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"Rocky Balboa"

Directed by Sylvester Stallone.
Written by Sylvester Stallone.
Starring Sylvester Stallone, Burt Young, Antonio Tarver and Geraldine Hughes.
Release Year:  2006
Review Date:  12/21/06


I just had to know, I had to...would "Rocky Balboa" at least let me forget about how bad "Rocky V" was?  (And, to think--I didn't even see "Rocky V"!!!)

The straight answer--sorta.  Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) is managing his own restaurant in Philadelphia, living out his life as an ex-champ, mourning the loss of his crazy wife Adrian however-many-years-ago, and still hangin' out with Adrian's brother Paulie (Burt Young, looking just north of a hundred years old).  One day, ESPN stages a computer-generated showdown between a legend of yesteryear--Rocky--and a legend of today, current heavyweight champ Mason "The Line" Dixon (Antonio Tarver).  When Rocky wins this made-up fight, it gets Dixon's promoters--struggling because all of The Line's opponents have been pushovers so far--thinking: what if we asked that old bastard Balboa to REALLY fight Dixon?  You know, a 10-round exhibition, just to capitalize on this computer business?

Using flashbacks to the first five "Rocky" films throughout, Stallone--writer/director on this puppy--does let us taste the magic that made the first four films so good.  And, you just kind of feel bad for the guy, because just like Rocky, Stallone's real-life persona is a has-been, no doubt.  Unfortunately, Stallone spends literally the first hour of the film giving us this bullshit, complete with some of the worst dialogue of the modern era, characters in support of Rocky that no one cares about, and no fighting.  Then, as if he forgot that he was doing a boxing movie then suddenly remembered why everyone was in attendance, "Rocky Balboa" hits the proverbial Rocky button and gets us into the training sequence, the showdown, the buildup, the fight, the aftermath.  All of the last thirty minutes was cool to me, even if my compadres on this one (including Stokes, Longer, Jellybean, Mike Vo, Ross and Anne) were not so down with that assessment.

Which is too bad, because the first hour features so much suffering, so much slow development, so much boring, tedious storytelling that Chuck fell asleep literally three different times during that hour.  Wow, does "Rocky Balboa" start slowly; in fact, that might be the understatement of the year.  One assumes that you are only going to see "Rocky Balboa" if you have seen at least a couple of the earlier movies, so why does this take so long?  I'll be damned if I know!

This is tough for me to do, but as good as that last training-to-fight sequence was for me, the rest of the movie is so bad that I have to level a rating that makes sense.  And, even when I watch this again on TV eventually (I love pain), I'll suffer again just to hear the Rocky theme over and over again.

Rating:  Rental


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09