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.
Rocky meets up with the troubled young lady who he had walked home in the first movie. She is now a middle-aged single mom tending bar. Rocky takes a liking to her teenaged son right away and seems to like her too but Adrian's memories keep getting in the way.
Of course what is a Rocky film without a bout? In this one Antonio Tarver puts in an excellent performance as Mason Dixon, a champion with nobody worthy to fight. Since there are no valid opponents for him, he cannot get a pay-per-view big money fight going. His promoter and manager get intrigued by a computerized fight between Dixon and Rocky and feel that if they could talk both fighters into getting into the ring for real, they can have the big money fight they were looking for.
The movie does not make any pretensions like some of the other Rocky films. Rocky's trainer tells Rocky that the only thing that he can do is train himself so that any punch he lands will put a hurting on Dixon and may teach him some humility.
The fight in itself is not bad and in the end, Dixon may become a more "polished" fighter with a better reputation because of it.
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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