Rocky Balboa (12a)
Dir. Sylvester Stallone
Reviewed by Matt Adcock
Just when you thought it was over, that the mighty ‘Italian Stallion’ had limped off the world stage with the inglorious beating that was ‘Rocky V: What the Hell was I Thinking’ more than fifteen years ago.
But some legends live on and there have been rumours of a return. Surely at 60 there can be no fight left in the once legendary world champion? But what if there was? Could it be possible that given one last shot at glory he could rise to the challenge? Wouldn’t it be something to behold if just for one last time he could prove that those born with a warrior’s heart will always step up and face their destiny? And what a way to go!! Wouldn’t you rather go out on a high – doing what you love, even if it cost you your life? No-one wants to face the long slow fading away in obscurity alone, bitter and full of ‘what ifs’?
Stallone, as the writer, director and star of this ‘one last gasp’ tale of everyone’s favourite pugilist chooses the path of ‘final shot at glory’ – which is just as well really. Rocky says at one point: “Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain't all sunshine and rainbows. It is a very mean and nasty place and it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life!”
The Rocky film franchise really ran itself into the ground with part V and I was skeptical that this one could turn it around. But POW – here’s a solid uppercut to the nostalgia centre of brain through the use of emotional flash backs. BOOM – that’s got to hurt - a right hook to the cynical thought that this was just a desperate cash in and CRUNCH – a knockout blow is seeing the old timer training for his showdown with fate in a homage to the first film complete with original music… The film critic in me is out for the count...
I’m delighted to report that for anyone who’s ever enjoyed a Rocky film, this one is a reverent finale that does what you want it to do in about as honourable a fashion as possible.
Rocky might tell his son that “The only kind of respect that matters is self-respect” – but with this fine farewell Rocky Balboa has re-earned my respect too.
Prepare to cheer for one last time…
Darkmatters rating system (out of 5):
Action ööö - lots of build up and a good payoff finale
Laughs öö – add more stars if you find his accent funny
Horror ö – nothing very grim (unless you get freaked by veins)
Babes ö – never been a Rocky strong point
Overall ööö1/2 (the eye of the tiger, the heart of a lion, the plot of a monkey)
"it ain't over till it's over... but now it is over - until Dawn of the Zombie Balboa"
Darkmatters: H O M E