ROCKY BALBOA (PG) Release Date: December 20th, 2006 by MGM.
The Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Burt Young, Antonio Tarver, Geraldine Hughes, Milo Ventimiglia, Tony Burton, James Francis Kelly III, A.J. Benza, Talia Shire.
Directed by Sylvester Stallone.
BASIC PREMISE: After years of retirement, Rocky (Stallone) comes back to the fighting ring for one last boxing match.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Rocky Balboa isnít called Rocky VI for the simple reason that itís not a typically dull, cringe-worthy sequel. Rather, it feels exciting and quite nostalgic. The plot picks up after the death of Rockyís wife, Adrian (Shire), as Rocky yearns to bring back his good old boxing days. His yearning goes beyond that, though. He also wants to re-connect with his son (Ventimiglia). Geraldine Hughes plays Rockyís good friend who fuels his desire return to the boxing ring while another pal, Paulie (Young), also supports Rocky. Itís difficult not to get pumped up by the memorable musical score also used in the other films. The inevitable boxing match at the end is well-shot and very intense without being confusing or nauseating. As a writer/director, Sylvester Stallone has probably read enough bad reviews of Rocky V to realize the importance of having character development and authentic rather than rushed, contrived scenes because not a single scene feels contrived and you actually care about Rocky. Heís not just a tough guy with a dream, but a much more complex character. To refresh his fans, Stallone includes some flashbacks to powerful scenes from the first Rocky film which ignited his career. Fortunately, Rocky Balboa succeeds as a powerful, absorbing way to end the Rocky series on a surprisingly high note.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: The scene when Rocky confronts his son feels surprisingly moving and poignant as Rocky bares his heart and soul in a very wise speech. Itís quite inspiring that he is unafraid to do what he loves the most and to prove his newfound courage to his beloved son.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: Fortunately, none.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 0
IN A NUTSHELL: Exciting and absorbing. Stallone is in top form. A real triumph! It has been worth the wait.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater (1st Run)
The "R" Menu