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Monday, June 22, 2009

What is the greatest Rocky film of all time?

Rocky, the greatest story anyone could ever tell about an underdog – well next to Schindler's List. For those of you that know nothing of this character Rocky Balboa, Image:Sjff 03 img1353.jpg I will be examining his films throughout his saga that spans nearly thirty years in and out of the ring. Rocky was just a two-bit amateur boxer that got his true pay by threatening to break the pinkies of people that do not pay up to Tony Gazzo, a local Philadelphia bookie. Within a series of fortunate events, Rocky would be able to go from nobody to a hero and spawn a total of six films concerning his adventures of defending his title, his honor and memories of his loved ones.

I have recently just re-watched the entire Rocky Saga and I really enjoyed my previous stints of these movie reviews/exposes. My purpose on this article is to get the fan base to cheer out and decide: What Is The Greatest Rocky Film of All Time? I would truly love people to participate in this little review and speak your minds over your favorite and why. I will clearly tell you my favorite in the series and I'll legitimately back it up. Each of these films holds a certain spot in our hearts; because aside from just seeing the Italian Stallion getting brain damage, there is always a piece of drama that sucks you in and wants to fight by Rocky's side so you can experience his drama as well. Here is the major run down of the Rocky films: Sylvester Stallone wrote every Rocky film, and was nominated an Oscar for Rocky I for best screenplay. Stallone also directed Rocky II-IV and Rocky Balboa. John G. Avidlsen (of the Karate Kid fame) directed Rocky and Rocky V. Bill Conti created the original awe-inspiring musical scores for many of the Rocky films, all except for Rocky IV which has a much more synthesizer/cheesy 80's score done by Vinci DiCola (who also scored TRANSFORMERS THE MOVIE)Image:Transformers-m

Finally, there has been some great camera work done in the Rocky films; primarily thanks to Bill Butler who did Rocky II-IV and has also worked on many other films such as Jaws, Frailty, Stripes, Grease and numerous others

I'll like to hit up the key points of each of the films, provide some worthless tid- bits of information and give you justification and facts on how/why you should pick one of these films as your favorite. So, let the reviews….begin!

"You wanna ring the bell?..........Ding – Ding"

Rocky – 1976, directed by John G. Avidlsen and written by Sylvester Stallone.

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Premise: Rocky is a street thug. He enjoys doing these little fights in community centers for just a little bit of dough fighting some real bums like Spider Rico, but there could be more. He frequently goes to his gym/boxing center owned by Mickey Goldmill, where he just finds out that his locker has been cleaned out. Mickey is just all around pissed off with him because "youra dumb dago," but also because Rocky has potential but he wastes it on the docks and working for Tony Gazzo, a loan shark that needs to keep his reputation up as not a pussy. Aside from that Rocky frequently hangs out at the pet shop across from Mick's gym so that he can go hit on Adrian Pennino, whom some think is retarded but she suffers from the disease of shyness. Rocky sees her everyday and buys absurd animals and pieces just so that he can tell her a bad joke every day. When that doesn't work, Rocky hangs out at the local bar with his buddy Paulie, who is also Adrian's brother. ("Grandpa?!")

Whenever Rocky gets totally down on his luck, a fortunate series of events begins to roll his way. Apollo Creed, who is the reigning undefeated heavy weight champion of the world, is set to have one of the greatest fights of his career. His opponent unfortunately shatters a carpal in his hand and is no longer left to fight. His team of promoters is left at a stand still until an idea strikes Apollo, as the master show man that he is. The fight was to celebrate the bi-centennial anniversary of the country so Apollo thinks, "An Italian discovered this country, and what better way to have one of his descendents go toe to toe with me." Apollo scours through local registration books around the Philadelphia area until a name stands out for him – The Italian Stallion.

"The Italian Stallion versus Apollo Creed - sounds like a damn monster movie."

The chance for a "nobody" to become a "somebody" falls onto Rocky's lap. Despite much dispute between his own fears and self doubt, Mickey wants to be his manager and convinces Rocky to take shot. Rocky trains through his stylized and heavily duplicated "training montage," with the blaring Gonna Fly Now song to get everyone's blood pumping. Rocky ends up going toe-to-toe with Apollo Creed for fifteen rounds. Apollo did not take the fight lightly and just thought this nobody would be a push over and he would be walking away with another win and tons of cash. Even though Rocky is knocked down a few times, he constantly gets up and proves to Apollo he can take whatever he dishes out.

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After the fifteen rounds, Apollo Creed ends up winning the match due to split decision. Rocky really doesn't seem to care, but is just happy to say to himself that he did it – he went the distance. All he wants is to be embraced by his girl Adrian, who rushes into his arms and is embraced by him only so that she could say for the first time – "I Love You." The heart felt moment is shared by all, Rocky did lose the fight – but he won the hearts of the nation as the true under-dog story.

Worthless Tid-Bits of Info: So Rocky is all over right? Well no, here is just a bunch of little facts to look for in the first Rocky film.

* The first match that Rocky is featured against is with Spider Rico. Spider would later appear in the film Rocky Balboa as someone just dying to work in the kitchen.
* Rocky's real first name is Robert. This can be found in one of the earlier drafts of the script and also if you listen to the children's taunts of Rocky V, many of them call Rocky's son Robert, although he is listed in the credits as Rocky Jr.
* The lead singer of the drunk bums that are around the barrel of fire outside of Rocky's apartment is actually Sly's younger brother Frank Stallone Jr.. Frank would also appear in Rocky II and also has screen credit of writing songs for the film such as "Take You Back" which is reused again and again in the films. Frank Stallone Sr. rings the opening bell for the Creed/Stallone fight. But Frank will not be the last Stallone to star along with Sly; Sage Stallone, Sylvester's real life son, would appear in Rocky V who plays Rocky Jr.
* The finale of the Toxic Avenger pays homage to the finale of Rocky due to the fact that Toxie director/founder of Troma films, Lloyd Kaufman was also the pre-production supervisor for Rocky and also played a drunk in one of the scenes.
* The character of Marie, played by Jodi Letizia is introduced as a pre-teen "whore" that Rocky tries to steer in the right direction. Although he is labeled as a creepo, she would eventually appreciate his advice. The character of Marie was set to return in Rocky V, still played by Letizia but her scenes were cut. But Marie did return in the next film but was re-cast to Geraldine Hughes in Rocky Balboa.
* Apollo, aka the Master of Disaster, is claimed by the announcer of "no need of introduction," to figure out his place of origin. It is revealed in Rocky III that he got his start in LA.
* Apollo, the character and fighting style is based on Muhammad Ali.
* The film won three Oscars, Best Director, Best Editing and Best Film of 1976. The score, screenplay and sound were all nominated as were the actors Stallone, Shire, Young and Meredith.

Notable Moments of Emotional Trauma: Why should you see this film? Each and every film, Rocky must overcome some sort of emotional trauma that he must train and beat. Well check out these moments in the film that just make you want to join Rocky's side:

* Rocky is full of doubt and lacks self-esteem – especially when Mickey tells him such things as he is a bum, a dumb dago and someone who coulda been a great fighter except he works as muscle for a loan shark. Which Rocky replies, "It's a livin'"
* Rocky is fallin' for Adrian, but her brother Paulie is an insane and jealous drunk that can't stand what Rocky has and that he is losing Adriane as a part of his life.
* Rocky is quite proud of never having his nose broken, from being through at least thirty fights without it getting broken. Unfortunately, he doesn't keep up his good looks all too long, as his nose is broken early on in his fight against Apollo.

"Ain't gonna be no rematch!"

Rocky II –1978, Written and directed by Sylvester Stallone.

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This film takes place RIGHT after Rocky, and begins the tradition of recapping the previous film by showcasing at least two-five minutes of the climatic end of the previous film during the opening credits. Rocky and Apollo are rushed to the hospital to mend all of their wounds. Whereas Apollo ends Rocky I by stating, "Ain't gonna be no rematch," he has no problem informing all of the reporters in the opening hospital scene that he will fight Rocky again, anytime/anywhere.

Rocky is pretty much set on being retired (also a re-occurring element through the films no matter how you want to put it. This is supposed to be Rocky's last match of his career or he stands at getting terribly hurt.) Rocky is content on the money he earned from the fight and hopes to just settle down with Adriane and get a desk job somewhere. Unfortunately, the last grade that Rocky ever completed was the ninth and has something of a criminal record that is "nothing to brag about." Rocky tries to deal with surviving in the real world – in the honest white collar fashion but the only people that will hire him is Gazzo again and Paulie's former job at the meat factory – but is laid off within a few days.

Whereas Rocky tries to deal with his new found fame/glory and how to maintain his honest lifestyle; Apollo has to contend with a fan base that claims him as a phony and one that was paid to win the fight against Balboa. Apollo is set out to get the re-match promotion rolling against Balboa to reclaim his fan base and prove his honor to his fans. Apollo goes on a propaganda filled tirade that labels him as "the bad guy" although his trainer Duke (who consequently, is not named Duke until Rocky III, although he appears in every Rocky film and is only credited as Apollo's trainer in Rocky I and II), is adamant against Apollo going up against this man again because he is afraid he will lose.

Rocky continues to go about in his life, until he ends up totally at the bottom of the barrel working at Mick's as spit bucket/towel boy. Rocky is again afraid of boxing again, and despite everyone telling him to fight again – he is afraid and his wife is afraid for him as well. Adriane ends up getting pregnant, which means the couple both strive to make ends meet. Rocky works every day at Mick's, despite his former colleagues mocking him as a chicken. Adriane takes her old job back at Pet-Shop as part time work (something that is very re-occurring).

Just when Rocky thinks he is ready to fight again, Adriane is fearful for him that he could go blind. Mick also tells him that Rocky missed his chance and that was it. He took his shot against Apollo and that was the end. Rocky continues to have this inner urge, although it seems that Adrian puts him down and prevents such a thing. Although she is content on their low income life style, she would be later spoiled by the riches and fame in the later films. Paulie catches wind that Adriane is keeping Rocky down, and the primary reason why he is such a chicken. Paulie confronts her about it and Adriane begins to hemorrhage and gets rushed to the hospital.

Adriane gives birth to their son Rocky Jr., but the massive loss of blood slips her into a coma. Rocky can no longer train for his re-match against Apollo since he stays by Adriane's bed side every day. Mick decides to stick by Rocky's side until he is ready, as the two's relationship has become a bit more rekindled into a father/son role. Rocky spends all of his nights practicing his reading skills on an Edgar Rice Burrough's book to prove to the world that he can read and practice for a cozy little desk job. Eventually one day, Adriane wakes up to her Rocky and asks him to do one thing for her:


The training montage goes into full blown as the Conti music soars through the speakers as Rocky gets the entire community of Philadelphia on his side. Apollo Creed also trains for his bout, and also takes the fight much more seriously this time. But Rocky's camp has their own strategy this time, they know that Apollo would be ready for the "Southpaw Curse" again, so Mick gets Rocky to train punching with his right arm through a majority of the training. He also needs greasy lightning speed in order to catch a chicken and balance because he constantly leans his face into his South Paw punches leaving him open for attack.

The fight comes about and returns to Philadelphia, which is probably the largest collection of Italians ever. The crowd is all for Rocky, and Apollo,Image:Creed.jpg

the Master of Disaster and/or King of Sting is much more toned down with his ridiculous entrance. In the previous film he mocked the display of the show by coming in on a boat dressed like George Washington. Now Apollo resembles Uncle Same and has this hilarious, "I Want You" which continues all the way to Rocky IV when he again doesn't take his opponent serious.

