Every Sunday, Gill delves into his archive of over 800 movie reviews and randomly selects three for your enjoyment! Here are this week’s…
Rocky is one of the original, classic underdog stories, and even if you don’t like boxing – or sports in general – Rocky manages to be heartwarming and inspirational in a way many have tried but few have succeeded in imitating. Rocky Balboa is a down-on-his-luck, everyday Joe who works as an enforcer for a loan shark, but who dreams of becoming a boxing champion. When the opportunity to face off against the heavyweight world champion Apollo Creed presents itself, Rocky rises to the challenge. With the help of his coach Mick, he goes the distance and makes a name for himself, turning his life around in the process. Sylvester Stallone gives his career-defining performance in the title role, and I don’t think he has ever topped himself. Rocky isn’t smart, but he has a heart of gold, and he’s great at what he does. We can’t help but cheer as he ascends to fame and fortune. Rocky isn’t a complex movie, or even a particularly deep one, but it’s the perfect underdog tale and has great performances across the board. What more could you want?
5 out of 5
This is the ultimate example of a sequel doing exactly the same thing as the original, and in the case of Rocky II, it’s not really a bad thing. Once again, Rocky is challenged to a fight against Apollo Creed, and once again he trains with Mick until the climactic fight where he wins the day. Rocky II does a fine job of rehashing the same plot as the first one, and it even gives Apollo Creed some more characterization, but in the end, it’s the same film. And thus, I don’t have much more to say about it. A worthy sequel to Rocky that doesn’t bring anything new to the table.
3.5 out of 5
Now that Rocky is a world champion, he has to defend his title against the brutal up-and-comer Clubber Lang. Rocky III is where the Rocky franchise finally perfects its movie structure. It does enough different from the first two films that it feels fresh, while at the same time including all the stuff we love about Rocky movies like Mick barking at Rocky, training montages, and some badass boxing matches. Clubber Lang is a formidable antagonist who you love to hate, Apollo Creed changes his role to that of Rocky’s mentor (and is awesome in the part), and the movie introduces Survivors “Eye of the Tiger” to the series, which is one hell of a great song. The ending is also top notch. Rocky fans may think I’m nuts, but I liked Rocky III just as much as Rocky, but for slightly different reasons. Had the film series ended here, it would have made for a damn good trilogy.
5 out of 5
See you next Sunday for three more thrilling short reviews!