We had to suffer through the disappointment of the awful Rocky V capping off the otherwise solid Rocky franchise for sixteen years until Sylvester Stallone, now sixty, decided to give closure to his two most famous characters, Rambo and Rocky. In spite of the implausibility of an aging Rocky stepping back into the rig to fight a champion less than half hi age, the ilm works. It serves as a fantastic final bookend to the series.
I have to admit Rocky Balboa resonates with me on an empathetic level, so your mileage may vary. Rocky is old, showing the signs of heading down that not so log walk into the twilight. His life has shrunk with Adrian now passed on and the rest of his family and friends struggling with their own lives. Rocky lives quiet life, dwelling on the much better past wile realizing that is as good as it is going to get. The last few years of my life have been quite similar, so I get a little twinge watching Rocky make the best of it than same way I do. Rocky is awfully pitiful, alternating between sitting by Adrian’s grave and regaling restaurant patrons with stories of his glory days.
Rocky gets a chance to pull himself out of his funk and reconcile with his son Robert I the way we should have, but did not get to see in the previous film, when an ESPN computer simulation shows Rocky I his prime defeating the current champ, mason ’The Line” Dixon. Both fighters have something to prove. Rocky wants to know he is not a has been. Dixon feels illegitimate because he has not faced any serious opponents. The idea now I the public’s mind that Rocky was better than him urns.
So the two wind up on a collision course in the ring. It is a typical Rocky fight. He loses the first round, starts pummeling Dixon later, and so on. The fight ends with Dixon winning a split decision against the slow, arthritic Rocky, which oes note he is not much of a boxer if that is the best he can do. But like the better films in the series, the best parts of the film are the personal ones outside the rig. Rocky reconciles with his son believably while reconnecting with minor characters from various past installment. He does not care about the match decision beause he knows he still has family and riends around him.
The best way I can think of to tell you how good Rocky Balboa is to assure you the cruel idea of a young boxer beating up an old widower never crosses your mind. The film has heart. It is the personal story you will be dwelling on. I would put it up there close to the first and third as the best films in the series.
Rating: **** (out of 5)