The fight goes on for fifteen rounds again. Rocky is again knocked down a few times, but is very persistent and continues to rise. His vision ends up getting very blurred again, just as the doctor had suggested that he might go blind. Rocky continues to struggle on regardless and maintains the strategy of speed and strong right hooks. It isn't until the fourteenth round where the true decisions are to be made. Duke insists that Apollo just stay away from him, and all he needs to do is last three minutes and he would win this thing by split-decision again. But Apollo knows his fans would only think the fight was fake again, and why he needs to knock Rocky out. Rocky also knows that the final round is where he needs to switch to his South Paw tactics and take Apollo down for the knock out. Which he does, as both men are down from Rocky's final blow – but it is only Rocky who is able to rise in time from the ten count. Rocky is declared new Heavy Weight Champion of the World by knock out, Apollo gives him his recognition, Rocky tells the world he loves Adriane and Rocky and Mick are in a hug that ends on a freeze frame (the beginning of many to come especially in Rocky IV).

Worthless Tid-Bits of Info: So Rocky II is all over right? Well no, here is just a bunch of little facts to look for in the second Rocky film.

· This film marks as Stallone's second job of directing. His debut was for a rare lil gem called Paradise Alley about three Italian brothers in New York in the 1940's tried to work together to make their way through the wrestling business. Although Rocky II was his second film, it would not be his last. Stallone would go along to direct Stayin' Alive and in the near future John Rambo. It would seem that Hollywood doesn't trust Stallone enough to direct, although he does have a rather long list of screen writing credits that he has also appeared in such as: The Rambo Trilogy, Cobra and my personal favorite OVER THE TOP.

· Rocky is terribly illiterate when he is set to do a commercial and make himself a little dough after he has retired from boxing. He can hardly read and the director tells him that he CAN'T READ and that Balboa cost him thousands of dollars and hours. To practice with his reading and hopefully get a cozy desk job, Balboa begins to read a book to Adriane every night: Edgar Rice Burrough's "The Deputy Sheriff of Comache County."

· Frank Stallone Jr. returns for his barrel singing career, writing a song for the newly-wed Rocky and Adriane. This little song is re-sung by Balboa in Rocky IV has he celebrates their 9th anniversary humming a little tune similar to the Three's Company theme Image:TCLogo2.jpg–


· Rocky signs his first autograph at the hospital, beginning his famed career.

· Rocky now possesses a much nicer robe as opposed to the Rocky I robe that had a marketing gimmick for the local meat factory. His golden robe is now all about saying "Rocky" on it, which would later change to "Balboa," in Rocky IV.

· Rocky's shorts have also changed color from the previous film of white w/red stripe to black w/gold stripe to coincide with his Stallion color scheme found on his motor-cycle and trans-am.

· This film sets the stage for the future Rocky sequels that employ the basic plot and also includes: Re use footage from the previous film, a montage sequence or two, "Gonna Fly Now" song, freeze frame used at the end of the film and at the end of the montage.

· In Rocky I, Gazzo's goon/driver insists that Rocky takes Adrian "to the zoo, because retards like the zoo." When Rocky gets released from the hospital, he ends up proposing to Adriane in the zoo in front of a tiger. I was wonderin' if, uh, you wouldn't mind marryin' me very much.

· <>The tiger also plays into an element later where Rocky wants to buy a jacket with a tiger on it.

· Both Rocky Balboa and Tony Montana of Scarface have an infatuation with tigers.

· Rocky gets Paulie and others some very lavish watches. Paulie doesn't take the gift all too seriously, as seen in the beginning of Rocky III where he throws the "Exlax" watch on the ground.

Notable Moments of Emotional Trauma: Why should you see this film? Each and every film, Rocky must overcome some sort of emotional trauma that he must train and beat. Well check out these moments in the film that just make you want to join Rocky's side:

· Rocky risks going blind if he fights again. So he decides to retire

Rocky runs out of money and wants to live an honest life, but everyone suggest he fights again except for Adriane and Mick.

· Adriane is forced to work at a pet shop part time where she lifts a barrel of pet food and hurts herself. Thus resulting in her hemorrhaging, giving birth one month pre-mature to Rocky Jr, losing a lot of blood and slipping into a coma. This is a lot of stress on Rocky, especially if he thinks it is his entire fault. If he had just fought in the first place, she wouldn't be in the coma.

Rocky III –1982, Written and directed by Sylvester Stallone.

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MY ABSOLUTE FAVORITE ROCKY FILM OF ALL TIME. Why do you ask? I can think of at least five key points 1) Thunderlips is played by the immortal Hulk Hogan 2) Mr. T plays the trash talking James "Clubber" Lang 3) This is the only time that Rocky loses by Knock Out 4) Training Montage song "The Eye of the Tiger," by Survivor 5) Rocky teams up with a former enemy Apollo Creed to take down a bigger formidable foe by teaching him how to fight like a colored fighter - Paulie.

The plot of Rocky III is similar to the previous ones, except the roles of Rocky and Clubber Lang have been switched around. Rocky indulges in the riches and fame by making appearances on the Muppet Show and various magazine ads and successfully defending his title ten times. He becomes lazy and sometimes arrogant that he can easily take on anyone. Much similar to the way Apollo Creed was at the beginning of Rocky I where he did not take his challenger all too seriously and was more focused on the glitz and glam of being an infamous boxer.

On the darker side, no pun intended, new comer Clubber Lang, the South Side Slugger, Image:Clubber lang1.jpg

is quickly climbing up the heavy weight ranks as he tears through the competition. When he is not training or beating pitied fools, he visits Rocky's matches that he stares at Rock with disgust that such a paper champion got all of this and for being so lucky. All Clubber wants is his shot, just as Rock got his two years ago but Mick keeps secretly dogging Clubber and denies him the opportunities but sets up other easy matches with has-beens to protect his golden boy's treasure.

The most disgust comes over Clubber's face when he witnesses a charity match between Rocky Balboa and the current wrestling heavyweight champion of the world, the ultimate male –Thunderlips. Thunderlips comes close to beating the crap out of the ultimate meatball in this hokey little romp that he unleashes upon police officers, spectators and even Paulie. The guy with the ridiculously large mustache (LeRoy Neiman) ends up calling the match a draw and Clubber storms off in disgust.

