How did we get to this? Oh yes, I remember the five other films now. They reckon you can watch just the first Rocky and then this one, but that doesn’t do it justice. You need to remember that he was heavyweight champion of the world – twice so Rocky II and III are needed and then how he lost all his money (Rocky V) so I suppose you could miss out IV but it’s a cracker so I wouldn’t.
In fact this film has a bit in common with the fourth instalment as they’re both blatantly feel-good movies. Although Rocky Balboa doesn’t start off like that. Rocky is busy running his restaurant named after his dead wife, Adrian, and while not happy, isn’t unhappy retelling boxing stories over and over. What I like is that he’s still a nice guy, he lets a boxer he once beat eat for free in the restaurant, will still stand up for a girl’s honour and treat’s his brother-in-law Paulie with respect despite his negativism and bitterness. Rocky is a good guy.
The only problem is his son really – they’ve gone separate ways and Rocky Jr is even embarrassed by his father. I really liked the scenes between Rocky and his son, while they’re trying to talk in the lobby of Jr’s work, Rocky is clearly embarrassed by people recognising him, and then later on outside Adrian’s, Rocky has the speech of his life, only just eclipsing his speech to the boxing commission which get them to change their mind. It’s a cracker and puts the actual boxing in the shadow.
The story was basically secondary to me, I just enjoyed Rocky being Rocky. When he meets Marie and her son Steps he just wants to help them out. There’s no agenda there, he just wants to be nice to them (despite her calling him a “creepo” 30 years ago). Although I wasn’t complaining once the training montage started. It’s probably the best lead-in in the entire series: “Let’s start building some hurting bombs.”
The story is basically Rocky making his comeback against the current heavyweight champion. But it’s more than that. He’s trying to get over his wife’s death and he uses the fire inside him to drive him forward. The boxing itself is more realistic than previously but still a bit of nonsense. Watching Rocky’s journey through the rounds towards the conclusion is great and the ending a piece of understated brilliance. I loved it, I really did. The acting’s great, the music as good as always and you leave the cinema feeling good – what can be better than that?
Later this week I’ll have a Rocky treat for you (I say â€˜treat’, it’s more like a funny video), but for now enjoy the trailer: