Rocky Balboa (2006)

DVD Cover (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer)
Genres: Boxing, Drama, Sports Drama
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Sylvester Stallone Sylvester Stallone
Sylvester Stallone Sylvester Stallone
Burt Young Burt Young
Antonio Tarver Antonio Tarver
Geraldine Hughes Geraldine Hughes
Milo Ventimiglia Milo Ventimiglia
Movie Connections:
> Rocky (1976)
> Rocky II (1979)
> Rocky III (1982)
> Rocky IV (1985)
> Rocky V (1990)
> Rocky Balboa (2006)
> Rocky XXX: A Parody Thriller (2011)
> Creed (2015)
> Creed II (2018)

6.6 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by bluemeanie
Added: December 28, 2006
There were so many reasons why this film should have failed. The "Rocky" series has become somewhat of a joke over the years, with Stallone's classic character stooping to such lows as a fight with Dolph Lungren and Tommy Morrison. Maybe if they would have shut off the franchise with the action-packed fourth film and skipped the ridiculous fifth, then maybe the jokes wouldn't be so mainstream and so stinging. So, when Stallone announced he was writing and directing a sixth entry into the franchise, most were laughing along with everyone else. Stallone's career has been little more than non-existent over the last few years, with most of his recent releases heading straight to video, except for his "Spy Kids" performance. The word 'has-been' comes to mind when describing the Sylvester Stallone of late. "Rocky Balboa" is supposed to be his comeback, the vehicle to thrust him back into the spotlight, the motion picture that re-solidifies Sylvester Stallone as an iconic motion picture actor, and Rocky Balboa as one of the greatest cinematic characters ever. The film actually did so much more. "Rocky Balboa" is a pure cinematic masterpiece.

This is not the film you think it's going to be. Rocky is a sad, sad man here. His beloved wife Adrian has passed on, from 'woman cancer', as Rocky puts it as only he can. Rocky now owns a restaurant in his old neighborhood, and still takes annual tours, on the anniversary of Adrian's death, of the locations they went on their first date. Rocky's son (Milo Ventimiglia) works in a corporate setting downtown and doesn't like living in the shadow of his famous pop. The first half of the film builds up Rocky as a character again - not as an event. Paulie (Burt Young) is still working at the meat plant, and Rocky even bumps into Little Marie (Geraldine Hughes), the little girl he walked home in the first film. They strike up an immediate friendship. Halfway through the film, we see an ESPN virtual fight between Rocky and the current champ, Mason 'The Line' Dixon (Antonio Tarver). The virtual simulation predicts that Rocky would have won the fight, lighting a fire under the Italian Stallion, as well as the camp of the unpopular heavyweight champ. So, Rocky gets his boxing license back and they schedule the fight, which the Dixon people bill as an exhibition more than anything else. We all know that the film ends in the ring, but the best parts of the film come before the ring even enters into the picture. But, I will admit that I was standing in the aisle at the end of the film with the rest of the audience, doing what you're supposed to do at "Rocky" films.

Firing on all cylinders, Sylvester Stallone is a knockout here. As writer, he focuses so much attention on Rocky Balboa, the businessman, the father, and the grieving widower. He really takes us into Rocky's middle-aged strife and we get to see one of the toughest guys on the planet going through the toughest times in his life. As director, Stallone goes what John G. Avildsen did with the first film, and he makes the final fight a minor part of the storyline. I was far more concerned with Paulie getting fired from the plant than with Rocky and Dixon in the ring. These are human characters with human stories. As performer, this is Stallone's best performance in years. He brings such emotion and humanity to Rocky that we haven't seen before, maybe because the story of Rocky Balboa in this film mirrors the story of Sylvester Stallone - they're both just fighting for acceptance and doing what they love to do. Stallone has a couple of very tender and very emotional scenes that might even warrant him Academy Award consideration. Everyone's talking about Will Smith and Forest Whitaker, both worthy nominees, but Sylvester Stallone should be given far more credit for doing something most thought impossible - adding a great sixth film to the franchise.

There's not much negative I can say about this film. I have been a "Rocky" fan for years and years, and I even enjoyed his Mr. T days and the trip to Russia. I was upset when Mickey and Apollo bit the dust, I was worried when he fought Tommy Morrison. He's just a character you find yourself always rooting for, because he's so simple and honest and real, though his antics are larger than life. I found "Rocky Balboa" to be the perfect example of a fine performer and filmmaker proving to the world that he still has what it takes to make it in the business. I found "Rocky Balboa" to have all the heart and soul of the other films, and maybe more. I found "Rocky Balboa" to be the best entry into the franchise since the original, and it was one of the most thoroughly entertaining cinematic experiences I have had all year long. It's one of the year's best, and though many will probably disagree with that statement, you have to look at the film on a whole. Stallone was able to do what was essentially the impossible. He did it. He did it well. "Rocky Balboa" will have you screaming and cheering in the aisles, and it will make you love Rocky all over again. I know I sure do.

Nirrad #1: Nirrad - added 11/16/2007, 05:11 PM
This is my 2nd favorite of the series. Almost as good as the first, but not quite.
Shakes #2: Shakes - added 02/18/2009, 05:11 PM
what a wasteless piece of jankem. rocky!rocky! come on. what a dipshit.

nostalgia never tasted this bad.
Chad #3: Chad - added 06/13/2009, 06:27 AM
Perfect way to end the series, but I have to admit that I liked the alternate ending just a little more. Still, it was a fantastic movie all around. 10/10.
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