Soon there after, a ceremony is held at the museum steps where Rocky had infamously ran up and down numerous times in Philadelphia. The city of Philadelphia erects a statue of Balboa as its favorite son which takes Clubber over the edge on how much they worship Rocky. He calls Rocky out in front of all people, insults his integrity as a fighter and a man – especially inviting Adrian to bring her pretty lil self over to his place to show her what a real man is. Rock can no longer tolerate it so he says, "You want it, you got it," in true Stallone fashion where his bottom lip nearly touches his chin. Unfortunately Mick is against the fight because he knows that Clubber will kill him.

Very similar to how Duke felt about Apollo fighting Balboa in the last film, Mickey also confesses to Balboa that the defending title bouts that he has recently had were with has-beens. The faith and self-esteem that Balboa had in himself have now greatly diminished. Balboa again has announced that he thinks it is time to retire after this one final fight even though Mick keeps pleading with him – he will destroy you. Rock promises him this will be the last fight and he just needs Mick to help him through it. Rock goes through training, which is more like a celebratory circus full of spectators and news casters – Rock can't concentrate on his training while he is constantly stopped for publicity reasons to appease his fans. To coincide that, Clubber trains harder than Rock had back to his original Super fight with Apollo as Rocky continues to be very at ease and doesn't take the training seriously.

When the fight comes about, Clubber again talks trash during the walk to the fight. With numerous reporters around the room so that Clubber can strut his stuff in front of, he ends up shoving Mick out of the way and slamming him against the wall. Some might think that was the blow that did Mick in, but it is definitely from this point on that Mick needs medical attention. Rocky is very upset that Mick is not at his side during the fight, and not having him around could possibly be one of the key reasons that Rock loses from knock out right in the second round. Clubber Lang is too fast, too strong and is also supposedly a South Paw. A combination that is just too much for Rocky physically and emotionally he is a wreck by not having Mick around. All of these things Apollo Creed can clearly see as a guest commentator at the title bout.

Rocky loses the belt and then goes in the locker room to lose Mick as well. He dies on a bench just in time to tell Rock that he loves him. Rocky cries like a baby, and goes back home to recuperate. Something begins to haunt him in all of these times without Mick, and what to do next in his life so he ends up hanging out at the old gym. At the gym, he happens to meet Apollo who strikes a deal with him.

Apollo is concerned that Rock has lost his edge, his eye of the tiger; the will to fight and survive had been washed over with the fame that he experienced. He became a pussy that under estimated his challenger. Some how or another, Apollo convinces Rocky that he will train him all he has to do his owe him a favor. Somehow or another he convinces him and Rocky brings Adrian and Paulie with him to LA – where Apollo got his start.

The> The Balboa family ends up lodging it up in a really crappy motel which Adrian suffices, "well, we never had a honeymoon." The training continues and Apollo and Duke constantly push him to the limit – but they both feel that Rocky has lost it. Whether if it is Apollo constantly punching Rock in the head and screaming, "DAMN MAN, WHAT'S THE MATTER WIT' YOU? THIS GUY WILL KNOCK YOU ON YOUR ASS!" Or if they running on the beach on their short shorts and crop tops as Rocky is another world of his brain damaged head – they know it's over.

It ain't over until it's over when Adriane reels Rock back in and gets him to admit he is afraid in this TERRIBLE piece of dialogue between Rock and Adriane. "Nothing is real if you don't believe in yourself anymore." Rock is still haunted by these fights that Mick rigged, but Adriane letting him know Mick was doing his job to protect him because he loved him. Rock agrees and it gives him that redirection. He only needed that little bit of emotional trauma to over come so that he could go on to another montage sequence – this time showcasing more of the original Rocky theme song.

Rocky tries harder, works out faster, can punch with lightning speed, swims with a name like Rock and runs faster than Apollo on the beach to cause one another to hug each other on the beach and splash in the water into a freeze frame. They have trained, Rocky has regained his edge and Apollo even gives him his "lucky shorts" that he wore against Balboa in the first two films.

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Within the re-match, the strategy the team applies is to put Clubber away early. THEY style="mso-spacerun: yes" for him rounds. When Rock finally gets in the ring with Clubber, the first round definitely belongs to Rocky and the second would go to Clubber. But after awhile, Rocky employs his own strategy to get Clubber so angry that he runs out all of his energy using massive punches that Rocky absorbs (which further adds to his brain damage in the future films.) Clubber wails on Rock with such anger that Rocky only replies, "Ain't so bad!" and "C'mon – knock me out – knock me out!" Eventually Clubber runs out of steam and Rocky wins by knock out. Afterwards, Apollo and Rocky return to Mick's gym. Apollo's favor that Rock owed him becomes fulfilled when he gets another rematch – this time no reporters just the two fighters. The two men take a first swing at one another that turns into a freeze frame and dissolves into a splattered looking painting.

Worthless Tid-Bits of Info: So Rocky III is all over right? Well no, here is just a bunch of little facts to look for in the third Rocky film.

* For the women that I have seen this movie with, all claim that Rock looks his best or his hottest of all of the other films. He appears to be in the best physical shape in Rocky III as opposed to the others (claiming he had 2.8 percent body fat during filming), but his character has also recently gotten plastic surgery to fix his face up – as Paulie so easily points out. From this point on in the series, you can easily see Rocky stays right around this age – as his entire supporting cast ages and deteriorates, the most in particular is Adriane by the end of the series.
* The opening montage shot of the film shows how rich and famous Balboa has become. They show a scene of him at the Academy Awards, which he was actually there in 1976 for his Rocky film. There is also a scene of him appearing on the Muppet Show, which was a real episode and they were able to hire Jim Henson to re dub Kermit's voice popping out of the hole of the opening episode Image:Tv muppet show opening.jpg

to introduce Rocky as the special guest for the episode and not Sylvester Stallone.

