young's most memorable scenes is when he is fired from his job at the meat plant. He looks so depressed and plays it excellently.
Some great Stallone scenes include when he is attempting to get back his boxing license and those numerous scenes with his Son. Milo Ventilimia does an OK job in the role but in my opinion appeared to be intimated by Stallone. He was a weak character choice and didn't appear to be to convincing.
Following getting his license Rocky must convince his son that it is OK for him to fight. He then goes to Vegas for a press conference with Dixon and his trainer. "By the way Harry Sanders is terrific as Dixons trainer" We then go into the training montage which got a clapping applause by the crowd. It was short but very sweet. On the eve of the fight Marie visits Rocky in his hotel room to give him Adrians picture. It was very touching and extremely emotional.
Following this the much anticipated fight takes place. It is shorter then the others and yes Rocky does come out to "High Hopes". The fight was very real but also very different then the other films.
The fight hit its pinnacle in the last round when you think Rocky might have been killed, he gets on one knee and then it happens, he sees Adrian and Mickey tells him to 'get up" in a flashback. It is terrific and is a great piece to this training montage.
Don't wanna give to much else away. But this film is superb. It is not as good as the original but who really thought it would be. It is very similar to Rocky II and I would rank it as ties right now as the second best entry of the series. Those expecting Rocky III or Rocky IV would be extremely disappointed. The acting is very good by all involved. Sanders, Tarver and Burton are very good, Young, Stallone and Hughes are excellent and Milo and Kelly are mediocre.
Overall 3 ½ out of 4 stars!!
In Philadelphia, the retired former champion Rocky Balboa (Sylvester
Stallone) misses his beloved deceased wife Adrian; tries to get closer
to his son Robert (Milo Ventimiglia) and has a routine life helping
people, running his restaurant telling his past glories to clients and
taking pictures with his fans. When the television shows a virtual
fight between Rocky and the unappreciated undefeated heavyweight
titleholder Mason Dixon (Antonio Tarver) wined by Rocky, he feels the
need to return to the ring to practice boxing in little fights as a
sport. However, Mason's managers see the chance to promote their
non-charismatic champion in a fight in Las Vagas in a charity event and
invite Rocky for "the fight of the century". And fighters fight
I was reluctant to see "Rocky Balboa", but fortunately the high IMDb Rating convinced me to see this great movie, if not the best of the "Rocky" franchise. The plot is very well constructed, but the most important are the messages in the lines of the simple Rocky. His speech to his son is amazing and his attitudes are great examples to be followed. I have recently seen the last "Rambo" and together with "Rocky Balboa" I dare to write that Sylvester Stallone proves that "the last thing to age in some body is their heart". Congratulations to him! My vote is seven.
Title (Brazil): "Rocky Balboa"
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