My Movie Review: Rocky Balboa

Today I treated myself to a pre-Christmas present of the newest (and last) installment of the very popular "Rocky" franchise. I'm a huge "Rocky" fan and I've been eagerly awaiting the opening of this film for some time. Most people I know have just rolled their eyes at a thought of yet another 'Rocky" movie (#6 if you're counting). To me the last 5 break down this way: I & II are epics, III & IV are action movies, and V is a drama. This newest combines all three genres into one great movie.

It doesn't necessarily matter if you missed the first five movies because writer-director Stallone gives us a recap, but it certainly helps knowing the history as this whole movie revolves around his past.

Rocky gives us flashbacks of previous films, showing us important places he shared with Adrian (Talia Shire, his wife that died).

This time Rocky's reason for wanting to get back in the ring is to remove the pain in his soul from losing Adrian and lost dreams. After he sees a computer simulation showing that in his prime he would have beaten current champ - Mason Dixon (real-life light heavyweight champion Antonio Tarver) he decides to give it one last go.

The fight is billed as "Skill vs. Will." And once again we have the "underdog story". With utter determination, Rocky is back wailing on sides of beef and puffing up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art to the famous song "Gonna Fly Now."

This film has many good one-liners and pep talks. Rocky must go against much of the "common wisdom" of the day, and battle presumptions. Even his own son, Milo Ventimiglia, has conflicts and questions with Rocky and his "comeback".

To me this film brought back memories of the first two, which were my favorites. The original Rocky wit and lovableness is back that made the first two films so successful. We all know going in that this movie will be very far fetched but the story is so compelling that you forget for an hour and a half that this isn't real.

Sure there are some chessy parts and a few of the actors are less then steller, but overall the film exceeded my expectations and I give it a solid 3 1/2 stars out of 4!


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