* The Rocky statue that is erected is made of bronze, weighs 800 pounds and stands at 8'6". It did actually stand for a long time in Philadelphia at the Museum of Art up to a few years ago. Apparently officials and art critiques didn't consider it true art or a true memorial so that it was taken down. There is a line within Rocky Balboa that Paulie says about how they had recently taken down the statue as well to explain such an occurrence within their movie world.
* During one of the training sequences prior to his first match with Clubber, a woman comes up to him to ask for a kiss while he is on this exercise bike. The woman was his then wife Sasha Ash, and would later give birth to their son Sage who would co-star with his real dad in Rocky V and Daylight.
* This film also starts the trend of the heavy use of flashback. Not only is it shown at the start of Rocky III, but Rocky FREQUENTLY has flash backs of the first two Rocky films but also re-uses footage within Rocky III that happens just merely thirty minutes prior. Stallone experiments with this cheap use of film making, as he also experiments with his "freeze-frame technique" which is found in over-abundance within Rocky IV.
* Mickey Goldmill is Jewish, as seen on his grave and when Rocky reads the burial rights for his manager in Hebrew.
* When Mick dies, he leaves his gym to Rocky Jr, an element we discover when lawyers and accountants are reading over his assets on the announcement of being bankrupt.
* This is the first film we find out the Apollo's manager is named Tony "Duke" Evers. Image:TonyBurton.jpg

In the two previous films, he is only credited as "Apollo's Manager."

* Why is there is a close up of Apollo's and Balboa's crotch as they run on the beach? Was this Stallone's call? It becomes VERY ridiculous and hilarious after a while, especially watching him and Apollo having a "moment" on the beach.
* This is Survivor's first collaboration with Stallone, they would return in Rocky IV with the not-nearly-as-successful-as song: "The Burning Heart."
* "Eye of the Tiger" received an Oscar Nomination for best song.
* Before Stallone wanted Survivor to do the song for the movie, he was just about to pick Queen's Another One Bites The Dust – which was very popular at the time of the film's release.Image:Another one bites the dust.jpg
* The re-match between Clubber and Balboa is the shortest of all the finale matches in the Rocky series. The two previous films in particular last fifteen rounds, this match only last three rounds.
* The painting you see at the end of the film is done by LeRoy Neiman can be found hanging up in Rocky's restaurant, Adriane's in Rocky Balboa.
* Painter/Arist Leroy Neiman is also the ring announcer with the large and ridiculous moustache. Apparently Stallone loves to paint in oil in his spare time as a relaxation method, and was more than likely an admirer of Neiman's.
* There is a great dispute over who would have won the bout between Rocky and Apollo at the end of the film. Personally, I feel that Creed won the bout and why he might be so determined to fight Drago in the next film.
* I could probably go on and one about the duo that made this film that my girlfriend likes to call Clubberlips so on a side note – I will connect Hulk Hogan and Mr. T tidbits to this review:
* The fight sequence between Rocky and Thunderlips took 10 days to shoot, and they used a boxing ring with wrestling accommodations such as matting over plywood, loose ropes and shock absorbers under the plywood.
* Thunderlips, the ultimate male, is stated as being nearly 7 feet tall where in reality he is 6'6". Stallone is only 5'10" as is Mr. T.
* When Hulk Hogan recently heard that Stallone wanted him for the role in the film he thought it was a prank. The current owner of the World Wide Wrestling Federation (later to be renamed WWE) Vince McMahon Sr. was quite adamant about Hogan being in the film. If he were to do it, Vince was prepared to disown Hogan. Hogan helped make the film successful in his feature film debut, and it only helped his own career and the future of professional wrestling as the glitz and glam of Hollywood helped influence the WWF's future of spectacle with Wrestlemania I in 1985. Which also had Hulk Hogan team up with Rocky III co-star Mr. T in a tag team match against Rowdy Roddy Piper and "Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorf. Image:B137.jpg
* After the film, Hulk would use "Eye of the Tiger" as his ring entrance music. A few years later, it would turn to his infamous "Real American," by Rick Derringer.
* Clubber Lang's nickname is the South Side Slugger – and is from Chicago
* Concerning Mr. T, (real name Laurence Tureaud) I have heard many disputes that which feature film was his debut. Many say it was D.C. Cab, but considering copyright years – Rocky III was out a year before it and marks the actor's first time on the big screen. His success would later land him the role of the hard assed/lactose intolerant B.A. Barracus on the A-Team – which also had Hulk Hogan appear as a guest star.

Notable Moments of Emotional Trauma: Why should you see this film? Each and every film, Rocky must overcome some sort of emotional trauma that he must train and beat. Well check out these moments in the film that just make you want to join Rocky's side:

· Rocky announces his retirement at the start of the film, but Clubber pulls him back by saying, "GETTING' OUT WHILE YOU STILL CAN?!"

· Paulie is jealous over Rocky's fame and fortune and smashes a bottle against a Rocky pinball game. He is very upset and reminds Rock of all the things he'd done for him – but what about Paulie? Rock ends up giving him a job as a member of his training team – although he was against it back in Rocky I.

· Mickey Goldmill dies. Perhaps I am a heartless bastard, but when you see and hear Rocky cry over him – it is absolutely hilarious. Almost like a squealing, muttering, stuttering, babbling child with mild speech impediment. I only wish I had it on an audio file right here.

Rocky IV –1985, Written and directed by Sylvester Stallone.

