Rocky Balboa (2006)

Sylvester Stallone returned to the franchise that made him a superstar when he came back for Rocky Balboa, the sixth movie in the Rocky franchise. When it first came out, I had had enough of Rocky and was not interested in seeing it. That makes it a perfect addition to the DailyView binge.

An aging Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) owns a little restaurant in Philadelphia and mourns the loss of his beloved wife Adrian. Rocky starts to get that pull back into the ring and wants to resume his fighting career. Brash young world champion Mason Dixon (Antonio Tarver), after a computer simulation of a dream match between them had Rocky winning, wanted a shot at the Italian Stallion in an exhibition match. The match, however, was anything but an exhibition.

The first part of the movie is done very well as we see Rocky flailing in his life, with Adrian gone. He put up a good front, but the anger inside was still there. With his family and friends also struggling through life, Rocky returned to the world that he knew best.

I’m not sure what the subplot involving Marie (Geraldine Hughes) was meant to be. She played a woman who had been walked home as a child by Rocky. I do not think it was meant to be a physical relationship at all, but it was certainly a weird one. She wound up in the crowd during the fight taking the place of Adrian, and her son Steps (James Francis Kelly III) was in Rocky’s corner. The movie had a mixed message about what this relationship was going to be.

Rocky and his son Robert (Milo Ventimiglia) had some issues during the first half of the film and they had a nice scene together outside the restaurant, but those issues magically went away and, in the second part of the film, Robert was fully supportive of Rocky.

The boxing match itself was thrilling, filled with great shots and beautiful imagery. Some of the black and white shots with either the blue trunks or the red of the blood breaking the color are just great. Rocky films have always had great montages and the fight is extremely well done.

This was a strong goodbye to the character of Rocky as a fighter. Of ocurse, Stallone returned in Creed as a trainer for Michael B. Jordan, but that was more about post fighter Rocky than this was. This was the way Rocky wanted to go into retirement, with one more major slugfest. Rocky Balboa delivered that.

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