Running time: 102 min.
MPAA rating: PG
Rocky Balboa is the sixth film in the plucky pugilists 30-year cinematic career and one of the best of the batch.
Not since the original Rocky has Sylvester Stallone portrayed Balboa with such vulnerability and humanity. This film is so well-written and acted that I wouldve rather seen more scenes with the characters in their daily life than the final 30-minute boxing match.
The film takes place back in Philly. Pushing 60, Rockys career is long over. His wife, Adrian, has been dead for a few years, and Rocky Jr. is off to make his way in the corporate world. Junior (Milo Ventimiglia of Heroes) is having a tough time living in dads shadow, so he and Pop dont speak much.
This leaves Rocky alone, brokenhearted and living a life without meaning. When he isnt spending time at Adrians grave, hes running a modest little restaurant (named Adrians) where he regales the patrons with tales of past battles.
Thankfully, Rocky stumbles upon a woman from his past, Little Marie (Geraldine Hughes), a woman he hasnt spoken to since he walked her home 30 years ago when she was a wayward teen. The affection between these two characters is mature and unspoken, and it trumps anything we ever saw from Talia Shire.
Just as things start looking up, enter Mason The Line Dixon (Antonio Tarver), the current champ whose fights are all setups. Dixon is looking for respect, and the only way to get it is by fighting the ex-champ. Rocky needs to purge himself of some demons in the basement, i.e., get over Adrians death so he can move on with life, and teach his son the meaning of courage.
Cue the montage music.
I know I spoke heresy in the second paragraph, but Rocky Balboa wouldve been a better film without the boxing match. The performances and the relationships between the characters are so strong, this movie could stand on its own without the fight scene.
Even still, Rocky Balboa is a fine movie, almost as good as the original.
Rocky Balboa is the best of the six Rocky movies