on January 31, 2007
"Rocky Balboa" AKA, "Rocky VI" will not be the greatest inspirational sports movie you see. Its grandfather, the original "Rocky" could argue for that spot. In fact, it might own it. However, no one should compare this to the first Rocky. It is a fun, inspiring movie for 2006, and will be a worthy addition to the sports movie pantheon.
4.5 stars for this one.
"Rocky Balboa" is, itself, the great underdog. Critics see it as another installment in the descending and embarrassing series, or, are calling it the best 'Rocky' sequel. Because of the two extremes Stallone has presented us, from one of the best movies ever to some of the dogs of cinema, expectations are low. With expectations across the board, I saw this and was pleasantly surprised.
Rocky Balboa, circa 2006, is a retired boxer approaching 60. People in town generally give him respect, and space. He is no longer hounded by the media, and no longer chased by his fans. Philadelphia has moved. They even took down his statue.
Now, he runs a midlevel Italian restaurant, and wanders from table to table telling about the good old days. Customers get a meal and a story, and Rocky gets his mortgage paid.
His son begrudges his dad for the big shadow. Imagine being Michael Jordan's kid? Such is what Rocky, Jr. must endure, and he wants to be his man. He pushes his dad away in the process. Rocky's conversation with his son outside the restaurant will be ranked among the great movie speeches, and will be quoted everywhere from church sermons to business books to locker rooms.
Meanwhile, Rocky is looking for meaning. Like Willy Loman, he wants the older years of his life to matter, and like Loman, he keeps looking to the past to find that meaning. Regular visits to Adrian's grave, autographs in his restaurant, and walks through his old neighborhood remind him of who he used to be. Who is he now?
He feeds a needy old opponent of his, helps a single woman and her son with friendship and jobs. He recognizes that life should be lived on his terms, just as he always has. But what are his terms?
When reigning champ Mason Dixon, a mix of rap star arrogance and Mike Tyson dominance, wants to fight, Rocky sees it as similar to the opportunity Apollo Creed gave him decades earlier. He's a fool, naturally. The match "will against skill" is respectful that Rocky's will power is bar none, but he isn't 25.
Like the other Rocky movies, good and bad, this is a family film. No profanity, sex, or the usual Hollywood movie gimmicks to kick it into PG-13 or up rating. It's clean, hard-charging, and packed with the message the other movies carried: "All about: pride, reputation, and not being another bum in the neighborhood."
The movie needs another 10-15 minutes to wrap up some storylines, and some of the lines are cheesy. Dixon's desire to be tested, Spider's reasons for being out of work, and Rocky's friendship to Steps need clearing up. The movie hangs on, but viewers might be left unsatisfied. Rocky makes one monologue too many about continuing to fight and never be beaten, but not so much that it becomes polemic.
I fully recommend "Rocky Balboa."
Yes this is a review of the 6th and final installment in the Rocky saga. Rocky has been called the greatest underdog story of all time. It has been given two thumbs up by Elbert & Roeper; it has been given rave reviews and is currently 3rd in box office holiday season sales. With all of that, why would Imprint review this movie as well? The answer to that question is how the movie is relevant to students.
Rocky Balboa is called a truly inspirational story. It is the story of a man who has had it all, lost most of it and rebuilt what he could. The film was written, directed and starred in by Sylvester Stallone. But this story is older than even that. For Stallone wrote the first Rocky story and held on to it for years. He would not sell it because no one would let him star in it. With his perseverance and determination, he held onto the script until he could play the role of Rocky.
In this film, Rocky is again the underdog. He is 53, retired, and running a restaurant. He is also widowed, and looking for something more in life. He decides to try and fight again - he is thinking something local, for charity. And yet he is given a shot at the champ.
This is a story of overcoming - the story of living your hopes and dreams. It is about believing in yourself and following those dreams. Rocky states: "What is it you said to the kid? The world ain't all sunshine and rainbows. It's a very rough, mean place... and no matter how tough you think you are, it'll always bring you to your knees and keep you there, permanently... if you let it. You or nobody ain't never gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain't about how hard you hit... it's about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward... how much you can take, and keep moving forward. If you know what you're worth, go out and get what you're worth. But you gotta be willing to take the hit." And he lives that in this film.
