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									                                       Review: Rocky Balboa (2006)

Review: Rocky Balboa (2006)


      • From: Jerry at the Movies <Faust668@xxxxxxx>
      • Date: Mon, 14 May 2007 15:54:56 −0400

Reviewed by Jerry Saravia
RATING: Three stars

Who would've thunk it? Stallone's sixth outing as Rocky Balboa turns
out to be as good as any of the sequels since "Rocky II." Purging the
abominable "Rocky V," "Rocky Balboa" is an incisive, almost poetic
portrait of an old man who wants to prove to the world he's still got
it. And Stallone certainly has it in spades.

As the movie opens, Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) is a 60−year−old
man, still living in Philadelphia and with his cranky−as−ever brother−
in−law Paulie (Burty Young). Rocky no longer has Adrian, his beloved
wife, who lost her life to cancer. Still, the spirit of the Italian
Stallion lives on as he is now owner of a restaurant called
"Adrian's," and he entertains customers with stories of his old
championship fights. One of his customers is an old opponent, Spider
(Pedro Lovell), which will tickle Rocky fans who remember him as
Rocky's first opponent in the original "Rocky" film.

Things change when a computer−generated fight between Rocky and the
newest sensation, Mason "the Line" Dixon (played by heavyweight champ
Antonio Tarver), sets Rocky's eyes in focus to a possible comeback.
The question is: can a 60−year−old Rocky fight in the ring? Heck,
George Foreman came back for one final round in the ring. The answer
is yes, Rocky still has it. There is, however, chagrin from Rocky's
son (Milo Ventimiglia ), Paulie and just about everyone else in the
boxing world ("Will this bout be an execution?"). But a scheduled
exhibition fight is set in motion, and Mason Dixon considers this an
easy one−two punch victory, or is it?

There is no question how this scenario is going to turn out. Still,
"Rocky Balboa" does it with oodles of humanity and heart, thanks to
Stallone's exemplary writing and directing reins. He knows Rocky
inside and out, showing the character's emotional pain of the loss of
his wife and the memories that still linger in good old Philly. Paulie
is sick of Rocky's nostalgic reminders, yet Rocky is lost without
Adrian. The chance to fight again and to share his spirited need to
shape himself into a human being again with his son is what informs

Review: Rocky Balboa (2006)                                                                         1
                                       Review: Rocky Balboa (2006)

most of "Rocky Balboa." This movie has no glitz, no slickness to it
whatsoever. It is a human drama about a lost soul who is clearly an

Especially touching is Rocky's renewed relationship with Marie
(Geraldine Hughes), a former troubled teen who is now a bartender.
Rocky befriends her and her son (James Francis Kelly III), though the
fact that the son is a mulatto makes Rocky wonder where Marie has been
hanging around. Nevertheless, Rocky gets Marie a job as a hostess for
his restaurant. Perhaps, he is inspired by her or feels bad for her,
or is hoping for a new love interest. The movie never quite gets
around to it.

As inspired is the idea of an aging Rocky, the film would've been
benefitted from less supporting characters. I wish there was more
shown between Paulie and Rocky, two men who see the city isn't what it
once was. I wish we learned more about Marie, a character given some
spark by Geraldine Hughes yet, by the time we arrive at the obligatory
championship finale, she is mostly there to cheer for Rocky. Little is
divulged about Marie's son − again, another character on the
sidelines. And Rocky Jr. is a cheerless banker who feels slighted by
his father's glorious past − he only got the job as a banker because
of his name (Nepotism can have its flaws). But the character has also
been left on the cutting room floor.

The final fight is shown as an HBO special from one angle, with some
occasional cuts to a bruised, black−and−white Rocky image with red
blood dripping from his lips and eyes. The fight works but the real
deal is that it wasn't needed − Stallone has already shown Rocky with
more zeal before the fight than ever before.

Despite its flaws, "Rocky Balboa" is an often powerful, rousing,
subtle and enriching film about aging. When Rocky learns that he has
lost his speed (thanks to calcium deposits in his joints and
arthritis), he builds his power from his gut and his heart. He can
still run to the top of the stairs of the Philadelphia Museum of Art,
lift weights, drink his eggs and punch those slabs of meat. He shows
that despite his losses, he still has so much to gain. When Rocky gets
back in the ring, you'll feel it too. Stallone has done what seemed
the impossible − after thirty years, he has brought Rocky back in all
his glory.

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