Rocky Balboa 

Damn you, Rocky. For 16 years, I've thought I was over you. Rocky V was worse than bad: It wasn't fun. And so I broke up with you and just tried to remember the good times. And now, after all these years, you come back in my life and knock me out again with your broad-stroke inspirations and winning punch-drunk smile.

As the movie begins, Rocky's beloved Adrian is dead (of "woman cancer"), leaving a still-grieving husband and son (Milo Ventimiglia) who can't quite figure each other out. Rocky (Sylvester Stallone) is now mugging through old pugilism stories to diners in his restaurant, Adrian's. The movie's filled with in-jokes and references to the early films in the series, revisiting the pet store and ice rink, among other places. It's even good for a few Spider Rico jokes. Stallone writes and directs; he's better at the former.

The movie follows the real world in that the boxing heavyweight division is a joke. Current champ Mason Dixon (real-life former light-heavyweight champ Antonio Tarver) is powerful but unpopular. Dixon needs a challenge. Rocky needs an opportunity. Dixon's promoters bill their bout as an exhibition match, basically a sparring session rather than a real fight. A portion of the proceeds goes to charity. It's not much more than a photo op. Sound familiar? (If Willie Herenton could have cast himself in the Rocky mold, I'm sure he would've.)

Stallone mumbles his way through dialogue like he's taken a few too many to the head -- it's been too long since I've seen him on screen to know if this is acting or natural. Whereas the fights in the first three Rocky films were spectacles of choreography, the big fight in Balboa relies too much on catchy editing.

Nevertheless, Rocky Balboa: You had me at "yo."

Now playing, multiple locations


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

    • The Girl On The Train

      The film adaptation of the bestselling thriller is more admirable than lovable.
    • The Magnificent Seven

      Denzel Washington rides to the rescue of this by-the-numbers remake.
    • Deepwater Horizon

      Kurt Russell heads off disaster in this tale of deadly corporate greed


Tiger Blue

#24 Navy 42, Memphis 28

Intermission Impossible

Broadway Actor Charles Holt Brings Memphis Upstanders to Life

Music Blog

Rest in Peace Clay Hardee

Politics Beat Blog

Fincher Paid to Defeat Flinn in 8th Race, Publication Says

Intermission Impossible

Looking for a Halloween Costume? Theatre Memphis is Having a Yard Sale.

Politics Beat Blog

C-SPAN's Coming!

Politics Beat Blog

Guns to Blast and the Stars and Bars to Fly Again in Bartlett


More by Greg Akers

Readers also liked…

© 1996-2016

Contemporary Media
460 Tennessee Street, 2nd Floor | Memphis, TN 38103
Visit our other sites: Memphis Magazine | Memphis Parent | Inside Memphis Business
Powered by Foundation