Yet Rocky is not the only character to face this adversity in this film. Paulie, his brother-in-law, who only has his work and alcohol is laid off from his job. Rocky's son Robert has lost his way, and is trying to not live in his father's shadow. And each of these three men must deal with their grief at the loss of Adrian, who was wife, sister and mother to these three men.
Rocky must also face his aging body. In the beginning of the training sequences he realizes that this will not be the simple battle of determination to get the body in shape. It will be in part mind over matter as he must reconquer and retrain his body to be that of a fighter.
Rocky's opponent Mason "The Line" Dixon (played by actual former heavyweight champion Antonio Tarver) does not take the fight seriously, he has the youthful disregard and disrespect for age and experience that Rocky will bring to the ring in this battle of athletes from different eras.
Rocky Balboa will motivate us to face our own challenges with perseverance and a community for support, and with hope and by prayer. The story will promote discussions about where we find our courage, what we want from life and how we can overcome loss and yet stand strong and remain faithful. It will also help us to classify what we call a victory.
Rocky is not just another boxing movie, or even just a sport movie, and it is definitely not just a squeal. It is a movie that will help you find the courage to follow your dreams and encourage you to pursue hopes.
So when the world knocks you down, you can either lay there or get up. That is what Rocky Balboa teaches us.
(First Published in Imprint 2007-01-05 as 'Final Rocky flick hits home, the heart'.)
As a fan of the Rocky serie for quite some years now,i had been hoping a final Rocky movie that would end this serie much better than Rocky V did.Since then it had been announced,in process,done,went in theaters and is now finally on DVD.No one truly knew what to expect from Stalone,but he delivers the merchandise in an emotionnal way much like when he did with the first Rocky.
Even with the steroid scandal that has been going on with Stalone a few days before the DVD release,Rocky VI is still a very impressive movie.Now Rocky`s life has changed since Rocky V,he`s older,his wife Adrian passed away and he owns a restaurant called "Adrian`s".Rocky has long retired from boxing and now manages his restaurant but he hasn`t found a new wife and he still goes to Adrian`s grave each day.A computerized match between Rocky and the current champ Mason Dixon shows that Rocky would win this battle.Rocky decides to fight one more match.Its another great fight in the Rocky saga in wich he wins once again.Rocky`s son plays a good part in this movie as well as two new noticable characters.A girl Rocky used to walk home when she was a little girl,her and her son.
All the emotion felt during the movie makes you feel great because you never know when its done until it is truly done,wich Rocky and Stalone both show.Another solid addition to the Rocky saga,ends this serie like it should and makes for Rocky V.
on February 7, 2007
This is a movie i was waiting to see since I heard it was being made! It did not disappoint me. But I highly recomend that you see all five of the other Rocky movies before watching this one. I liked all of the rocky movies, but consider the first movie and Rocky Balboa the best two. Rocky Balboa is very moving and has it all! Add this movie to your collection, I know I will as soon as it comes out on dvd next month! P.S. Its kind of sad to see the last Rocky movie in the collection as I grew up watching them. Thank goodness that the dvds are so well made!
When I first heard about a new Rocky movie, like everyone else, I thought it was a bad idea. Make that a terrible idea. Forget his age, didn't anyone remember "Rocky V"? It wasn't popular. The "Rocky" franchise was dead after that film. Even though it wasn't an awful film, it wasn't good either. So, when Stallone made his big announcement of the new one, I greeted it with the same enthusiasm as any Stallone film. I just wasn't interested. After a lot of positive reviews for the new one, "Rocky Balboa," I decided see it.
"Rocky Balboa" works and its a terrific film. Stallone wrote and directed it, and he does a great job. And not just with the fighting scenes. Believe it or not, the whole training and boxing scenes take up a small part of the film. The whole first half is just Rocky being Rocky. He visits Adrian's grave and the places where they used to spend time together. The film makes excellent use of the Philadelphia locations. From the little run down corner bars, the burned out houses, the city is as much a character in the film as Rocky is. There is a scene where Rocky stands on a street corner talking to someone, and the way he uses the locations is just perfect.
