Sylvester Stallone is bringing back the greatest underdog story of all time; that’s right, Rocky Balboa is going toe to toe one last time.
This is an extremely brave move by Stallone after the atrocity that was Rocky 5. To be fair, Sly has not defended that film and he has said that he hopes Rocky Balboa will finish this franchise the way he really wanted to. When the movie was announced a lot of people gave the picture no chance at all; however I had high hopes Sly could pull it off.
The story finds Rocky (Stallone) living in the past more than the present. His beloved Adrian has passed away and he is struggling to fully come to terms with the loss. Rocky also has a son, Robert (Milo Ventimiglia), but their relationship is flagging as Robert struggles to live with his father’s famed history. After a computer generated fight suggests Rocky would win a fight against current heavyweight champion of the world Mason Dixon (real-life boxer Antonio Tarver), an exhibition match is set up between the two. Rocky agrees to the match after re-discovering the fighting spirit that twice drove him to the heavyweight championship.
Thankfully Sly hasn’t let me down. Rocky Balboa isn’t just the best of the Rocky sequels; it is, dare I say, almost as brilliant as the original. Sly has simply gone back-to-basics and created a story that is familiar to the first Rocky picture. Unlike the other four sequels, the true underdog scenario has been fully restored; you can’t help but root for this guy. And when that famed theme music kicks in you cant help but smile.
Stallone is once again handling writing and directing duties as well as starring. And you can see and feel his love for this character shine through. Sly made a masterstroke by killing off Adrian — it gives the film an extra emotional arc and once again makes Rocky a completely lovable and believable underdog.