Movie Notes: Rocky

May 23, 2008

Rocky

5 stars = 5 stars

Starring Sylvester Stallone, Talia Shire, Burt Young
Directed by John G. Avildsen

Synopsis

Rocky (Sylvester Stallone) is a down-and-out loan collector in a run-down part of Philly who boxes for fun. He gets a once in a lifetime chance to fight the world heavyweight champion Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers).

The Good

The Bad

Conclusion

To truly appreciate Rocky I tried to watch the film with fresh eyes and ignore the progressively worse yet increasingly bombastic movies that followed. Having not seen the original for many years certainly helped in this regard. Judged on what it is – the rise of one man against the world amid a backdrop of urban squalor – it’s a breath of fresh air and a one man tour de force with Stallone doing the writing and carrying the entire film on his shoulders with sincere, honest, and likable acting.

Then add Rocky‘s influence on practically every sport flick that has come since, and I push this up to the five star category. There’s a solid balance between getting to know Rocky as a person and the boxing. Through Rocky’s optimistic attitude amid the daily downers, he worms his way into our hearts as he does Adrian’s. While at first the domestic melodrama seems maudlin and at times boring, once the training and boxing finally gets underway, I was invested in Rocky emotionally. His one match against Apollo Creed isn’t just a fight against one man – it’s a fight to overcome all the crap he put up with his entire life to get there.

Once the pay off arrives and my heartstrings sufficiently tugged – the film abruptly ends. It’s practically the only sports flick that made me eager to see the sequel.

IMBD: Rocky
Wikipedia: Rocky