I was kind of worried about Milo playing his son. Since he played Jess on "Gilmore Girls," I was worried he would be very Jess like, whining, and all surly and angry. And while his character starts out that way, he grows quite a bit. The relationship between he and his father is handled extremely well. And I especially liked the other relationship between Rocky and little Marie (Geraldine Hughes), a bartender he meets who he had met years before when she was a kid. While not a romance from the start, since he still is not over Adrian, this is one of the strongest parts of the film. Rocky befriends her and her son. Hughes gave a really nice performance in the film. In looking over her filmography, it looks like this is the first major role she has had.
But, then there is Stallone. His last few movies have gone direct to video. I hope this changes that. I never expected to think he had this film in him. At 105 minutes, this is one of the shortest films this year. Yet, for the first time all year, I wish it was half an hour longer! I would have liked to have seen even more training. I think that is one of the strengths of Stallone as a filmmaker. He leaves you wanting more, rather than wearing out his welcome. If you have any desire to see a Rocky movie, this truly is a must see. I'm actually surprised I liked it as much as I did and one of the better films of that year.
hen Stallone announced he would be making the sixth installment in the ROCKY series, a lot of people shook he head. After all, he was 60 years old at the time of filming, well past his prime. And, given how bad ROCKY V was, a lot of people, there was a good possibility this was going to be a pretty bad movie.
Well, like the new Indiana Jones film currently in production (KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL, where the hell did Lucas and Speilburg get that title?), ROCKY BALBOA does not try to hide the main protagonists' age. Balboa is old, and he knows it.
Before we get into the film proper, there are several deleted scenes included on the DVD, as well as an alternate ending in which the outcome of the final fight with Mason Dixon is reversed.
Stallone, Burt Young (Paulie), and the guy who plays Duke are the only actors to be in all six films. Five different actors have portrayed Rocky's son, one for each movie except the firt.
The film opens to Rocky feeding some turtles, a reference to the first film. As the first hour or so unrolls, we find out that Adrian has died, Rocky has opened a restaurant in Philadelphia, Spider Rico from the first movie has become Christian, and Maria, also from the first movie, has struck up a friendship with Rocky. Other than the fight, these are the main storylines that Stallone focuses on for the majority of the film.
Two of the best scenes, not only in this movie but in the series in general, is when Rocky goes before the Boxing Committee to get licensed. The state committee refuses to give Rocky a license, and Rocky launches into a speech about his freedom and the Bill of Rights and how he needs to do what he needs to do. The other has to do with his son, as his son feels like he is living in the shadow of his father. Rocky quickly sets his son straight. Great monologues. And it's great to see Maria from the first film back again. She had a scene in ROCKY V (Rocky's warning that she'd be a whore if she kept up her lifestyle turns out to be true prophecy) but it was cut, leaving Rocky to bring her back for BALBOA.
The film is openly nostalgic, with Rocky revisiting his old haunts, though the old places have changed, and a lot of times for the worst. Unlike ROCKY V, however, this nostalgia is tempered with Rocky's heart, his optimism, and his winning attitude. He's also having some relational issues with his son, but ultimately these are resolved by the end of the film.
BALBOA references all five previous films (though appropriately enough there's only one throw away reference to ROCKY V). There's footage of his fights, and the film heavily references the first ROCKY. Even Burgess Merideth, who died in 1997 and played Mickey, gets a line in one of the retrospective sequences.
Unfortunately, Carl Weathers does not appear in archive footage, as he wanted to be actually written into the movie (probably a dream sequence, something along those lines), and since Stallone wouldn't do that Weathers wouldn't let him use any footage with Apollo Creed, which is sad, given how important a character Apollo is to the Rocky movies.
Though long retired, a computer simulated fight between the current heavyweight Mason "The Line" Dixon sparks interested in the aging Balboa when the computer marks Balboa as the winner. Mason Dixon's promoters is looking for some new blood, because Dixon has been fighting chumps and has lost audience favor to the point where all of his proposed pay-per-view matches are being declined. Dixon's promoters are looking at this as a way to remake Dixon's image, and see this match as a perfect way to do so.