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THE ABSOLUTE CHEESIEST ROCKY FILM OF ALL TIME. Why do you ask? I can think of at least five key points 1) The film opens with two models of boxing gloves, each with it's own respected flag on it. The gloves shoot off at one another like fireworks and EXPLODE into the title ROCKY IV 2) Bill Conti is no longer the composer but Vince DiCola. A classical symphony style score is replaced by a singular man on a keyboard. Perhaps it was because Vince and Stallone both worked on Stayin' Alive together or perhaps Stallone wanted the Rocky franchise to become more updated – with synthesizers 3) over use of freeze frames and dissolves into/out from photographs that create a re-occurring theme of "the still image." 4) Training Montage song "The Burning Heart," by Survivor 5) the whole film is a montage. It reuses SO much previous footage of the other films along with constantly revisiting the fight of Drago vs. Creed. It is so ever cheesily done but it is one of those fun cheesy 80's movies that you just gotta love to watch.

How can you tell this movie is so dated? The symbolism of the Cold War between the fighters especially from Apollo's stand point that this is a war and he is a warrior. Granted, this film is just a huge chunk of 80's anti-commie propaganda that Hollywood musta given Stallone a LOT of money to do. It follows in the likes of Red Dawn, Red Heat and Russkies about the big bad Russians coming to take over. Well now we have (Dolph Lundgren) Captain Ivan Drago, "he is like your Popeye – he eats his spinach." His wife is Bridgett Nielsen and is his PR person (she would eventually end up banging Stallone or more than likely was doing it to earn this role.) Oh, I forgot to mention this film has a wise cracking robot that Rocky Jr. tries to molest (or dance around with depending on your point of view.

Drago has come from the USSR after going through all of the amateur competitions it country has to offer. Drago and his wife have come to American for a real challenge – Rocky Balboa. But Rocky has again planned to retire, so instead, a true representative of the symbol of America, Apollo Creed takes up the challenge. In his mind, it is not just an exhibition, but it's about "us versus them". Apollo pleads to have Rocky by his side in his corner for the big bout in Las Vegas.

As every the performer and stage man that Apollo is, he has James

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Brown introduce him with the song, "Living In America," and a bunch of show girls are all glitzed out as a stunned Drago rises up with the boxing ring. All he can see is Apollo dressed as Uncle Sam and giving him the whole "I Want You," bit he did to Balboa in Rocky II. One can see that Apollo's hubris is his own down fall for again not taking the fight seriously. The match doesn't last very long, and constantly tells Stallone, "Don't throw in the towel, no matter what." Apollo ends up getting pummeled to death, despite this being a simple exhibition match. With Apollo's death on his hands – Stallone feels to blame because he didn't throw in the towel.

For revenge, Rocky challenges the Russian in Moscow on Christmas Day under their terms on their turf. Rocky takes Paulie and Duke with him to help him train while Adriane stays at home and says, "You Can't Win!" Rocky says hes gottas do it anyways, and heads over to Moscow where he trains for the next several weeks in a barn. He ends up coming out leaner than before and screams a top a mountain, "DRAGO!"


The two men fight a grueling fifteen round bout. Rocky again takes A LOT of punishment from his opponent that his head just absorbs. Luckily, Stallone is able to punch Drago just around the eye and is able to cut him – which proves to the people of the world that Drago is not some sort of indestructible machine. In which Drago replies, "He is like piece of iron!" It isn't too long until it becomes an all out slug fest of blood spit and flashbacks appear around the ring. The crowd routes for the under dog and they shout "ROCKY" as Gorbachev gives a disgusted look to Drago's trainers. After a while Drago becomes less obedient from following his official trainers and goes out to win the bout "for me. FOR ME!" and why he fails. Rocky ends up giving a heart felt speech to the people over the world on ending the Cold War and the ramifications of his actions:

"During this fight, I've seen a lot of changing, in the way you feel about me, and in the way I feel about you. In here, there were two guys killing each other, but I guess that's better than twenty million. I guess what I'm trying to say, is that if I can change, and you can change, everybody can change!"


Worthless Tid-Bits of Info: So Rocky IV is all over right? Well no, here is just a bunch of little facts to look for in the fourth Rocky film.

· Drago is a super pumped, steroid filled "superman" that can punch close to 2,000 PSI. The discharge of a shot gun shell at close range is also 2,000 PSI.

· Rocky IV was the most successful (financially) of any of the Rocky films.

· The only film in the Rocky series to not open with the scrolling "Rocky" title

· Balboa's license plate on his Ferrarai says "SouthPaw"

· Brigitte Nielsen was initially brought into cinema thanks to Dino DeLaurentis when she starred as Red Sonja with Arnold Schwarzenegger. Image:Redsonja002.jpg

A year later, she met and married Stallone while simultaneously starring in three films: Rocky IV, Cobra and Beverly Hills Cop II. Two years later they divorce and Gitte would eventually fall for Flavor Flav.

· Drago's nickname in the film is the "Siberian Express"

· Ivan Drago is 6'6" the same as Thunderlips, and why at times the 5'10" Balboa needs to jump up to land a blow on his chin.

· Dolph Lundgren got most of his fame from Rocky IV, but his feature film debut was just prior to this with the James Bond film, A View To A Kill as Venz.

· Apollo Creed has given himself numerous nicknames over the films, Rocky IV includes many of them that even Rocky has to comment: The Master of Disaster, The King of Sting, The Dancing Destroyer and The Count of Monte Fisto

· Once Duke takes over as Rock's official trainer, he officially passes on the Apollo striped trunks to him. Also, Rocky's robe just says, "Balboa," as his image becomes much more patriotic and less Italian Stallion.

· Critics claim the story is full of plot holes, and it doesn't seem to be very Rocky like to box for revenge whereas everything else he has done was for honor.

· Drago only says a handful of lines in the film – each one is monotone and memorable:

You will lose.

If he dies, he dies.

I must break you.

To the end.

* Finally, how you can tell you are watching a cheesy film that falls under the Rocky standards:

Your Villain would go on to star as He-Man and the PunisherImage:Dolph Lundgren 1990.jpg

The director hired the lead female because he liked her work in Red Sonja

There is a wise cracking robot

Exploding boxing gloves

The soundtrack of this film (Kenny Loggins anyone?)

You have someone represent the unsilent majority

Gorbachev cameo

Very evident fore-shadowing, "Don't stop this match, no matter what."

