Rocky V (1990)

Rocky V (1990)

Director: John G Avildsen
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Talia Shire, Burt Young

Brain-damaged and destitute, Rocky takes his family back to Philadelphia, where he takes a young boxer under his wing.

I wasn't expecting much from the much maligned final entry in the Rocky franchise (until the series came back 16 years later), but I'll be honest with you, I didn't think it was half as bad as people make it out to be. Don't get me wrong. I agree that it's the weakest entry in the series and starts to break down in the second act, but there are interesting things going on with the characters and the story that I liked. It may not've been that effective, but I could appreciate what they were trying to do by bringing things back to the beginning. As far as performances go, Stallone does a good job of showing a much more vulnerable Rocky and Talia Shire really brings the character of Adrian forward. Sage Stallone and Tommy Morrison are decent as Rocky Jr. and Tommy Gunn respectively (and I liked their character arcs), but the real show-stealer for me was Richard Gant as the flamboyant Don King-inspired promoter George Washington Duke. Even though Stallone has disowned this one and pretty well declared canon discontinuity on it, there's some decent stuff here amidst the flaws and that may be enough for you. I'd say watch it if you've made it this far, but I wouldn't blame you for skipping on to the sixth movie.