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Rocky Balboa (2006)

Action & Adventure and Drama movie directed by Sylvester Stallone

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A fitting end to one of the great movie franchises

  • Apr 30, 2008
  • by
Sylvester Stallone has always been underrated by many, but his characterizations of Rocky Balboa and John Rambo will outlive him and the rest of us. Sure, there were failures in the series, but the originals were classic.

With "Rocky Balboa", Stallone acknowledges saying goodbye to the character he created thirty years earlier. And it is a fine, heart-tugging send off. I doubt, though, that it will work for anyone who hasn't seen the original "Rocky", because the main movie figures so prominently.

Rocky is long past his prime. His beloved Adrian died of "woman's cancer" a few years ago and Rocky pines for her every day. Stallone's script is particularly touching in this regard as Rocky visits the cemetery where he has a folding chair stashed, so he can sit and visit graveside with Adrian. Pauly, Adrian's obnoxious brother, is still around, obnoxiously played by Burt Young who seems born to the role.

Rocky's life is empty. Yes, he has what appears to be a successful restaurant, named "Adrian's", where like many sports celebrities before him, he regales patrons with stories of his glory days. His son, unconvincingly portrayed by someone whose name I've forgotten, is embarassed by his father's fame and is trying to just make his own way in the business world. Rocky visits the old neighborhood and is dismayed to see that things are changing, decaying really, getting old just like the Rock.

Rocky finds a shy romantic interest in the grown-up girl who sassed him in the first "Rocky".

But the real story involves Mason "The Line" Dixon, the reigning heavyweight champion who has an image problem: people think that he has acheived his title not because of his boxing skills, but because his slick promoters line up weak opponents. A local sports show has an ongoing debate over whether Rocky in his prime could have beaten Mason Dixon. Yes, they say and they have a computerized animation to prove it.

This sparks the idea of an "exhibition" match between the young Dixon and the aging Rocky. The spectacle of 60 year old Rocky Balboa training to fight the youthful Dixon becomes the meat of the movie and is, frankly, moving, recalling the original "Rocky". (Seeing the againg Stallone's over-muscled physique, however, borders on the grotesque.)

The culmination is the fight between the two - and it is beautifully choreographed.

In the end, "Rocky Balboa" echos all the human qualities that made the original "Rocky" so appealing. The battle of the underdog doesn't lose its appeal, especially in Stallone's very talented hands.


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More Rocky Balboa (2006) reviews
review by . September 06, 2008
Maybe it's because I was a little kid when the first Rocky came out but they do it for me for some reason. Most of them. Rocky 5 was awful. As I sit here I can't remember if I ever saw the entire movie. I think I always bailed out of it before it was over. I never thought that one was worthy of being the last Rocky movie so it was nice that this one came out. Whether it's because I feel like I know the core characters from all those times seeing the movies as a kid or not, they still have a way …
review by . May 21, 2007
When I first heard about a new Rocky movie, like everyone else, I thought it was a bad idea. Make that a terrible idea. Forget his age, didn't anyone remember "Rocky V"? It wasn't popular. The "Rocky" franchise was dead after that film. Even though it wasn't an awful film, it wasn't good either. So, when Stallone made his big announcement of the new one, I greeted it with the same enthusiasm as any Stallone film. I just wasn't interested. After a lot of positive reviews for the new one, "Rocky Balboa," …
review by . April 30, 2007
I was very reluctant to see this movie having suffered through the last two sequels. I must say that I was surprised by this film which was actually quite good. The film managed to recapture the feel of the original film with a now "old" Rocky, mourning his wife constantly while trying to mend fences with his son. He is the owner of a restaurant and lets his old sparring partner Spider Rico eat there for free until Spider decides he needs to earn his keep and voluntarily begins working in the restaurant.   …
review by . April 29, 2007
posted in Movie Hype
While it's completely unrealistic that a 60-something ex-champ could fight competitively with a 20-something current champ, Rocky Balboa turns out to be quite a good movie. Rocky is back in his old hard scrabble neighborhood dealing with the facts of aging, the death of his beloved wife, and his estrangement from his son. When a computer generated match between Rocky and current champ Mason Dixon touts that Rocky was the better boxer, Dixon's management stages an exhibition match between the two …
review by . March 24, 2007
Who would have expected Sylvester Stallone to be able to squeeze yet another movie out of his internationally successful Rocky series? Well, friends, the guy may have aged with the rest of us but Stallone's ability to go to the heart of the character he has made an icon still is strong. As a result ROCKY BALBOA, though overly sentimental at times (which is in keeping with the Rocky we have all grown to know) plays as a show of strength not only in the boxing ring, but also in the viability of the …
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Jerry Saperstein ()
Ranked #178
I am an e-discovery strategist, computer forensics specialist and testifying expert witness - and an avid reader.      Aside from technology books, I love thrillers, suspense, mystery, … more
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About this movie


The sixth installment of the Rocky series picks up the story of the Italian Stallion 16 years after the morose Rocky V. And sure, at his advanced age, Sylvester Stallone now looks like one of those sides of beef his character used to pound on. No matter. Somehow you buy the premise after all these years, even if it takes forever for Rocky Balboa to stop wallowing in self-pity (Adrian is dead, his old haunts are demolished) and get down to the business of drinking raw eggs and running up staircases. The business at hand is an unlikely exhibition fight with champion Mason Dixon (Antonio Tarver), which the near-sexagenarian Mr. Balboa has no business accepting. Of course, just as sure as the horns of Bill Conti's theme music are even now trumpeting through your head, the ol' Rock might have a punch or two left in him. Stallone wrote and directed, and there isn't much to say except that the movie steps in its pre-determined paces with a canny sense of what has come before (it's practically an homage to all the previous Rocky pictures, complete with fleeting flashbacks). Burt Young is around again, and Geraldine Hughes makes an appealing, rather chaste female companion for Rocky. Stallone's Rocky has gotten suspiciously articulate over the years, but he still knows how to slouch. If Stallone never forgets that, he can probably keep the franchise rolling. --Robert Horton

Stills from Rocky Balboa (click for larger image)


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Director: Sylvester Stallone
Genre: Action, Drama, Adventure
Screen Writer: Sylvester Stallone
DVD Release Date: March 20, 2007
Runtime: 102 minutes
Studio: Sony Pictures
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