Thirty years after the first Rocky film & sixteen years after the forgettable Rocky V film comes Rocky Balboa, the sixth & final chapter of this dramatic series. Directed by & starring Sylvester Stallone, the film also features Burt Young, Tony Burton, Milo Ventimiglia, & Antonio Tarver. Stallone, Young, & Burton are the only three actors to appear in every Rocky movie. This film takes place in Philadelphia, many years after Rocky has been retired from the ring.
Basically ignoring the events from Rocky V, this film takes us back to the roots of Philadelphia for Rocky. Long retired & out of the limelight, Rocky now owns a restaurant in Philadelphia called ‘Adrians’, appropriately titled after his late wife. Instead of dealing with the champ like he did in Rocky I & II, a bully like he did in Rocky III, an unstoppable monster like he did in Rocky IV, or a friend-turned-foe like he did in Rocky V, he struggles to deal with the loss of his beloved wife, Adrian, in this film. However, Rocky decides that he wants to fight again, as he feels he still has ‘something in the basement’. Coincidentaly, ESPN throws on a computer-simulated fight between former heavyweight champion Rocky Balboa versus current heavyweight champion Mason “The Line” Dixon. This leads to Dixon’s promoters setting up an exhibition match between the two which takes place at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
One aspect of not only this film, but of all the Rocky films which I have to give credit for is the editing. Two parts of the series which I point to specifically are when they show Rocky & his opponent each training for the fight as well as the actual fight. I like when they show Rocky & his opponent training for the fight as it really builds up the hype to the fight. Instead of just seeing them go at it, we see what they have to go through in training, much like in a real fight. I also like the editing during the actual fights, as it makes it seem like they are really making contact with each other.
The other aspect I liked of not only this film, but the entire series is the use of music. In Rocky III, it was “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor while in this film, it’s “It’s a Fight”, by the Three 6 Mafia. The music really adds suspense to the film. It not only builds hype to the fight but it also makes the fight seem to be worth so much more.
I give credit & much thanks to Sylvester Stallone for wanting to create Rocky Balboa, since he wasn’t satisfied with how Rocky V ended & wanted to give the series a better sendoff. I also want to thank Sylvester Stallone for not killing off Rocky at the end of Rocky V, as was proposed in the original script because then this movie would never have been made & we would have been left with the awful Rocky V movie to end the series. I think this was a bitter sweet way to end the Rocky franchise, way better than the Rocky V ending.