Notable Moments of Emotional Trauma: Why should you see this film? Each and every film, Rocky must overcome some sort of emotional trauma that he must train and beat. Well check out these moments in the film that just make you want to join Rocky's side:

· Apollo Creed dies by the hands of Ivan Drago. It was Stallone's call to throw in the towel, but he didn't to uphold his friend's honor and dignity. Instead, he had Apollo's death on his hands

· Rocky yet again retires or at least comes VERY close of his planned retirement until he needs to extract revenge on the House of Drago.

· Adriane doesn't believe in Rocky, and even claims, "you can't win!" fearful of her husband's own life – Rocky doesn't even have support at home.

· It's technology versus Guerilla training techniques. Drago has the finest equipment and anabolic steroids Mother Russia can offer. Balboa has a barn and KGB constantly on his ass. Oh, but he also has the fueling power of Survivor's theme song.

· Again he is the underdog combating a man who has an entire country behind him. But things change, people change. And if Rocky can change, and you can change – we can all change. A true symbolism to rid the problems of the Cold War at the time. Despite the film opening with exploding boxing gloves.

Rocky V –1990, Written by Sylvester Stallone, Directed by John G. Avidlsen

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THE ABSOLUTE WORST ROCKY FILM OF ALL TIME. I'm not even going to waste my time on this review and I'll try to give you the run down of the key points as fast as possible so that I don't waste your time:

After the fight with Ivan Drago, it's clear that Rocky clearly has brain damage now. He flies back home with his family, and Paulie has mistakenly given the power of attorney to their accountant. The accountant took all of their movie, invested it and lost it. The Balboas have nothing and return to their run down house in Philly. Rock is a local hero now, but his post son, Rocky Jr. is not used to the gritty life style of the streets. He gets beaten up but also befriends a girl. As Rocky Jr. hopes to get training from his dad – the rest of the family goes through many changes.

Adriane goes BACK to her pet shop yet again. Rocky re-opens Mick's gym and trains locals with Paulie as he tries to make a quick buck. A hitch hiker named Tommy Gunn has appeared to Philly in order to get trained by Rocky. Rocky initially rejects him. Within this time, Rocky has a flashback between him and Mick. Avidlsen re-shot some footage between Mick and Rock that takes place just before Rocky's fight with Apollo. Micky tells him he loves him so much, and actually presents Rocky with a boxing glove shaped cuff link he once received from Rocky Marciano.

Rocky eventually ends up training Tommy, and even has him move into Rocky Jr.'s bedroom for a while. "The Kid," gets pushed a side and is denied the attention he strives for SO much from his father. Rocky continues to send his "other boy," through the ranks of the amateur boxing lines and actually starts to box where Rocky fought Spider Rico at the start of Rocky I. Tommy goes through the ranks, but begins to live under Rocky's shadow.

Another promoter starts to work his way into the other characters, George Washington Duke. To say that Duke is NOT a knock off of the then popular promoter Don King is an insult to the intelligences of the American public, especially saying such lines as, "only in America." Duke is SO desperate to get Rocky back in the ring initially from his return from Moscow against the then current contender Union Cane. ADRIANE style="mso-spacerun: yes" the up that and title. Throughout the first half of the film, Duke (not the other Duke you are used to from the earlier films) is constantly trying to get Stallone back in the ring using whatever tactics he can. Stallone turns them down, whether intentionally or out of idiocy and focuses his attention on the rising Tommy "The Machine" Gunn.

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There are struggles at home where Rocky Jr. mixes in with the wrong crowd in order to seek attention. Adriane doesn't know what to do, Paulie continues to be a drunk and Rocky is practically obsessed tried to raise a fighter as Mick had done to him years ago. It isn't too long as Duke starts to worm his way into Tommy's life and lures him with cash, women and a promise at the title. Tommy eventually betrays Rock and goes for the title shot against Cane whom he easily defeats.

At the press conference after his win, the reporters tear Tommy apart and claim he is definitely no champion, Cane was no challenge for him and he is definitely NO Balboa. Duke convinces Gunn that the only way he is going to get out of Balboa's shadow is to defeat the man in the ring and prove to the world that he is the better fighter and ensure his own identity. Gunn calls Rocky out at their local bar and a street fight ensues. Rocky defeats Gunn in the brawl and even pops Duke after he warns him, "Touch me and I'll sue."

Worthless Tid-Bits of Info: So Rocky V is all over right? Well no, here is just a bunch of little facts to look for in the fifth Rocky film.

* The film's writing is probably the most perverse of the others. It contains some low brow jokes, in particular between Rocky and Adrian in a scene:

Rocky: How about I take you upstairs and violate you like a parking meter?

Adrian: It's gonna cost you a quarter.

* Sage Stallone plays Rocky's real life son Rocky Jr. (Robert Jr.)
* Rocky passes the infamous Red/White/Blue striped shorts to Tommy
* Stallone originally intended to have Rocky die off in the street fight against Gunn at the end of the movie. He had second thoughts shortly thereafter and has been quoted as saying, "it woulda been like killing off Superman." Personally, I think it could have made better sense and I would have loved to see Rocky Jr. follow in his dad's foot steps similar to the infamous Greek hero Odyseeus. Rocky VI shoulda been SON OF ROCKY, but Stallone just hadda go a different route.
* Supposedly, pro-wrestling legend Terry Funk helped choreograph the street brawl at the end of the film. Which would definitely make sense because Funk/Stallone had recently worked together on Over the Top, Image:Overthetop.jpg

where Funk beat the crap out of him in that film.

