ROCKY HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP REVIEW: “Rocky V” stars Sylvester Stallone (Zookeeper, Grudge Match), Talia Shire (The Godfather, Pizza with Bullets), Burt Young (Rob the Mob, Once Upon a Time in America), Sage Stallone (Daylight, Chaos), Burgess Meredith (Grumpier Old Men, Camp Nowhere), Tommy Morrison, Richard Gant (The Big Lebowski, Nutty Professor II: The Klumps), and Tony Burton (Fatal Choice, The Shining). It is directed by John G. Avildsen (Rocky, The Karate Kid). After the events of “Rocky IV”, we find Rocky return home from Russia only to find unsettling news. It turns out that the fight with Ivan Drago has left Rocky with permanent brain damage and he is forced to retire so he doesn’t kill himself. Even though he retires, he can’t escape his fame. A promoter named George Washington Duke (Gant) wants Rocky to fight more matches, but Rocky declines so Duke will try his best to get him in the ring. In the meantime, Rocky becomes the manager of a no-name fighter named Tommy Gunn (Morrison) so he can do something that is still meaningful to him and live up to what Mickey (Meredith) wanted him to be. But, with all of Rocky’s fame weighing down on Gunn, it will be difficult for him to get out of Rocky’s shadow, which eventually sets up conflict.
“Go for it” says the poster, and that’s what I did. I wanted to avoid this movie the most, even though I had to watch it anyway, mainly because of the bad reviews (which were worse than the fourth movie). After seeing it, I have to say that the critics were wrong. What this movie did was it finally got back the heart and soul of this franchise. By the time it got to the fourth movie, all you were looking at was a sorry excuse for a boxing movie, with the main focus being to take out the tougher guy in the room. Now with this movie, you get to see Rocky reflect, acknowledge, and redeem himself for both him and his family. The story was good throughout. There were parts that I didn’t like all too much, but I’ll touch on those later. The acting was great like usually and after two movies, there’s finally another boxer that is portrayed well: Tommy Morrison as Tommy Gunn. He did a great job. The characters were great and they made you feel like you did in the first movie. I loved the scene where Rocky remembered back to Mickey giving him a lesson. It was a tear jerker and was well-needed seeing how I haven’t really felt a lot of these characters since the first couple of movies. There were a couple of cons that I found with this movie. The first is that the beginning didn’t really explain some things. When Rocky came back after only a couple of months in Russia, his kid looked like he aged five years. Also their house was different than the other movies, which they didn’t explain. Another con would be how predictable this movie is. I could point out what would happen at the end at almost the middle of the movie. It was laughable. Speaking of laughable, another pro I didn’t mention was this movie was funny. The last con I have to say about this film was the ending. I liked how Rocky fought in the streets instead of in the ring. I was different than the other movies. But after four minutes of watching it, it gets old. They have him do the same thing twice in the fight, which was get up and walk away only to get thrown back in, and there were shaky camera close ups that made me cringe. It just didn’t have the original fighting feel at the end of the fight. Overall, this movie did a heck of a lot better than the fourth movie and is a lot better than what critics said. I recommend anyone who is starting the franchise to not be intimidated by this one, because it holds up on its own. FINAL SCORE: 80%= Juicy Popcorn
Here is the trailer: