Rocky Balboa – The Early Years: Part V

I wanted to hate this movie, I remember it being awful, but honestly it’s not that bad. It’s got some good themes in it, it’s just that some of them are executed poorly. The story continues in the dressing room after Rocky has beaten Ivan Drago. He’s not doing well and after returning to America and being challenged to a fight with Union Cane by his Don King-alike promoter George Washington Duke, Rocky is told he has brain damage and can’t fight anymore.

As usual though, he wants to and when it turns out his accountant has lost his millions he moves back into his old neighbourhood and is depressed. Then Tommy ‘Machine’ Gunn (not sure the ‘Machine’ is necessary) turns up looking for Rocky to train him and, to cut the film down to a sentence, he does but then he defects to George Washington Duke, wins the heavyweight title, turns up at a bar to taunt Rocky and they end up having a street brawl, the end.

It’s actually an okay film, there are some good themes in there – the fact that Rocky neglects his own son and tries to live his life through Tommy, that Adrian and his son (bizarrely about eight years older than the previously film and named after a seasoning) are struggling to cope with their new lives, and that Tommy is seduced by the uncaring glitz of George Washington Duke. It’s just the ending really that annoys me. Not just the fight which is a major misjudgement, but Tommy’s sudden change in character from a likeable guy to a Rocky-hating spoilt brat is not believable, and the stuff with Sage at school doesn’t interest me. I’d like to have seen more of Adrian really and the scene where they’re going through their old stuff – the hat and the glasses – is a highlight.

So, not as bad as I thought and at least the one-armed push-ups make a (brief) comeback.

Now it’s time to see the sixth film which opens on Friday in the UK.

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