From the reading of the topic launching, you could guess how impatient I was to finally see Rocky Balboa, sixth episode of the saga, coming 30 years after the first one and 16 years after the fifth one which had temporary closed the saga with a very sad failure.
Whatever, I expected Rocky Balboa to be awesome and was growing more and more impatient about it !
IMDb wrote: Rocky Balboa (2006)
Director: Sylvester Stallone
Genre: Action / Drama / Romance / Sport
Tagline: It ain't over 'til it's over.
Runtime: 102 min
Many reasons explained though that I was very confident about that new movie. First, from what I had heard, Sylvester Stallone wanted this Rocky to go back to the roots which had make this character so popular. Secondly I believed he would be able to do that as, considering his own actor career which was going down, the least we can say. Indeed, while Copland had made the last people who hadn't noticed yet, realize that Sylvester Stallone was a real actor and not only a bunch of testosterones, the actor sadly appears next in very bad movies which just contribute to kill his career.
It could appear then that a return to the roots was a good strategy for Sly, a good one but with very important risks though as, more than ever, he would be awaited, especially after the crappy 5th episode.
And the least you can say is that, you do feel that tension in this movie. More than Rocky, you see Sly on the screen. That guy who, for those of my age, was a living hero during your teenage years and who he is now fighting to escape oblivion which had finally trapped him.
As Rocky Balboa begins, Sylvester Stallone takes immediately his audience in a trip to their own memories of Rocky with the opening song which is the very same that the "street singers" sang in this first movie. Then comes a long introduction which I've found very clumsy as specially full of pathos.
Rocky Balboa hardly deals with his life now that his wife, Adrian, has died from a cancer. The brother of Adrian and long time friend of Rocky, Paulie (Burt Young), is still on his sides but this old geezer has not changed a bit and is clearly not the one who will give Rocky the energy he needs to recover.
As time has gone by Rocky and his son, Rocky Jr. (Milo Ventimiglia), have been growing apart and the son hardly sees in his father more than the other people's great champion whose shadow has forbidden him to exist in these people's eyes and therefore, to shine in his very own life.
Memories of the great time are still here but they are just memories for Rocky who only uses these stories now for his costumers' pleasure in his little italian restaurant.
Things evolve a bit when Rocky crosses the path of Marie (Geraldine Hughes). Marie is the very same girl who 30 years ago had insulted Rocky after he had try to give her a lesson about life. She has now grown up and also deals with psychological wounds after her divorce and a life which has never really taken of for her and her boy, Steps (James Francis Kelly III).
Helping Marie gives Rocky an opportunity to escape from a daily entrapping routine and also to deals with his own wounds and find the force to go back to the ring where he feels he still has things to give. Cause he knows it: "There's still some stuff in the basement.".
As unexpectedly as it happened 30 years ago, Rocky will have the opportunity to prove that with another chance given to him by Mason "The Line" Dixon (Antonio Tarver), the actual unpopular Heavy Weight World Champion who, exactly as Rocky in Rocky III sees his fans going away for not going to a real challenge and considering Mason only had easy matches till now.
If they all think Rocky is far "too old for this shit !" and will be simply executed by Mason, the upcoming charity match opposing the two opponent awakes all passions as a computer simulation gave Rocky as the winner. But it was, of course ... the Rocky of the 70's.
Whatever, Rocky of the 2000's trains hard as, as he says it, doesn't go to Vegas to lose ...
Well, let's say it straight ! I've spent a damn good moment watching Rocky Balboa.
Objectively I was saying to myself this was probably due to the fact I am a huge fan of the character since my teenage years and only a few weeks ago I had watched again with a certain pleasure the four first movies of the saga. For this reason, I was thinking that if that movie was catching me so easily while I didn't find the directing really brilliant it was probably because the memory of Rocky was very fresh in my mind.
I had been to see this movie with Nau and from times to times looked at him to see if he was getting annoyed or not as I thought he wasn't really a fan from the beginning.
Then arrived THE match and ... god ... I was mad I didn't dare to get up and shout "ROCKY !!! GET HIM !!! NO PAIN !!! NO PAIN !!!"
No doubt, Rocky Balboa just had me !!!
I was just like a teen when I walked out the movie theater, with a huge smile on my face. And so was Nau !!
When we passed by Liewen and I flat after it was to watch some moments of both Rocky and Rocky IV (I will also have to do a topic about that one, one day) !!!
So, as I said it, I might not be 100% objective about Rocky but all I can say is that I do enjoyed Rocky Balboa at 200%
I really can't mark this movie with less than a very well earned 5/6.
Thanks Sly to prove that at past 60 you are still ready to rumble !!