I have to say upon glimpsing at the trailer of “Rocky Balboa,” I was ashamed to admit it looked pretty good. Sure, Stallone is turning to a fail safe again to reclaim his career, and sure it looks an awful lot like “Cinderella Man,” but if he can reclaim much of what made the original so great, then he’ll have given a final bout of quality filmmaking.
Unlike others, I’m not fond of the entire franchise. I loved the original, and part four was once a guilty pleasure watching the once cool Dolph Lundgren challenging Rocky, as well as part five which I thought featured a very exciting street fight, but neither of them were really critical favorites. But I’m interested to see what Stallone would do with this new film.
After Stallone failed with his own reality show, it was obvious he’d try what Schwarzenegger went for and reach back to the roots of his fame. He’s planning another “”Rambo,” and hopefully a sequel to “”Stop! Or my Mom Will Shoot!” (I kid), so “”Rocky” was not too far off.
If it’s well written and well acted enough, it could be a film you can watch directly after the original. How much more tragic would it be to watch the original film with Rocky becoming the greatest, winning the girl, and triumphing over the naysayers, and then fast forward immediately to “Rocky Balboa” where he’s lost his wife, lost his family, lost his fame, and now only has his son to lean on.
Personally, I’d go that route, because it’d be an interesting start and immediate finish to a tragic tale rather than wading through the others again. The whole series was one I could forget pretty easily. I mean while “Rocky” perfected that whole formula, “Rocky 2,” and the rest were pretty cheesy hammy installments with Hulk Hogan, and Mr. T, and Drago to add a sense of camp to an otherwise interesting underdog tale.
It all became very repetitious and lost most of the heart that the original gave us once the films continued being made to cash in on the name. But, with the death of Apollo Creed, and the death of Burgess Meredith as his trainer Mickey, “Rocky Balboa” could, and should be a very sad glimpse at a shell of a man who’s lost everything in his life. His friends and family are all gone.
But I’m interested to see Stallone’s depiction of this “final” installment of the series. He only has his son now, and a few trainers to back him up, and it’s interesting to see how he’ll pull himself out of the slums to prove to himself that he can still find some life. Perhaps in the climax, Balboa will just fade into the darkness as all legends do after they’ve had their last hurrah.
Or perhaps the way Stallone ends this series is through the death of Rocky Balboa. Brain damage was a constant threat during the last installment, after all. The “Rocky” series was a childhood memory, one with its surefire ups and downs with the tale of Rocky rising to fame, losing grip of his family, and eventually being humbled back into the low class. I’d be curious to see if he can reconnect with his son, and show them all why he’s one of the greatest.
Sure, no one believes these actors anymore when they vow it’s the last film of their series. It’s almost like the Rolling Stones declaring it will be their last tour. They always say it, but never stick to it.
One can only imagine what treasures await us with this series next. Perhaps “Young Rocky” where we’ll discover how young Rocky Balboa got into crime, became a stooge, and how he discovered his knack for boxing. Or perhaps, a “Rocky” “restarting” which basically starts the series over with a different actor.
The possibilities are never far off with Hollywood.
But until that horrible day, I’m very much looking forward to “Rocky Balboa.” I have high hopes that the “”Italian Stallion” can deliver one more time.
P.S. Asking 40 dollars for a copy of “Good Night and Good Luck” on HD-DVD? That’s obscene. Would you honestly pay forty dollars for a movie you could get on DVD, just because it’s hip to own an HD-DVD? I sure as hell wouldn’t.