Jamie Kennedy's favorite movie review site
Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 

Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 43.96%
Just Average: 1.1%
Pretty Crappy: 1.1%
Sucks: 1.1%

6 reviews, 55 user ratings

Latest Reviews

Buddy System, The by Jack Sommersby

Amiko by Jay Seaver

Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot, The by Jay Seaver

Laplace's Witch by Jay Seaver

Eighth Grade by Peter Sobczynski

Unfriended: Dark Web by Peter Sobczynski

Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again! by Peter Sobczynski

Boiled Angels: The Trial of Mike Diana by Jay Seaver

Buy Bust by Jay Seaver

Isle of Dogs by Rob Gonsalves

subscribe to this feed

Rocky Balboa
[AllPosters.com] Buy posters from this movie
by EricDSnider

"It makes you eat lightning and crap thunder all over again."
4 stars

You have every reason to scoff at the idea of another "Rocky" movie. But consider how many stale franchises have recently been rejuvenated. Batman, Superman, and James Bond have found new life, so is it not reasonable to believe the same could happen for the Italian Stallion? Isn't the whole ethos of the "Rocky" pictures the idea that the underdog can always come from behind to surprise you?

I'm pleased to report that "Rocky Balboa" does indeed serve as a fitting finale to Sylvester Stallone's 30-year-old series. I don't think it should be a restart, the way "Batman Begins" or "Superman Returns" or "Casino Royale" were for their respective characters. Those films were clearly meant to begin things anew, whereas "Rocky Balboa" is a means of finding closure.

Stallone and Rocky are both 60 now, and have both had some time out of the spotlight to reflect. In "Rocky Balboa," the champ is pleasantly retired, running a neighborhood restaurant called Adrian's, where he dons a sports coat and regales diners with glory-day stories. But he misses Adrian, who died a few years ago, and his relationship with their son, Rocky-but-call-me-Robert (Milo Ventimiglia), is fractured. With Dad known and beloved by everyone in Philadelphia, Junior feels stuck in his shadow.

Rocky visits Adrian's grave regularly and thinks of her often. (We see Talia Shire in snippets of flashbacks from the earlier films.) He does chin-ups in the backyard of his simple Philly one-story. He and Adrian's brother Paulie (Burt Young) are still close. Rocky's life is serene enough, but he feels somehow incomplete. Here again, Rocky's need for closure parallels Stallone's.

So what's that you say? An excuse to get in the ring again?! An ESPN "Then & Now" hypothetical match says a fight between Rocky and the current heavyweight champion, the unpopular and vain Mason "The Line" Dixon (Antonio Tarver), would end with Rocky victorious. Dixon disputes it, of course, and a for-charity exhibition match between the two is arranged.

While it sounds like nothing more than another bad "Rocky" sequel, it's worth noting that this installment isn't called "Rocky VI." The absence of a Roman numeral is meant to indicate that this is something else, and it truly is. For the first time in years, Rocky isn't fighting again just because Stallone wanted to make another sequel. He's fighting because it's what Rocky, the character, needs to do.

The film, directed and written by Stallone (he's written them all and directed all but I and V), returns to the themes of the original 1976 Oscar-winner. Once again it is the story of a slightly downtrodden white man seeking to lift himself out of the doldrums by fighting an arrogant black champion, and once again Rocky is wooing, albeit much more tentatively this time, a reticent woman. She is Marie (Geraldine Hughes) this time, a been-around-the-block bartender with a teenage son named Steps (James Francis Kelly III). Rocky is good with the kid, and Marie and Rocky both warm up to the idea of being in each other's lives.

In fact, this entry goes back to the roots of the character so extensively that "Rocky" and "Rocky Balboa" stand alone as a complete, well-balanced pair of movies. You could skip the intervening sequels and not lose any of the heart of the story. (If you haven't seen the original in a while, you might be surprised how unlike the sequels it is.) The series misses Mickey, Adrian, and Apollo Creed, of course, but the fact of their deaths gives this final chapter more weight. Rocky is aware of his own mortality.

Stallone writes such vivid characters, people whose language is alive with the sounds of the streets. They make corny jokes, they mangle sentences; Rocky, in particular, can say things that look dumb on paper but have a certain charming wisdom to them when they come out of his unassuming, slightly slack-jawed mouth. He comes off here as a genuinely lovable, sometimes pitiable character, the sort of simple, decent man whom it would be heartless not to like.

The film's only real weakness is that is feels drawn out in some places, rushed in others. Rocky's rift with his son should be more fleshed out, for example, and Steps barely serves a function in the story at all. Rocky's training sequence feels a little perfunctory, too, although I have to say Bill Conti's legendary musical score still has a rousing quality no matter how many times you hear it. And the climactic boxing match is giddily suspenseful, the way it ought to be.

"Rocky V" was such a wreck that most fans hate it, and I can't remember a single thing about it. (I'm sure I haven't seen it since 1990, when it was released.) Here, then, is a replacement film, a more tender and emotional finale that stirs the soul almost as well as the first one did. Stallone knows it, too. When Rocky says, "Ain't nothin' over till it's over," Mason Dixon sneers, "What's that from, the '80s?" Rocky's reply: "I think it's probably the '70s." Mason Dixon doesn't get the reference, but I do.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=15306&reviewer=247
originally posted: 12/20/06 03:49:13
[printer] printer-friendly format  

