Plot Mourning the death of his wife and running a restaurant that trades on his boxing glory days, Rocky Balboa (Stallone) ekes out a quiet existence. But when a TV show uses computer gizmology to match the Italian Stallion against the current champ, Balboa once again finds the will to fight.
Rocky Balboa, The Sixth entry in Sylvester Stallone’s ring cycle, pulls off the unique cinematic feat of being totally terrible and completely brilliant at the same time. Thirty years after he first appeared (and 16 since Rocky V), Rocky Balboa, both the character and the film, remains simple, sentimental and cocksure. There have been no Casino Royale-style re-inventions here but, in some senses, this is equally smart. Completely understanding the level on which the movie needs to work, Rocky Balboa is bold, broad and magnificently big-hearted. Stallone slyly ties the fictional story — a man trying to reclaim former glories the only way he knows how — with the audience goodwill toward the meta-story — a filmmaker trying to reclaim former glories the only way he knows how — and recaptures enough of the original’s gritty urban feel, big emotional moments and triumph-of-the-underdog shenanigans to offset the clunkiness of the execution.
By any usual critical yardsticks, this is trite stuff. Much of the movie sees Rocky giving big, overwritten speeches full of hackneyed homilies to the underwritten characters who circumnavigate his life. Scenes that see Rocky mooning over his late wife or trying to reconnect with his estranged son are written and staged with the subtlety and nuance of a fence post. Even worse, Stallone — to mix our sporting metaphors — drops the ball on Rocky’s motivation for returning to the ring. There’s some guff about “the monster building up inside”, but the actual reasoning is fuzzy and mystifying.
Yet what saves Rocky Balboa is a commodity rare in movies these days: affection. Stallone clearly loves this character and knows that we feel the same way. As a director, he is not afraid to commit to the material, however clichéd things get, confident that we’ll warm to Rocky’s plight. Sensibly, after the excesses of Rockys III-V, he’s also dialled it all back, approximating the realistic milieu of the first flick. As an actor he has an innate dignity and hangdog charm that can make the corniest dialogue palatable, and lends the portrait of a man trying to come to terms with his changing world a tangible emotional weight.
Bizarrely, it resembles Back To The Future Part II (without the twisty-turny time-travel stuff) in that it almost overlays the sequel on the original. From Bill Conti’s fanfare over the opening credits, to Rocky’s pet turtles, to his tentative relationship with a grown-up “little Marie”, to Rocky and Paulie’s tour of the key locations from the first flick, Stallone neatly evinces a nexus of recognition, warmth and nostalgia. If you’ve been raised on Rocky, the mere sight of a training montage, all punching cold slabs of meat and running up steps, will leave you giddy with excitement. And the final showdown against Mason Dixon (Antonio Tarver), with its full-blooded, hyper-real, toe-to-toe pugilism, is up there with the Apollo Creed/Clubber Lang fight nights of old. You’ll spot the outcome a mile off, but as always with Rocky, what matters is the journey.
Verdict If you hear the Rocky theme and think ‘118 118’, you might wonder what all the fuss is about. For the rest of us, this is a reminder of why we fell in love with the character in the first place.
Certainly a better and more fitting send-off for the character than Rocky V. Really charming film that - as Rocky is doing with his restaurant business - obviously trades on your love for the previous films, but it doesn't matter. What matters is that this film works. ... More
“It ain’t over, till it’s over!” and now it finally is! The Rocky saga is now complete! And it its capped off by a film that has so much heart that you feel every beat as it plays out in front of you!
