Pros: Stallone, Story, Direction, Supporting Cast, Music
Cons: A bit slow but worth waiting for
Rocky Balboa (2006)
The Rocky story has spanned a half dozen films and three decades and this one Rocky 6 or as it is really called Rocky Balboa is the next best to the original Oscar winning Rocky.
This one shows an old has-been fighter like George Foreman can make a comeback as long as he has heart. You are only finished when you think you are.
The fighter is old and is living only on his memories now. It's hard to believe he has been champeen of the world with his modest Philadelphia dwelling and quiet life. He goes outside and does a few creaky pull ups in the backyard and then goes to the cemetery where he sits at Adrian's grave all day. His buddy Paulie (Burt Young) shows up at graveside. But Rocky sees a computer matchup between him at his prime and the current heavyweight champ Mason "The Line" Dixon (Antonio Tarver) and it comes out like the "match" between Marciano and Cassius Clay-Mohammed Ali back in the 60s. In other words, the old experienced boxer beats the upstart champ, according to the computer.
Meanwhile Dixon has beaten every hack fighter in the heavyweight lineup and has no credible challengers and his old trainer gives him some advice - he needs to pay his dues and fight some real fighter who won't back up or stop swinging. Then he will find the fortitude within (or not) and he will regain his pride - and the only thing that matters - self respect. Rocky goes in front of the boxing commission and applies for a license and gets turned down after dotting every I and crossing every T. He gives a great speech that you will have to hear because he gives it to them with both barrels and gets them to relent and give him the license. So now Rocky has his upcoming bout and Dixon is happy to get some credible competition even though it is a 60-year old has-been.
So Rocky got his license and goes into heavy training with a big montage set to the Rocky theme and of course the audience really gets into that part as he lifts weights, punches the bag, runs up steps, and does all sorts of feats of strength and endurance.
To slow him down a bit he has Paulie (Burt Young) and his son, Robert (Milo Ventimiglia), a young stockbroker with a chip on his shoulder, hating on his dad these two act as negative influences but Rocky is too upbeat to listen. He also meets a girl Little Marie (Geraldine Hughes) from one of the earlier movies who has a young grown son. He operates a restaurant called Adrian's like a good old retired fighter should. Jack Dempsey did it. Rocky tells the spellbound customers the Apollo Creed story over and over like a good celebrity.
The big fight scene is excellent and Stallone has a lot of pep for a 60 year-old. Antonio Tarver is a real boxer as Stallone cast quite a few actual working people for the film. This adds some realism and even though the ending is a draw - Rocky goes out with his head held high and new respect from Mason Dixon, who he also helped gain his self respect. They part friends and Little Marie is waiting for Rocky, too. Yo, Marie - Little Marie ...
The Sony DVD is presented in color in 1.85:1 theatrical format with a 102 minute running time. There are lots of special features including a good quality commentary by writer, director, and star Sylvester Stallone, bloopers, deleted scenes, several "making of" featurettes making a very impressive package for your home video collection.