I was born a little late in life to of enjoyed the Rocky saga when it first hit the streets. I’ve always heard the Rocky related jokes and comments but they never really made much sense to me having not seen any of the movies. All that recently changed with the release of Rocky Balboa the 6th and final Rocky movie. I’d just got back from a hard days sparring and was crashing out on the sofa with dinner when I saw that Rocky was just about to start on Sky Movies. Then I realised it was a Rocky marathon with 1-5 being shown back to back. My options for the evening where work and get that almost late project completed or watch the Rocky marathon. Welcome to my mini guide of the Rocky movies
This is when I was at my most skeptical about watching Rocky, I was still 50/50 on whether to switch channels. The movie starts with Rocky doing one of the things that he does best, ruffing up some money owing punk going home to live in squalor
We get introduced to his future bride Adrian,his best friend Pauly, Adrians brother and Mickey, Rockys trainer. We also meet a young girl called Marie who Rocky tries to set straight by telling her that she’ll be remembered as a whore. Clearly not liking his advice Marie says goodbye in style:
Hey Rocky! Screw you, creepo!
The plot line is that Apollo Creed, the worlds current heavy weight boxing champion gets let down for his upcoming fight spectacle and no one else will fight him as all the white boxers are too scared to lose to a black man, remember it’s 70s America. Apollo being the rocket scientist that he is decides to fight an unknown underdog fighter. He personally picks Rocky based off his fighting name “The Italian Stallion”. We see the slow build up to the montage scene where Rocky gives it his all in training including him beating the meat hehe and then after the first montage he gives 110% in the fight against Apollo, another neat montage
This was a good introduction to the world of Rocky, it shows you everyone that is important in the saga and sets the pace for the future movies. You meet the street choir who hang around burning bins singing as well as Butkus the dog. The lead singer in the choir is Stallones younger brother and Butkus was his real-life pet.
My favorite quote from Rocky is pretty rank to watch but also pretty cool:
Cut me, Mick, cut me
Rocky II (1979)
The movie starts with him and Adrian blowing all the money he got from the first fight which then leaves them broke again. He tries to make it big with advertising but due to his six year old reading skills, his slack jaw speech and his short temper he gets fired. Rocky and Adrian get married which leads Rocky to try living the normal life with him getting a desk job. Unfortunately for him but fortunate for us he’s a few cookies short of a jar and no one thinks he’s smart enough to shuffle stacks of paper all day.
While Rockys going through his own little job-seekers hell, Apollo is having his own bad time keeping his reputation in check. People from all over the world are sending him hate mail over his fight with Rocky and his pride is taking a bashing. He decides a rematch is in order but Rocky is against it. Apollo comes up with the great idea of publicly mocking Rocky at every opportunity. As you might of guessed Rocky eventually changes his mind and the rematch of the century takes place, “Apollo Creed vs The Italian Stallion”.
I think this movie would of been a bit weak on it’s own but as part of the saga it works really well since it sets up more of Rockys personal life which becomes his drive in later movies. Rockys first major weekness is revealed which is a dodgy eye from his fight with Apollo in the first movie. One of my favorite quotes from this movie is:
This guy just don't want to win you know. He wants to bury you, he wants to humiliate you, he wants to prove to the whole world that you was nothing but some kind of a... a freak the first time out.
Rocky III (1982)
Who can’t love this movie? It has Rocky and Apollo working together as a team to train Rocky to fight non other than Mr T aka Clubber Lang. The re-occuring theme tune for this movie is “The Eye of the Tiger” which is also something Apollo tells Rocky that he has lost and needs to get back. The plot goes a little something like this: Rocky is the champ, he keeps getting challenged and he keeps on winning. He announces his retirement but one competitor isn’t very pleased with that: Clubber Lang. Mickey forbids the fight but Clubber winds Rocky up with this classic line:
Clubber Lang: [Calling to Adrian; Smooth talks]
Hey, Woman. Hey, Woman! Listen here. Since your old man ain't got no heart, maybe you like to see a real man. I bet you stay up late every night dreamin' you had a real man, don't ya? I'll tell you what. Bring your pretty little self over to my apartment tonight, and I'll show you a real man.
Rocky agrees to fight him against Mickeys wishes and gets his ass kicked. Mickey dies due to heart failure just after Rockys match. I reckon it was murder or manslaughter since he gets super ill just after Clubber throws him across the room. Apollo offers to help train Rocky to beat Clubber in trade for an untold favour later on.
This movie was pretty awesome. Even before Mr T gets properly involved in the storyline Rocky has an exhibition fight with the world wrestling champion Thunderlips aka Hulk Hogan. This fight on it’s own was worth watching the movie and in real-life got Hulk Hogan banned from the WWF. All that being said it’s also one of the campest Rocky movies. It’s the first and only (I think) Rocky movie where him and Apollo wear crop-tops then there’s the slow motion playing together on the beach scene and then finally at the end Apollos “Ding Ding”
What's your prediction for the fight?
Yes, your prediction.
