Rocky Balboa (Stallone, 2006)

I had been told by a friend the first half of this umpteenth Rocky sequel was the main problem area, a mishmash of momentary flashbacks and sentimental musings where one must roll the eyes in disbelief. I actually found Rocky’s mundane existence far more interesting than the film’s supposed final fight, a jumbled mess of fast cuts, digital video, and uninspired directing. At least with Stallone, by himself, in character, we see thirty years of doubt, guilt, hidden aggression, and soul searching. With the climax of Rocky Balboa, the buildup of his character leads to nothing of merit, and it makes the film as a whole a failure in my mind. The traditional musical montages are weakly used, the supporting players turn to rabid cliches by film’s end, and the send off of a major film icon so timid it makes you wonder why this film was such a box office success? Maybe Americans who grew up in the late 70’s and 80’s and now have family’s of their own needed a shot of mainstream nostalgia, no matter how bitter the taste.

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