“Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done! Now if you know what you’re worth then go out and get what you’re worth. But ya gotta be willing to take the hits, and not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody! Cowards do that and that ain’t you! You’re better than that!”—Rocky Balboa
When I first saw the trailer for Rocky Balboa (read: Rocky VI), I thought, “Oh man, is Stallone out of his mind?” Maybe a little, but that’s the whole point of the film. People can’t believe Rocky would fight one last time, and people couldn’t believe Stallone would make yet another movie in the series at age sixty. That incredulity plays, however, right into the movie’s central conflict and stretch of a plot. Rocky Balboa is an inspiring, albeit, very fictional story. Keep that fiction part in mind when seeing this film, and you’ll leave having watched a very good movie.
The premise of the story is that the current heavyweight champion, Mason “The Line” Dixon, is too dominant for his own good. He can’t find a decent challenger to save his life. Enter an ESPN “computer fight” simulating a win over Dixon by the Italian Stallion. With that, Balboa eventually decides to come out of retirement to fight the champ in an exhibition match, well, because “fighter’s fight.” “When life beats down on you, you take it and keep moving forward.” That’s the essence of the movie’s story and it works very well. It’s got a lot of heart.
Sure, Stallone’s botox ridden face bothered me a bit at the start, but I found myself never growing tired of the engaging dialog and willing the movie to continue. The lines aren’t perfect, but they’re engaging, funny at times, and surprisingly impressive none-the-less. Watching this film made me realize that Rocky serves up a hefty piece of Americana: Classic music, a fighting spirit, and the idea that it ain’t over until it’s over. 4/5 stars from this here blogger, and that’s even excluding the nostalgic factor.