Welcome to this blog of my film reviews. Some have been drafted carefully on paper, others I have sat and typed. I'm going to make it clear right now that I don't expect you to agree with my (re)views, or to like my style of writing. However, I want my views to be just out there and open, as a person who wishes to express himself from deep within. Feel free to comment and debate with me, but I do ask that you are civil and not harsh, as any comments which are basically swear words and insults will automatically be deleted. Also any text that is in orange (and often bold) is a Hyperlink to either a source, or a previous post for background reference.
Sunday, 27 March 2011
Three years after becoming the World Heavyweight Champion, Rocky (Sylvester Stallone) loses the title to newcomer Clubber Lang (Mr. T), on the same night manager and old friend Mickey (Burgess Meredith) dies. Determined to make Mickey proud and reclaim his title the ever aging boxer starts training with old rival Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers), who wants a**hole Lang to be knocked off his high horse just as much as Rocky does.
Ultimately this is a rehash of the quite decent Rocky II (1979), as we see Rocky having to overcome obstacles to take down an opponent who greatly outmatches him. In Rocky II he has to overcome being blind in one eye, while here he has to overcome the fact he is getting older and more out of shape. The unoriginality generally results in the film becoming quite predictable, and after watching Rocky II the night before I watched this I genuinely saw a lot of what was going to happen. Such unoriginality results in the actors churning out almost identical performances, as one-sided as their previous performances, with nothing convincing about the emotions they convey on screen - Stallone couldn't even make Rocky's upset over Mickey's death convincing.
To make up for this Stallone chucks in a couple of (failed) attempts at surprise factor. Here Rocky is actually semi-intelligent and suave, as opposed to the borderline caveman in Rocky II, which doesn't work as it is a complete contrast and surely he would have lost more brain cells since then, although some do argue that maybe Apollo knocked some sense into him in their last fight. And here Rocky is trained by Apollo to be more graceful and quick on his feet for the rematch against Lang. Although this could be seen as quite realistic, as it is a skill surely most boxers would need at some point, it is hammed up so much that when coupled with Rocky's strength the Italian Stallion is like Superman doing the ballet. So, generally this surprise factor falls completely as it just looks so stupid, and is hammed up beyond belief. I just found myself watching and shaking my head at how ridiculous it was.
On the upside the fighting itself is quite intense and very brutal. The amount of passion put into his fight scenes with Stallone is the only decent thing Mr. T does in his performance, and his passion and determination to win makes him a truly brutal fighter. If you think Weathers was brutal as Apollo then you're in for a huge surprise, as Mr. T makes Weathers look like a pussycat. These fights are so bloody and violent you can't help but watch on tenderhooks, not knowing who to support. Although you know you want Rocky to win - and know he'll eventually win - you just can't help but want Lang to be the victor once the fight has begun, as although he is an a**hole you can't help but be drawn in by the passion and brutality of his fighting.
However, all in all this is very disappointing, especially when you think that about how Rocky II was a rather decent sequel. No longer triumphant as the whole triumph from overcoming obstacles theme gets overkill here, even the brutality of the fighting scenes don't make up for the rest of the film.
Stars: Sylvester Stallone, Talia Shire, Mr. T, Carl Weathers, Burt Young, Burgess Meredith, Tony Burton, Bill Baldwin, Stu Nahan, Ian Fried, Hulk Hogan.
Oscar nomination: Best Original Song (Eye of the Tiger - Jim Peterik, Frankie Sullivan).