User Comments

6/10/09 R.W. Welch Stallone takes the hits and keeps on moving forward. Good script. 4 stars
7/29/08 the dork knight Great conclusion to the series 5 stars
6/16/08 Johnnyfaye I glad Stallone for trying to fix the series. I would have liked a better fight 4 stars
3/26/08 Tim Endearing and nostalgic, Stallone recaptures the spirit of the original 4 stars
1/03/08 mr.mike as good as it possibly could have been , even more so for fans 4 stars
9/19/07 Johnnyfaye This movie made me all warm and fuzzy inside. I'm glad Rocky gets a happy ending 5 stars
9/14/07 Xtos MAde up for number 5 4 stars
8/08/07 EZ $$ wasn't thinking it was gonna be this great 5 stars
6/06/07 Indrid Cold Solid, but mostly just looks good because 3-5 were bad. 4 stars
5/21/07 kitfo Art Imitates Life. One fight remains; kick Schwartzenegger's opportunistic Republican ass 4 stars
5/15/07 AJ Muller Finishes the series with the greatest since the first; awesome and uplifting. Way to go. 5 stars
4/28/07 David Pollastrini Didn't Weird Al have a song about this movie? 3 stars
3/24/07 Joe Much better than I thought it would be. Sly gives the champ the fond farewell he deserves. 4 stars
3/16/07 Sreehari We love ya rock 5 stars
3/13/07 DonnaH A wonderful bookend to the first Rocky. Beautiful movie. 5 stars
3/07/07 Luke Yo Sly, you did it!! 4 stars
2/23/07 Alice Yo Rocky ! Great movie ! 5 stars
2/20/07 Nick Stalone as Writer, Director AND ACTOR THUMBS up! Emotionally touching Movie. 5 stars
2/17/07 Double M Great ending for the series. The greatest underdog ever. Yo, Rocky, we'll miss you.... 5 stars
2/12/07 Rambo Great! Not a pulsating fight, but a absorbing story 4 stars
2/02/07 Kern Brilliantly and inspirationly written! Thanks so much, Sly! Fantastic stuff! 5 stars
2/02/07 Sam A beautiful farewell to a man who thought us never to give up. Rocky, I celebrate you 5 stars
1/28/07 MP Bartley Elegaic, stirring and honest. Stallone is award worthy (no, really). 4 stars
1/21/07 Anil A great film! I've never been so tense during a film! Best since Rocky II 5 stars
1/15/07 LaManna I sincerely wish he'd keep makin em! Incredible work Stallone 5 stars
1/13/07 Jeff I think it may be the best Rocky since the first one!!! 5 stars
1/11/07 Michaelb1478 He went out like he came in, best of the series since Rocky I 5 stars
1/10/07 Calin Great ending for one of the simplest yet most inspiring movies. Honest and touching 5 stars
1/08/07 Mike G A little corny at times, but hey, that's Rocky. Fantastic closure for me. 5 stars
1/07/07 Paul Walker What a send off awesome ! thank you Rocky Balboa. 5 stars
1/05/07 Anthony Feor One of the GREATEST films ever made 5 stars
1/04/07 CJD Emotionally powerful stuff. Sincere and cathartic. Nostalgic yet relevant. 5 stars
1/03/07 SHAWN Excellent way to end it! I'm sorry to Rocky go, but Stallone took him out on a high note! 5 stars
1/02/07 John Really good! 5 stars
1/02/07 Brian Mckay A Fond farewell for Rocky fans - best Rocky movie since the first one, and Stallone's best. 4 stars
1/02/07 iamfelix Excellent - People you care about, which is what makes a good movie. 5 stars
12/30/06 ahnold 1st & 2nd movies excellent. 3rd good. Down from there. This only beats V (unfortunately) 2 stars
12/28/06 JEET The best! 5 stars
12/28/06 Jordan Awesome movie!! I loved it. Kinda sad it's the last one though! 5 stars
12/26/06 Angel An awesome inspiring film, a must see for any Rocky fan, will not dissapoint 5 stars
12/26/06 JackJ The way it should have ended! Rocky! Rocky! 5 stars
12/26/06 Delores Lamkins I was so hoping it would be good, it surpassed my expectations 5 stars
12/26/06 JGS V is too often maligned. New one is a nice epilogue. Nice job Sly! 4 stars
12/25/06 Stephanie Great Film. Great Message. Loved it! 5 stars
12/24/06 Todd If Rocky wants a fight, he should put his head up his ass and fight for air. Fucking sucks! 1 stars
12/24/06 Johnsy The 16 year wait to see Sly do what he does best was worth it. 5 stars
12/23/06 Chris H Fine film....great way to end the series. Forget Rocky V 5 stars
12/23/06 RockyD The best! Really over the top! 5 stars
12/22/06 Seth I loved it! Great ending to the series. I'm just sad it's over. 5 stars
12/22/06 Jefferson It was GREAT!!! just like ROCKY, sorry it's over. 5 stars
12/21/06 Casamoro Best since Rocky II, flawed but memorable ening ot the series 4 stars
12/21/06 Jason This is without a doubt THE movie to see in 2006. 5 stars
12/20/06 Ole Man Bourbon An entertaining parade of speeches. I felt like I was watching an oration contest at times 4 stars
12/20/06 Adam Very, very, very fulfilling. Turn up the music and punch SFX in the fight, Sly! 5 stars
Note: Duplicate, 'planted,' or other obviously improper comments
will be deleted at our discretion. So don't bother posting 'em. Thanks!
Your Name:
Your Comments:
Your Location: (state/province/country)
Your Rating:

Discuss this movie in our forum

  20-Dec-2006 (PG)
  DVD: 20-Mar-2007



[trailer] Trailer

Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 
Privacy Policy | | HBS Inc. |   
All data and site design copyright 1997-2017, HBS Entertainment, Inc.
Search for
reviews features movie title writer/director/cast