Yes this movie is cheesy, yes it has a tad improbable story line, but really, who cares?! This is Rocky, Rocky at his heart tugging best!! What Sylvester Stallone has managed to achieve with this movie is finish the journey of his creation, Rocky ‘the Italian Stall... More
This film is fantastic return to form for one of the most iconic movie characters of all time. Whilst Rocky V took a bold step in removing Balboa from the ring and sending him back to his roots, it felt like a punch in the gut for fans Rocky's insprirational ragst to riches story. This movie gives Rocky the send off we all wished for, and with the exeption of two overlong speeches (The one in front of the boxing panel and the one to Rocky Jr) the film supplies an approropriate level of sentiment... More
That's the order I rate Rocky. Rocky is one of the greatest series of movies along with Godfather and Star Wars. I'd rate this 3.75 if possible.. ... More
Sylvester Stallone gives his best performace since "Copland" and reminds us all how good a "Rocky" movie can be. A film with real emotion and real heart, The perfect ending for the character. I hope he does'nt make another one and spoil this great film.
Good Job :) ... More
Apart from the first its the best in the series, Sly really tried make this character go out with one hell of a punch, and as far as I'm concerned he suceeded, plus because its called Rocky Balboa instead of Rock VI, you can pretend the fifth one never happend! ... More
Rocky 5 was rubbish. Not a dignified exit for a character who first hit the big time in the late 70's. A pale, and poorly executed, imitation of one of the greatest sports movies of all time.
So Stallone's decision to reinvent his hero as a washed out, over the hill has-been, wasn't a bad move. The resulting film wears it's big heart on it's sleeve and, against the odds, pulls off a fitting finale for old Rocky.
The script is sentimental and occasionally a little fuzzy but, once the training s... More
Rocky Balboa - what a character. This film delivers the perfect round off to a hit and miss franchise. Nostalgic tear-jerking moments throughout with a brilliant score and an awesome performance from all those involved. It would have been a shame to leave it on the low that was Rocky V and i am so glad Rocky came back for one last hurrah. Role on John Rambo. ... More
This is bassically rocky 2 through 4 with a bit of 5 in it (that sucked too right?) The typical 'everyones againts him' characters who have their heart warmed and are convinced by rocky's charasmatic charm is the most far fectched thing in the film forget the 60 year old boxer. Also is it just me or is apollo's trainer a bit of a bitch? He's probably not seen rocky since the drago fight, probably wasn't even invited to adrians funeral, now all of a sudden he appears at the drop of a hat to help ... More
I saw the movie for the first time last night. I can't be bothered to go into a whole lot of detail about the movie but all I've really got to say is that I really enjoyed it. Very emotional. Very enjoyable. ... More
With Rocky Balboa, I have to admit I was preparing myself for a terrible film, only made to give Sylvester Stallone one last chance to clutter the screen with his huge (and now wrinkling) muscles and terrible mumbling of lines.
The ridiculous plot only added to my fears, Rocky now retired, hears of a computer simulation that pits him against the reigning undefeated heavyweight champion Mason 'The Line' Dixon. Rocky decides to ditch his Zimmer frame and make the fight a reality in an exhibitio... More
I dont think ive ever been so confused in my life. Noted, I shouldnt have gone to see the film considering I hadnt seen any of the other 5 or whatever but still I believe it really could have been edited down to a half hour. I liked the fight though. ... More
OOps, I'd meant to quote you Dale, not just put a big chunk of what you'd said and leave it there... I can see why you'd think it might not appeal to cinema-goers who hadn't seen the first 5 but I'd only seen about half an hour of the first one and I still loved it. I think although much of it seems to hinge on past glories the films heart really came out in the scenes with his son, showing what it's like to live with a legacy that impinges on others and what effect the past had on Ro... More
o anybody new to Rocky, the film must stink. However, this is not a film for them, it's for those who have grow up with Rocky (as acknowledged in the closing credits).
No, it isn't Raging Bull. But credibility went out of the window a long time ago. If you have a great fondness for the other films, then this nostalgia fest is well worthwhile, and it nicely bookends the series.
this really is a poor film. I think its ridiculous that Rocky wants to get back into boxing beacuse of a simulated fight. The ending fight with Dixon is rather dissapointing. However what i did like about it was in the fight with Dixon it goes black and white but the blood is still red so you can see the cuts on their faces. Spoiler!!
Rocky looses his final fight that was good. Its also really let down by bad acting and a poor script. ... More