* MANY fans were upset with this film because after all of trials and tribulations that Rocky went through – he ended up back on the streets. The basic formula that was used in Stallone's Rocky films (II-IV) has been changed by Avidlsen and is almost more of a gritty coming of age story. Stallone wasn't too happy with the product and decided to make Rocky Balboa to make the full story come full circle.
* Tommy Gunn is played by real boxer Tommy Morrison. Tommy's nickname in boxing was "The Duke," and why the character in the film shares that same name. He earned the title of "The Duke," from being the grand nephew of John Wayne. Around '95/96 Tommy tested positive with HIV and was forced to retire from boxing. He eventually ended up on drug/weapons possession and drunk driving. Ten years later, he found out that he was given a false HIV test and later proved to the boxing commission that he was HIV NEGATIVE and was able to box again earlier this year.
* Some believe that Tommy would hold his title until Mason "The Line" Dixon comes along because within Rocky Balboa, they say that there were only three champs after Rocky. Well, that could be Cane, Gunn and Dixon.

Notable Moments of Emotional Trauma: Why should you see this film? Each and every film, Rocky must overcome some sort of emotional trauma that he must train and beat. Well check out these moments in the film that just make you want to join Rocky's side:

* Rocky's family loses all of their money and thus starts back in the streets.
* Rocky is constantly taunted to box again, even though he has CLEARLY declared that he has retired due to his medical condition called cavum septum pellucidum.
* Dividing his time between his career as a manager and a father
* Dealing with the betrayal of his student Tommy

Rocky Balboa (Rocky VI) –2006, Written and Directed by Sylvester Stallone. Okay this one wasn't too bad (not too great either) personally it felt as one final hoo-rah in order for Stallone to fix anything that was screwed up in the series from Rocky V which pretty much practically doesn't acknowledge it even in flash backs. The film goes back to using Conti's music and has a much more updated and digital look to the cinematography that makes it stand out from the previous films. It's profits exceeded what most people expected, and some people think it is one of the best since the original. I feel, especially with a lot of the supporting cast elements and location – feels much more like a direct (although extremely aged) sequel to the original. So, Rocky is now close to sixty and Adriane has just passed away four years ago or so. Rocky owns a little restaurant called "Adriane's" where many people come to bask in Rocky's glory days of boxing and eat some good Italian food.

The current heavy weight champion of the world is Mason "The Line" Dixon and is criticized by most fans and sports writers as not a true champion, one that has no true opponents and if he were to face a true opponent of the past – he would lose. A computer simulation is created by Rocky Balboa and Mason Dixon; and based on all stats, consequences, maneuvers, styles – taking everything into consideration – Mason would lose.

Mason catches hold of this news and becomes quite infuriated, whereas Rocky becomes quite flattered. In the midst of all of this sports drama on Dixon's side of the line, Rocky is going through other issues at home. He again tries to rekindle his relationship with his son Robert, hanging out with the former town whore Marie and still coping with the loss of Adriane that brother-in-law Paulie just doesn't help out with. Along the way of all this rekindling of relationships and bonding, Mason's managers propose an exhibition fight with Balboa.

Again, despite much thinking and not taking the offer – he ends up taking the offer after his family and friends get on his side. He hunts down Duke again to help him manage for the ten round exhibition match. The training is tough as Rocky goes through a new strategy of throwing some "hurting bombs" that will devastate Dixon.

The match comes around, just prior to the fight Rocky utters the words, "It's ain't over till it's over." The words ring through the numerous rounds as Rocky proves his worth up against Dixon. He makes it all the way through the tenth round, but Rocky loses by split decision. But winning, much like he did in the original film, wasn't on his mind. He did it to prove he could go the distance – one last time. Rocky walked out of the arena with fans chanting his name. Dixon stayed in the arena to do interviews over his win. Both men proved to the world that they could go the distance – an element that is the re-occurring theme and primary element of the Rocky films.


Worthless Tid-Bits of Info: So Rocky VI is all over right? Well no, here is just a bunch of little facts to look for in the sixth Rocky film.

· Producers tried to get Dolph Lundgren and Mr. T back to reprise their roles but both turned them down – although you can find the both of them in archive footage.

· Talia Shire did not appear in this film to reprise her role of Adrian, some believe it is because you could see a CLEAR age difference between her and Stallone. Trust me, if you thought the two of them together could have been bad; you should see Stallone along with his former co-stars Paulie and Duke – who have SEVERLY aged. Duke is so old now, he has long grey hair over his eyebrows that curls on over.

· · Antonio Tarver is a real life boxer and portrays Mason Dixon

· Rocky Balboa, Duke and Paulie are the only three characters played by the same actors in all six Rocky films.

· If you look closely in Adrian's Restaurant, you can find the Leroy Neiman painting from the end of Rocky III and also three boxing belts which insists that Rocky unified various organizations in boxing.

· The only Rocky film which doesn't open up from the previous film's climatic ending. In fact, the only mention to Rocky V is when Rocky and Rocky Jr. are together and Rock mentions, "home team." His little code word for father and son being best friends forever. Real tight y'know?

· Stallone was able to ret-con the plot hole from Rocky V that had one doctor tell him he had brain damage. Stallone claims that his character never got a second opinion – and if he did, by today's standards; it would have been a mere concussion.

· The DVD release features an alternate ending where Rocky wins by split decision. He is still carried off and proudly walks off into the locker room, but is consistently inter cut with Mason talking about how he "under-estimated his challenger" and learned a lot from that crazy old man. It totally looks like Dixon got his ass handed to him.<>

Notable Moments of Emotional Trauma: Why should you see this film? Each and every film, Rocky must overcome some sort of emotional trauma that he must train and beat. Well check out these moments in the film that just make you want to join Rocky's side:

* Adrian is dead and Rocky is fighting for her to prove he can go the distance.
* Rocky is proving to himself and fans he can STILL go the distance.
* Rocky faces a man about thirty years younger than him – this is the final run to make you believe Rocky has still got it – a whole lotta heart.


SO THAT IS IT! WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ROCKY MOVIE? It would be so much to me is you would post a comment on my blog to state which is your favorite Rocky film and why? Perhaps you feel a connection to it or maybe you enjoy the cheesiness. Let me know and participate!

"Oh no, no,no. I'm not through with you yet Meatball." - Thunderlips

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