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

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
    • I Am Not Your Negro

      Raoul Peck’s documentary brings James Baldwin’s words to an America that needs to listen.
    • Fifty Shades Darker

      America gets the boundary pushing lifestyle porn it deserves
    • Split

      James McAvoy slays in M. Night Shymalan’s Comeback

Blogs

News Blog

Memphis Pets of the Week (Feb. 23-March 1)

Hungry Memphis

Popper Throwdown Set for March 25

Music Blog

Beale Street Music Fest Announces 2017 Lineup

News Blog

Memphians Stage First Public Rebuke of MPD's List

News Blog

TDOT Hosts PG-Rated Highway Safety Message Contest

Hungry Memphis

Beer Bracket Challenge Launches Wednesday

Intermission Impossible

Hamilton in 2019! (Orpheum Also Announces its 2017-18 Season)

ADVERTISEMENT

More by Greg Akers

Readers also liked…

ADVERTISEMENT
© 1996-2017

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