Rocky Balboa (2006)

Rocky Balboa (2006)

Director: Sylvester Stallone
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Antonio Tarver, Milo Ventimiglia

Stuck in a rut following the death of Adrian, Rocky decides to try taking up fighting again and is offered an exhibition match against the current world heavyweight champion.

I'd heard good things about this and the fourth Rambo movie when they came out, which was intriguing. You wouldn't think these old franchises being revived so many years later would be any good, but these two films plus The Expendables kicked off a revival of Sylvester Stallone's career. In many ways, this is a return to the original with Rocky being down on his luck and looking to change his fortunes in an exhibition match. The fifth movie was also a bit of a return to the first, but that one's been more or less retconned. It was an interesting choice to kill off Adrian. Add that to the continued estrangement with Rocky's son isolates him in a way that makes the plot possible. Mason Dixon has some shades of Tommy Gunn, but he's not all that well-developed of a character. It's funny that Rocky is as awkward as ever and there are some shades of his courtship with Adrian in his interactions of the now grown up Little Marie. The previous movies did a good job of typifying the decades they were made in and it's true here as well. It's pretty neat that they were able to piggyback on an actual HBO PPV event so a lot of the crowd reactions in the exhibition match are entirely genuine. While the character of Rocky Balboa will be making at least one more appearance on the silver screen, his character arc is mostly done and this is a pretty good send-off. Give it a watch.

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