Still, Balboa is a lot older now, so when Duke (yes, that Duke, the Duke in all five previous films) starts training him, a lot of the techniques are out do to his advanced age. As Duke says, "Let's build some hurtin' bombs," and these bombs they certainly build. Despite the age, Balboa trains hard. Stallone even incorporates a revision to the famous scene of him running up and down the Art Museum steps. In the original film Rocky was to run the steps holding a dog, but this did not prove feasible as Stallone found the dog they had too hard to manage. This time around they got the scene to work as originally envisioned. Of course, we have the famous Rocky theme playing in the background as he trains.
Then Rocky and Mason Dixon fight. This fight without a doubt is the best choreographed and filmed of all the Rocky fights. It's also the most realistic. For being 60 years old, Stallone is in remarkable condition. Guess steroids will do that too you.
Mike Tyson also makes a cameo during the fight. Strangely enough, like Reeses Pieces in ET, there's a few shots of product placement during the fight for GoldenPalace.com.
SPOILTER: The fight ends just like the first ROCKY, a split decision with the win going to Mason Dixon. Even though Rocky loses, he doesn't because he manages to go all ten rounds, and gives Dixon a run for his money.
Stallone stuck with the ending in the film to pay homage to the first film, as well as making a point that Rocky still walks away victorious, even if he doesn't "win" parsay. In fact, Rocky's out the door while the announcement is being announced, cause it doesn't matter whether he wins or loses, because he's already won something much bigger.
Another important theme is that Mason Dixon is looking for a real fight, and Mason Dixon wants to respect himself, and so they both come out winners. END SPOLIER.
ROCKY BALBOA is a great way for Stallone to end the series, and probably is the second best film in the entire franchise, behind the original. We get to see Rocky the way we've always wanted too - a winner, a picture of the American Dream fully realised. Sure, he's had some hard knocks, he lost Adrian, but he's still a fighter. Still has that indomitable spirit about him.
The film ends with Rocky placing a flower on Adrian's grave, and with his signature line still fresh after all these years, Stallone says "Yo Adrian, we did it," and then walks away with the film going out of focus.
Then the credits roll. Even the credits give you that warm fuzzy feeling, for it has footage of different, ordinary people all running up the steps of the art museum. Makes you just smile watching it.
And all I can say to that is bravo. Stallone, out of all odds, managed not only to write a good end to the Rocky franchise, but wrote the best film since the original. Given how bad ROCKY V is, this fact's even more miraculous.
Yeah Rocky, you really did do it. Though we won't get to see you again, this is truly a great closure to remember you by. You really are an American Icon.
on September 2, 2007
this is a great way to end the "Rocky" franchise,considering how weak
number 5 was.there is some real depth to this entry,and Stallone put in
a very heartfelt performance.he can really act,given the right
material.Stallone wrote the script,and it is a good script.the movie is
much more realistic than i thought it would be.given the premise(an
aging ex champ in his 50's fighting the current champ,a man 30 years
his junior)the movie would seem absurd,yet it Isn't.you'd have to watch
it to understand.when first hearing they were making another
installment,i scoffed,thinking it would be ridiculous and stupid.for
some reason,though,i decided to watch it,and i am glad i did.this is
easily the best installment since number 2,which i believe was the best
up to this point.I think "Rocky Balboa" is probably as good as 2,and it
really recaptures the magic of the earlier entries.this movie is very
sentimental,in a good way.Stallone makes it inspiring without being
preachy.my vote for "Rocky Balboa" is 5/5
It is easy enough to say that "Rocky Balboa" is a much better ending to the cinematic saga of Sylvester Stallone's most famous creation than "Rocky V," because that 1990 was clearly the bottom of the barrel for the franchise. But "Rocky Balboa," the new "last" Rocky movie is not only a lot better than the last "last" Rocky movie, it does a good job of bringing things full circle and reminding us of why the original 1976 film scored a big upset by winning the Academy Award for Best Picture.
Adrian has died and Rocky's son (Milo Ventimiglia) is tired of living in his the shadow of his famous father, who spends his days at his wife's grave and his nights at his bar. With his old friend Paulie (Burt Young) in tow, Rocky visits all of his haunts from the old days (that is to say, from the first film), and pretty much everything is in ruins. The exception is "Little" Marie (Geraldine Hughes), the kids who rejected his advice in the original film with the comeback "Screw you, creepo." She is grown up now and a single mom, and when she denies she ever said anything that rude he assures her that she did, adding a comment about the longevity of great insults. Rocky takes an interest in Marie and her son, Steps (James Francis Kelly III), hoping to fill the voids in his life but never thinking that they are replacing his wife and son. Then the Fates once again intervene in his life and give Rocky an unlikely match against the unpopular current heavyweight champ, Mason "The Line" Dixon (Antonio Tarver), which means it will be time to cue Bill Conti's famous music, go through another training montage, and have Rocky climb the steps at the Philadelphia Art Museum.
