Rocky Balboa
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E dir-scr Sylvester Stallone
with Sylvester Stallone, Burt Young, Antonio Tarver, Geraldine Hughes, Milo Ventimiglia, James Francis Kelly III, Tony Burton, AJ Benza, Pedro Lovell, Henry G Sanders, Angela Boyd, Mike Tyson
release US 20.Dec.06,
UK 19.Jan.07
06/US MGM-Columbia 1h42

Rocky! Rocky! Rocky! Stallone and Tarver

stallone young ventmiglia
See also:
Creed (2015) Creed II (2018)
Rocky Balboa It's been 30 years since he introduced the character, and Stallone carries on his epic series with a film that fits perfectly into the world created by the first five movies: sentimental, formulaic and effective.

His wife Adrian has been dead four years, and Rocky (Stallone) is still struggling, while Rocky Jr (Ventimiglia) is trying to distance himself from Dad's career and fame. Meanwhile, the cocky new heavyweight champ Mason Dixon (Tarver) is being criticised for never taking a chance in his fights. So he challenges Rocky to a comeback exhibition, which Rocky surprisingly accepts. Now Rocky's son, brother-in-law Paulie (Young) and old/new friend Marie (Hughes) have to make sure he doesn't get killed in the process.

A lot has happened in the 16 years since Rocky V, but the film itself feels exactly the same. Stallone slips back into his most iconic role effortlessly, complete with slurred speech, droopy face and shuffling walk. At age 60 he still has "some stuff in the basement" (just wait until he takes off his shirt!), and yet the film is purely retro, matching the gently loping tone and story structure of the previous films without making any concessions to moviegoers who weren't even born when all this started.

In other words, while Stallone's fascinating performance is the strongest thing about the film, his clunky writing and draggy direction keep it from becoming a movie of its own. Characters like Rocky Jr and Marie's son Steps (Kelly) could have bridged this gap, but he spends too little time on them, instead keeping the focus tightly on Rocky himself. He then nostalgically brings back characters from the 1976 original (Marie and Lovell's Spider Rico), not to mention, of course, Paulie and flashbacks of Talia Shire as Adrian.

Fans of the series will enjoy this as a chance to revisit an old friend, although the story's structure is so familiar that it almost feels like a geriatric remake rather than Part 6. Still, there's some nice old-versus-new world stuff going on. And if you can cope with cheesy montages and corny finales--in other words, two hours in Rockyland--you'll love it.

cert 12 themes, boxing violence, some language 4.Dec.06

R E A D E R   R E V I E W S
send your review to Shadows... Rocky Balboa debra coolidge, wisconsin: 5/5 "what a great way to do a movie, to add a star from the original Rocky movie as in Pedro Lovell, and recur his role as Spider Rico, his charactor in essence created the whole thing of Rocky fighting, he was the first fighter and deserves recognition for this." (7.Jun.08)
© 2006 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall