Monday, December 12, 2011

Rocky Balboa: A Critical Review

"Rocky Balboa is without a doubt the best sequel in the Rocky series. It is touching, exciting, well-acted, well filmed and well written." ~Comment at imdb.com

So, I finally caved in and watched Rocky Balboa last week, the sixth and final episode of the Rocky series conceive by and starring Sylvester Stallone. Sly owes a lot to Rocky because he was the character that opened all the doors for his career in Hollywood, against all odds.

If anyone remembers, Rocky V was a bomb. Whatever it aspired to be, it was not a fitting end to the story of a fighter who never gives up, always willing to take it on the chin to go another round. Stallone evidently believed the Rocky series should end on a high note, and here we are with Rocky Balboa.

An astonishing number of people commented on this film at imdb.com, the place I go to see what the public thinks about movies. The critics are hit and miss, sometimes unreliable because of a built-in bias against certain directors or Hollywood of Indie films, or they're stroking someone whose career they want to see take off. In this case, the lavish praise for Rocky Balboa appeared as over-the-top as the character himself.

~Stallone proves he's more than a stereotype.
~A Mature Rocky, still packs a Punch!
~A fitting end to an iconic series
~The final round of the greatest hero in the history of Cinema
~Now, this is how it ought to end!
~Incredibly Inspiring - even after seeing them all many times.
~Bring a box of Tissues to this one!!!
~Do not listen to the critics!!!!!!!
~Sly Floors The Rest!
~Yo! Adrian... Rocky's Back

There is ample evidence that the Rocky story has connected to the hearts of the masses. He's the iconic symbol of an underdog, and his films repeatedly grossed millions of dollars. But to be honest, it was painful watching this film. Not only is everything here predictable, it's filled with lame dialog and a tiresome Stallone whose manner of speech begins to really grate on your nerves after a while. (OK, if you love da guy, you love da face and d'way he he tawks.)

Here's the definition of the word cliché: A cliché is an expression, idea, or element of an artistic work which has been overused to the point of losing its original meaning or effect, especially when at some earlier time it was considered meaningful or novel.

The story line here involves a young heavyweight champ who has been undefeated in 33 fights, mostly knockouts. Mason "The Dixon" Line is king of the hill, but now boxing is all spectacle and losing its fans. What can be done to bring boxing back to a more respectable, and profitable, level? The sports network creates a fantasy match between Mason Dixon and Rocky Balboa, allowing computers to reproduce the fight. Of course one thing leads to another and the former champ agrees to "an exhibition match" with the reigning champ.

Rocky is in the neighborhood of sixty and, well, all he does all day is walk around mumbling, so he's really not in shape. Yet, when all is said an done it's "here we go again" with the Rocky theme park music.

Adriane is in her grave but Paulie is still here, and a grown son... and a new love interest. It's Hollywood and that love thing has to be there.

No spoiler here. Despite the insipid lines throughout, there is a measure of surprise and class in the tight finish.

You might enjoy this film, but if you squirm a little with the slow pace for the first half, don't say I didn't warn ya.

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