However, all of that happens relatively late in the film. Of course, Stallone wrote and directed the grand finale, and having thought long and hard about his character that is primarily what this film is about. The fight is a necessary part of the Rocky formula and therefore of this story, but most of the memorable scenes and lines from this film come before Rocky ever steps into the ring. One of the casualties of the Rocky franchise was the fantastic lesson of the original film that you can be a winner without winning. That is the sort of thing that Yogi Berra might say (or that Joe Garagiola might say that Yogi said), which is quite apt since Berra's "It ain't over 'till it's over" is the film's tagline. But such ideas are at the heart of the Rocky mythos and Stallone has not simply returned to them, but found a way to rearticulate them in terms of the life of his character at this age and at the center of his shrinking circle of family and friends. One of his best moves is that the big fight is meaningful for his opponent as well.
Stallone is not only working off of the Rocky mythos but also drawing inspiration from the real world of boxing, explicitly updating the original computer match that had Rocky Marciano beating Muhammad Ali. There is also the idea of the ex-champ's restaurant, which harkens back at least to Jack Dempsey's place, where he tells stories and poses for photos (Ali makes people pose for shots where you put your fist against his chin like you are landing a hard one on him). Stallone knows that even those who do not own a George Foreman grill probably know that he was the oldest man to win the heavyweight crown even if they do not remember how old (Foreman was 45 when he won the title, 20 years after losing it to Ali, and would hold it another three years). So in Stallone's screenplay Mason "The Line" Dixon gets the chance to prove the computer wrong and as soon as that robe comes off in the right before the fight it is clear that even at "50," Rocky is totally chiseled and in a lot better shape than Foreman. We are also reminded that Stallone knows he is doing when he choreographs a fight. Included in the deleted scenes is an alternative ending that only reinforces what we already knew: namely that what you see in this movie is the way the saga of Rocky should end (Stallone's commentary track is well worth listening to as he juggles his varying perspectives as writer, director and actor).
For me things get a bit too artsy in the fight, where suddenly shots are looking like a cross between "Raging Bull" and "Pulp Fiction," and every since that slow-motion fall and rise ending to "Rocky II" I start to worry when Stallone starts getting too cute. But whereas previous bouts have been about Rocky finally landing the big blow, this one is definitely all about Rocky being hit. In case anybody does get the point, the key line in the film echoes in Rocky's mind at the pivotal moment: "But it ain't about how hard you hit, it is about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward, how much can you take and keep moving forward." We have had ample reason to be cynical and Stallone and his creation for a couple of decades now, but both the creator and his creation evince a lot of the heart that made us care about them in the first place.
on December 3, 2009
Thank you Mr.Stallone for writing, directing and acting in this beautiful movie. This movie gives me an inspiration and encouragement and an understanding about my own life. I, too, let the world and the people around me to dictate my life. In this movie Rocky helps his son to discover what life is really about. To believe in yourself and accomplish those goals you wish to set out. The movie gave me that purpose back again to my life. To believe in myself and those hopes and dreams I want to aspire to. It is an excellent story of hope and rediscovery of what is important to your life. Mr.Stallone you understand well what God wishes to teach and give us, a great sense of self and determination to accomplish those hopes and dreams we set out for.
on July 10, 2007
I loved Rocky growing up, I watched the 3rd and 4th installments until my parents could kill me as a child. When I grew up, I came to appreciate the 1st and 2nd movie; the 1st being one of my all time favorites. This movie is a clear tribute to the character of the first two films. The way Stalonne approached the film is nothing short of brilliant. He's a man set to re-create his life, fighting against the impulse to go into death without a sigh or a whimper. Yet in the end finds himself once more. This is an amazing movie that that you owe yourself to see if you are a fan of the Rocky movies and saw the dreadful Rocky 5.