Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Rocky Balboa review

So I'll throw this up here as a Wednesday night bonus. Perhaps this will carry over as Thursday's hotness. I'll leave that up to y'all. But I certainly encourage new hotness for Thursday (Freak, that means you). Or if you all want to use this as the starting point for 300 more comments, go nuts.

I just got back from the 7:35 showing of Rocky Balboa. Before I go on with the review, I'll fill you in on a few personal things with me regarding the Rocky series.

I'll admit this at the risk of being viewed as a bit of a sap. But then again, it's the Rev writing this. So that won't surprise you.

There is only one movie in the world that actually makes me feel emotional at the end. In fact, it damn near makes me want to cry. I don't know why it does, but I guarantee you it will get to me every time. I'm helpless against it.

That movie is the first Rocky.

Again, I have no idea. I've watched damn sad movies in my day, and I've watched much more emotional movies. Rocky is not a sad movie. It has a lot of emotion at the end, but there are far more emotional movies.

I can't explain it. And I will never try to explain it. It just hits home with me.

I won't say Rocky is my all-time favorite movie. I would put the Godfather above it. I would put Goodfellas up there. I'd put Shawshank Redemption there. And for years, I've always considered The Color of Money my favorite movie. I still do.

But none of those movies hit me like Rocky does. It's got a special category all to itself in my world. No other movie chokes me up like this. Go figure.

And we all know the theme song. And we all know when he runs up the steps. And to this day... chills! I still get them when I see it. Feel free to play this in another browser while reading this to get the feeling.

I never got to see Rocky in the theater or Rocky II. But I saw them on TV. And I saw Rocky's III, IV, and V in the theater. I actually liked V at first. At the time, it was 1994, I was in college in Boston, and a little homesick. So the opportunity to see Rocky V on the big screen and the fact that they brought it back to Philadelphia was a big deal to me. Now that I am older, I realize that it was far from cinematic genius. But I will still watch it. It's corny enough to be entertaining to me.

So that's my story. Now, here's my honest review.

Like most of you, when I originally heard he was doing this movie, I actually laughed too. I didn't think it was a good idea at all, and I thought he was silly for doing it. But I knew if it came out, I would go see it just because. And even if it was a train wreck, I would just write off those two hours of my life.

Well, I've given up thsoe two hours now. And I'll tell you what...

I liked it. I liked it a lot.

Maybe I am biased. But I tried to go into the movie with a mindset to judge it as much as I would any other movie. And to my surprise, it held it's own

Here's another opinion. My lady who didn't grow up surrounded by the Rocky hype like I did, but did eventually watch Rocky when she came to America, said after the movie tonight, "I'm surprised I liked it so much."

It's nowhere near as corny as the last three Rocky movies. In fact, a lot of it is a little sad. You really see the Rocky character in a different light for a good portion of the movie. He looks like a guy who's been beaten up over the years not only physically but by life as well. It's believable. And you feel for his character. Unlike V where they basically turned the Rocky character into more of a clown, they made him much more human this time.

There's a lot of reminiscing. And two former characters from the first Rocky reappear as important characters this time. You might not expect the ones who reappear. I'll leave it to you to see the movie. Of course, a few characters you would expect appear such as good ol' Paulie. Burt Young was made for that role. He still is.

I won't go heavily into plot. I'm assuming you basically know the premise. And I won't tell you how it ends.

I'll let you in on one small cameo... Skip Bayless has two lines in it. And he plays an asshole. Which means, he plays himself.

But I'm sure you want to know this much... how does the boxing scene look?

Again, surprisingly, that part of it is pretty good. They do the boxing scenes just like it was an HBO PPV. Larry Merchant and Jim Lampley play significant parts as the announcers with Max Kellerman. Michael Buffer has his part too. They use real referees and judges. They use all the HBO bells and whistles. It really looks like you are watching it on TV. The boxing itself looks pretty good. It's probably a little more violent than a real match. There are a few points where you think to yourself that in real life it would be stopped. But it goes on. Yet, it is pretty believable boxing action. Antonio Tarver is not much of an actor. But he does his job in the boxing scene.

I'm not going to sit here and tell you that it's the best movie of 2006. I'm not going to gush over it. I wouldn't expect you to take me seriously if I did that. But I'll tell you the truth. The movie is pretty good. It's not going to waste your life to go see it. In fact, I think you might like it if you give it a chance.

And watching it in a full theater in Philadelphia makes a big difference. Yes it's true. Philadelphia takes this movie series a little more seriously. There were many moments of audible cheering during the fights. When the movie began, the theater erupted. And at the end, it got a long ovation.

During the previews, the guys near me were yelling out Rocky lines. And not the easy lines like "Yo Adrian". They would rock out a line like "Yo, take her to the zoo! I hear retards like the zoo!"

Yeah, we're crazy in Philly.

And this might be the most telling thing about this movie for me. The music still gives me chills. They jazzed it up a bit with some saxophone. But it's still got that chill factor for me.

You do have to get over a couple of things. We are supposed to forget that Rocky was diagnosed with brain damage in V, yet in this movie he passes the doctors' tests to eventually get his license back. We are also supposed to believe that not only will an entire bar watch a computerized fight, but will cheer for it as well.

And yes, I do agree with SG that it does seem like many of the lines are a "cry for help" from Stallone. Yet, somehow, the fact that it seems like Stallone is saying these lines from his own heart like they apply to him as well makes the movie interesting to me. It's a unique look at him as well. A little corny a few times, yes. But in some spots of the movie it actually works well.

The reviews have been good for this movie. And it deserves the good reviews. Go see it with my blessing.

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