The Magic is Back
Normally I do not do movie reviews on this blog unless it has something to do (if only indirectly) with biblical studies, but because I have always been a big Rocky fan I feel compelled to say something about the most recent installment of the series entitled Rocky Balboa. When I first heard about another Rocky film in the works a little over a year ago, I initially had somewhat mixed feelings on the matter. Being a Rocky fan I was both excited and anxious at the prospect of another film, yet I could not shake the memory of the lackluster fifth film of the series which just wasn't that palatable. Thus, I was a bit concerned that Stallone would be unable to recapture the magic that has characterized the Rocky franchise, especially that of the original film (which won best picture in 1976).
But as I watched the film last night those concerns gradually dissipated. The movie was remarkably well done and Stallone, in my opinion at least, managed to recapture that magic. I know that it sounds silly but when Rocky stepped into the ring with Mason Dixon I became overwhelmed with nervousness for the Italian Stallion. It was at that point that I realized the movie had really worked. I am not going to give away plot details here but both the script and the acting were excellent. The movie parallels the storyline of the first film and so I would encourage those of you who are planning to see this one to rewatch the first film. My only gripe with the film is that it is too short (without the credits run time is just over an hour and a half). If it had been a little longer there could have been more of a build up to the final fight. This is the only aspect of the film that I felt needed work. The brief work up to the fight also resulted in a short training montage. For me, one of the pleasures of the Rocky films has been the training scenes and I just thought this one was too short. Nevertheless, Rocky Balboa succeeds in wrapping up this beloved series and I can only commend Stallone for the excellent writing, directing, and acting he did for this final Rocky movie. Therefore, I heartily recommend it.