Sunday, January 14, 2007

My Review: Rocky Balboa

Caution: Spoilers follow...

Rocky Balboa is not a great movie, or even a really good movie, but it is not a terrible movie, or even a really bad movie, so it is not hard to draw the parallels between the character Sylvester Stallone plays in the sixth installment of the Rocky franchise and Sylvester Stallone himself, a character who was successful in getting this movie made, sixteen years after the last one was released.

Rocky V was an awful, forgettable film. It tainted the legacy of the franchise, and as the years passed, helped turn Sylvester Stallone into somewhat of a joke. Not since 1997's Cop Land has Sly starred in a film of much consequence, and we all laughed whenever we heard rumblings that he wanted to revive Rocky, as he neared closer and closer to age 60.

Sylvester Stallone turned 60 in 2006, and indeed saw the release of Rocky Balboa in the same year. My friends and I made plans to see it, as an excuse to get together and laugh, the same way we laughed at Snakes On A Plane a few months earlier. Tentative plans to see it opening weekend were pushed back, and then firmer plans to see it last week fell apart too. But this Saturday we did make it to the theater. On the way, we talked about how we heard it had surprisingly been met with good reviews.

The dialogue in Rocky Balboa is a bit silly at times - you're never more than a few frames away from an inspirational if comically ineloquent speech by Rocky - and by the time the fight sequence finally came around, you almost didn't care anymore. Rocky doesn't win the fight, but he silenced the peanut gallery and put together a solid, inspiring effort for boxing fans. Rocky Balboa won't take home any Oscars, and may not be as inspirational as Stallone pictured, but the story of Sylvester Stallone defying those who poked fun, creating a solid, credible picture, may be inspiration enough.

Grade: B-

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