Having penned the original Oscar-winning Rocky, and turned out top-class performances in films like Copland and Nighthawks, Stallone is a writer and actor of unlikely impact, never more so than in his seminal Rocky guise.
Though Rocky Balboa is too short to be its progenitor’s true equal – and to be honest some scenes feel a little truncated - Stallone pulls most of it off handsomely with some inspired character set pieces.
Balboa’s endearing quality is that, for him, life’s complexities can be reduced to simple ideals. He believes in loyalty, family, and honesty. As amazing as his redemption may be, he firmly believes that the business of life itself, though difficult, isn’t very complicated. At one point, he protests a decision by the boxing commission to refuse him a licence: “Yo, don't I got some rights?” he jabs, to which the commissioner replies: “What rights do you think you're referring to?” Balboa: “Rights, like in that official piece of paper they wrote down the street there?” Commissioner: “That's the Bill of Rights.”
Some stylistic trademarks of the series remain, though toned down somewhat. It just wouldn’t be a Rocky movie without the training montage, would it? The dialogue is witty, endearing and touching in places. And the big fight scene is notably less vicious than those in Rocky II and IV. Those fights were on par with Reservoir Dogs in respect of their brutality, so that’s probably a good thing.
And yet, as close as Rocky Balboa gets to emulating the emotional depth and originality of Rocky (1976), the truth is that those fans who remember the series for “Clubber Lang” (Mr. T) or “Ivan Drago” (Dolph Lundgren) won’t really be looking forward to a sixth Rocky movie.
Just as well. This film is not for them. The Rocky franchise is now truly complete, and our hero’s profound redemption is made manifest by this competent and loving final bow. Anyone who identifies with the cinematic lore of Rocky Balboa will appreciate the film deeply; but if your eyes are dry by the time the movie ends, you’ve never truly understood the enigma that is The Italian Stallion.
- Anton Marshall
Rocky Balboa is a real treat for fans of the series - a well executed finale, drenched in nostalgic sauce.
Just another typical Tom Cruise action film, with nothing to get too excited about. The film is loaded with action-film stereotypes and cheesy one-liners. Read More »
Add your review
Hands of Stone is a bland, unlikable portrayal of a real-life boxer that struggles to hit the highs of Rocky IV let alone Raging Bull or the original Rocky. Mark this one down as “for boxing fanatics only”. Read More »
Add your review
South AfricaCity Press
Johannesburg CBDResourcing Solutions
HousesR 3 740 000
HousesR 4 800 000
HousesR 6 900 000