Film Review: Rocky Balboa: 3 ½ armpits!

Going into the theater to see Rocky Balboa, I had a feeling that I wasn’t going to be disappointed. There are so many people I know who have expressed their discontent with Stallone making another installment in his boxing saga. Call me crazy but how can you not like Rocky? I think people need to lighten the fuck up. There isn’t much to hold onto in this world so there’s nothing wrong with going to a movie that will choke you up, make you laugh, and inspire you all at the same time. In his Rocky films, Stallone has had a knack for taking the audience on an emotional journey that culminates with a nail biting, feel-good finale. It’s definitely a formula that works, but some people think that there’s no reason to do another one and that’s the exact theme that runs through this Rocky installment. What’s the point of going back if you’ve proven everything? There’s always something to prove and Rocky VI proves it!

If you’re a fan of even one of these films you’ll enjoy Rocky VI because of its realism. In it, a sports show on TV simulates an exhibition match between Rocky and Mason “The Line” Dixon, the current Heavyweight champion. The thoughts are mixed as to whether Rocky would win or Dixon, so A.J Benza (yes! He plays Dixon’s manager) gets the wheels in motion to get these two in the ring for a Las Vegas Pay Per View extravaganza. I was extremely pleased with how they carried this out in the film because it’s a scenario that might play out in real life. All the events leading up to the match were well done except for one. I left the movie feeling that we should have seen a scene where Dixon finally breaks down and commits to the fight with Rocky. Up until the press conference, we only see Dixon get frustrated with his manager and leave his gym and say he’s going back to his old gym. What made him finally decide to fight Rocky when he was completely against it? I guess A.J Benza is quite a persuader, or it was the big payday.

Adrian has passed from cancer and Rocky now owns a restaurant called Adrian’s in South Philly. This isn’t too far fetched when you think about how many former sports stars own restaurants. He’s got Spider Rico hanging out there reading the bible and washing dishes like a wacky old man. Paulie’s even back and he’s got the funniest lines of the film. It wasn’t a huge role, but Rocky’s son is played by Milo Ventigmilia (Hereos). We can surmise that Rocky has a new love interest and for the creative minds, her son might be the next guy that Rocky trains to be a boxer.

It was nice to see that they bring up all the great boxers such as Muhammed Ali, and Rocky Marciano. This brings Rocky into the real world even though he’s a fictional character but it works wonders to revitalize the story for a newer audience. It makes Rocky more of a legend. I cannot say that I was disappointed in the film in any way. It was entertaining, inspiring, and as always it had an awesome match at the end. The audience clapped for the Mike Tyson cameo, so keep an eye out for it.

One of the parallels in the film was priceless. Punchy, Rocky’s new but truly old dog was written into the script to represent Rocky being an old dog who still has life in him. Who woulda thunk it? Symbolism in a Rocky movie? Totally true. Rocky runs with the dog during the training sequences and it works. Earlier in the movie Rocky explains to “Steps” that even though Punchy is an old dog, if he is treated right, eats right, and has some friendship, he’ll have a lot of good years left in him. This is the crux of the movie. Rocky thought it was over after Adrian died but it wasn’t. He kept fighting and realized that he had a lot of life left in him as well. Great movie.