After Rocky V earned negative reviews from critics, Sylvester Stallone went on to star in movies. Some were decent hits such as “Demolition Man,” “Cliffhanger,” “Cop Land” & “Antz.” During The 90’s & half of The 2000’s, his career started to implode starring in many disappointing or just plain stupid films like “Oscar,” “Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot,” “Assassins,” “Judge Dredd,” “Daylight” & “Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over.”
After many fans were disappointed about Rocky V, Sly decided to pen a script for the sixth installment of the series as a cohesive finale that the fans wanted to see Rocky’s last hurrah. Thus, “Rocky Balboa” was conceived.
Rocky Balboa was released in 2006. (around the same time as James Bond’s comeback in Casino Royale) It received positive reviews from critics and movie goers alike. Plus, it managed to make enough money at the box office.
For the first time, Sly’s career made a comeback as he went on to work on decent movies beginning with “Rambo IV” & “The Expendables” series. Indicating he’s not ready to retire. Sly remains as one of Hollywood’s notable A-List stars.
Now that Creed II is earning early positive reviews, I’ve decided to look back at every Rocky film before I see the latest installment as a way of spreading word of mouth.
Today’s review doesn’t contain any huge SPOILERS. Feel free to read this non-spoiler article.
Victory & Defeat Aspects
Victory: Sylvester Stallone reprises his role as the title character. He did an outstanding job his iconic performance yet again. In addition to headlining the series since the beginning, he also wrote and directed the sixth installment.
Besides Sly, Burt Young reprises his role as Paulie.
The song “Take You Back” is played during the opening credits, indicating we’re back in familiar territory.
The iconic Rocky theme is used during a training montage.
Character Development involving Rocky. At first, he thinks reliving his glory days will help him deal a personal loss, until he realizes that his age (in an important plot element) indicating he has to move on. He’s kinda similar to Manny from Ice Age with a similar tragic backstory.
Remember that part from the original movie when Rocky took a girl home in order to prevent her from entering the wrong crowd? She comes back in a prominent role.
Do you also remember Spider Rico? Rocky’s first opponent in the opening scene of the original? He comes back as an employee at an Italian restaurant where Rocky works.
Rocky visiting locations from the previous films will make you feel depressed as a longtime fan.
The sixth installment reflects Sly’s fading career. At one point, someone called Rocky a “has-been,” which parallels the critics and movie goer’s attitude towards Sly’s movies.
Milo Ventimiglia (Heroes, This Is Us) replaces Sage Stallone’s role as Robert “Rocky Jr “Balboa. This time he properly serves a role similar to Adrian as the voice of reason.
Make sure you pause your TV at the 1:19:21 to view Rocky’s all time boxing record.
My favorite line is “It ain’t about how hard you hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.” I’m giving it Bonus Points for making me feel motivating to never give up.
Rocky delivers an eloquent speech about pushing forward in life. If you’re feeling down in the dumps, watch his speech about never ever giving up your dreams and make them become a reality. Sly deserves an Extra Point for his dramatic moment. DOGONE IT! I wish he earned a Best Actor nomination like he did in the original & his future Best Supporting Actor nomination for Creed!
Rocky’s restaurant contains memorabilia from previous entries.
Real life boxer, Antonio Tarver did a good job as Mason Dixon. Unlike Tommy Gunn, Dixon is a calm yet discipline boxer who wants the public to respect him as a boxer, not a disposable garbage bag.
Without giving too much away, Adrian’s absence has been addressed.
Rocky mentioned a pirate chest. Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest came out the same year as Rocky Balboa.
Someone mentioned The Pursuit Of Happiness. Coincidentally, Will Smith & his son Jaden, starred in The Pursuit Of Happyness which came out in 2006 & earned Will an Oscar nomination.
Mike Tyson makes a cameo appearance.
Ring announcer, Michael Buffer makes a cameo appearance to commence Rocky & Dixon’s fight. To put the cherry on top, Michael’s uses his legendary catchphrase, “LET’S GET READY TO RUMBLE!”
As the end credits roll, friends & families recreate Rocky running to The Philadelphia Arts Museum. Meaning that Rocky Balboa’s legacy continues to live on for many generations.
Defeat: Shaky Cam can be jarring at times.
The Final Verdict: A-
Rocky Balboa serves as a proper series finale for Rocky’s character arc. Until Rocky passes the torch to Apollo Creed’s son Adonis, in the seventh installment of the franchise. If you’re excited to see Creed II, I highly recommend Rocky 1-6. Except Rocky V, it’s the weakest entry of the series.