[Clubber looks into camera]
Rocky IV (1985)
This was a pretty lame movie, Rocky (America) vs Drago (Russia). Pure cold war propoganda junk. Russia declares that it’s going to start entering it’s fighters in the world boxing arena and Apollo decides he wants a crack at showing the world that democracy can win against communism being the patriot that he is. This doesn’t quite go to plan with him being killed in the ring and all
Even though Rocky has retired again he vows to defeat Drago and avenge Apollo in a non sanctioned match. He travels to Russia along with Pauly and Apollos trainer Duke and starts his intensive training to beat Russias ultimate fighter. Russia on the other hand uses it’s ultra advanced computer technology along with some steroids to improve their fighter.
The fight takes place in Russia where an entirely partisan crowd heckle Rocky as he walks to the ring. Over the course of the fight Rocky wins over the crowd and by the end they’re all cheering for him.
I see three of him out there.
Hit the one in the middle.
Right! Hit the one in the middle.
Rocky V (1990)
Being the original final in the saga this movie does a good job of wrapping up loose ends. It starts off where the the previous movie ends with Rocky and the gang getting back to America as heros. Almost as soon as they’re on the ground and giving the first interview about their Russian adventure George Washington Duke a devious fight promoter interrupts and challenges Rocky to fight his next ultimate boxer Union Cane. Adrian announces that Rocky has definately, ultimately and postively retired from boxing.
Unfortunately for them they’re now broke heros as Pauly gave power of attourney to their dodgy accountant while they where in Russia and he lost all their cash due to bad investments. This moves Rocky, Adrian, Rocky Jnr (his real life son) and Pauly all back to where they first lived. This is quite a change for Rockys kid since he was used to living in the mansion and having his pet robot follow him around.
Due to an injury that Drago inflicted Rocky and Adrian have to go to hospital where it’s revealed that Rocky now suffers from irreversible brain damage, hehe there’s a surprise
Rocky agrees with Adrian that he won’t fight anymore and so he takes over Mighty Mickeys gym and helps train the next generation of fighters. Meanwhile, a new young punk fighter Tommy Gunn arrives on the scene and wants Rocky to manage him. Rocky refuses at first but is eventually persuaded. Tommy moves in at Rockys house and they begin their intensive training. Whilst this is going on Rocky Jnr is given the cold shoulder and has to sit by and watch his “Home team” get sidelined. Instead of taking this sitting down he decides to become a street punk, get a girly ear-ring and start smoking n cussing.
Tommy becomes a sell out and starts fighting for George Washington Duke the devious fight premoter. Tired of living in Rockys shadow his ambition takes control and he turns on Rocky. Instead of settling things with a sanctioned ring fight Tommy decides to challenge Rocky out on the street. Surrounded by a large group of Rocky supporters this fight was only ever going to go one way.
You don't own me! You don't own me! Nobody does! I want my respect.
Well come and get it!
This was one of the best fights in the saga from a graphical point of view. It had slow-mos, it had cops standing by watching the fight, it had audience participation, it had black and white style shots and to top it all it even had flash-backs to Mickey:
Get up you son of a bitch! 'Cause Mickey loves you!
Rocky Balboa (2006)
After watching the first 5 movies on Sky I decided to that I had to wrap it up by watching the newest Rocky film. Rocky Balboa has been retired for a long time and runs his own restaraunt “Adrians”. Adrian is dead and Rocky Jnr is all grown up and wearing a suit and tie.
The current heavy weight champion is Mason Dixon who just walks all over anyone who challenges him. He’s so good that his fans start to turn on him since he KOs his opponents so quickly that there’s nothing to watch. When a computer simulation pits Mason against Rocky and our champ comes out on top Masons managers setup an exhibition fight against Rocky.
Remember our ever so friendly Marie from Rocky I? Well she’s back, she’s older, wiser and has a son. Rocky takes a shine to her and offers her a job, bringing light into her life
This movie ties up all the remaining loose-ends, we get to see how being called Rocky Jnr makes you a sour bitter person. We get to see what retired world champs can do after their time is up and we get to find out what happened to little Marie.
Rocky gets Duke back to train him up, Rocky Jnr quits his job to spend more time with the old man while he’s training and Pauly gets fired so he has all the time in the world to hang around Rocky saying depressing things.
The fight is held at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas:
Lotta people come to Vegas to lose... I didn't
The current champ clearly thinks he’s getting in the ring with a geriatric and has nothing to worry about. Rocky on the other hand is well aware of his disadvantages and so has been working to a different strategy than usual, brute force. The fight gets introduced by my all time favorite fight announcer Michael Buffer – “Lets get ready to rumble!”.
Hey yo, champ. Aren't you a little scared?
I don't get scared.
Rocky Balboa: [turns and walks away with his son]
You know i think you try harder when your scared... That's when its worked best for me.
All in all this was a nice ending for the Rocky saga. After watching all the films I have to say that I now think Rocky is kinda cool. Before I thought it was a bit lame and dated. I think watching each movie at the time it came out might of left me a bit dissapointed but as a marathon they tie together really well, even that whole Russian affair fits in. If you haven’t seen any of the Rocky movies and you see them coming to a movie channel near you then I highly recommend you find the time to watch them. They’ll make you laugh, they’ll make you cringe and by the end of it you’ll be routing for Rocky
I’d like to use my favorite quote from the entire Rocky series as the closer to this review, it was mainly used in the first movie at the end of the main fight:
Adrian, Adriaaaaaaan, Adriaaaaaaaaaaan, Adriaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan!