ESPN's The Sports Guy claims that Rocky Balboa is a love-it-or-hate-it movie. No, it's a love-it-and-hate-it movie. Hate the beginning, love the ending. As one of his readers suggests:
Went and saw "Rocky Balboa" tonight with a group of five friends. We pretty much all agreed that the first hour of this movie was absolutely awful with some of the worst acting caught on film. However, the last 30-40 minutes were highly entertaining and extremely well done. This got me thinking that the movie should have two start times. There should be the regular time when the movie actually starts and the time when the training scenes begin. They can even rope off a section of seats in the theater for those that only want to see the quality portion of the movie. -- Bret, New York
That's an excellent idea. The first hour is highly depressing, the rest is full of awesome hurtin' bombs, and Val's favorite part was Rocky's dog, and that's all you need to know.
We find Rocky living off his restaurant, called Adrian's, of course, where he wears the same red blazer and tells the same boxing stories to adoring patrons who could care less how well Mexicans cook Italian food.
Adrian's dead, but don't worry, she and Rocky's grown-up boy (Peter on "Heroes") is there to be the wet blanket and tell Rocky he can't do it. Thank goodness Rocky meets Marie, who is actually supportive of Rocky, the Bizarro Adrian.
Rocky's brain damage from V? Gone! Well, except for his stream of consciousness. Rocky's got two extra-long soliloquy's that go on and on in circles and say nothing, and are barely intelligible.
I actually felt sorry for Mason Dixon, played by real-life boxing champion Antonio Tarver. The guy seems like a decent fellow; he says the right things and wants to do right, but his agents are a-holes and the crowds are taking it out on him that boxing is weak nowadays and there's no real competition.
Bill Conti's memorable music is worth three-quarters of any praise. If you can't get pumped when the training montage starts, check your pulse. Seeing Rocky get cheers from the crowd during and after his final bout is worth the other quarter. The first half of the film, though, is three-fifths depressing, one-fifth compelling and one-fifth as boring as fractions.
The big fight itself is disappointing. What should be exciting and fingernail-biting, is instead confusing, heavily edited and full of surreal color changes, camera tilts and flashbacks.
Doesn't matter in the end. Mondo chill moment at the end as Rocky basks in the cheers of the crowd. I admit, I might have gotten some popcorn dust in my eye. The theater was a little blurry.
Get the DVD, skip ahead, and cheer Rocky for the last time. Hopefully.