ISSUE #8 FEB 06

Geoffrey Wilkinson

Rocky

14th June 2005
Rokcky reviewer: Geoffrey Wilkinson
rating: 4 out of 5
directed by: John G. Avildsen
written by: Sylvester Stallone
starring: Sylvester Stallone, Talia Shire, Burt Young, Carl Weathers, Burgess Meredith
genre:
released: TBC

Every once in a while I like to get hold of one of the movies that people consider classics. I have seen my fair share of films – some would argue I have seen too many – so it annoys me when people are talking about a film that I haven’t seen, especially when they look at me incredulously if I say that I haven’t seen it. Rocky is one of these films.

Not really knowing much about the film, apart from that it stars Sylvester Stallone and it’s about boxing (oh, and it has spawned many sequels), I approached it quite fresh. I was, on the whole, happy with what I found.

Stallone's character seemed to have quite a conflicted personality; on the one hand he was trying to keep kids off the street and trying his hardest to get a young lady pet shop worker to notice him, and on the other he was hired muscle for a loan shark – although even here he tried to make an effort to make people’s lives better.

The story starts with Rocky as a failing boxer. His glory days as “the Italian Stallion” are behind him and he has not kept up an effective training regime. He has also been shunned by his local gym and his frequent visits to the pet shop are met by a stony silence. At the same time Apollo Creed, the World Heavyweight Champion at the time, is preparing for a title fight but his opponent pulls out. Looking for a marketing gimmick Creed decides to give the chance to an unknown and settles on the Italian Stallion as a name that will draw the crowds. Rocky is called in and initially believes he is being recruited as a sparring partner, but when the reality dawns on him he decides to take the shot and begins training fiercely.

While he is training, a lot of the community get behind Rocky and show their support – much to Rocky’s confusion since not long before, the same people were ignoring him completely. He is determined to win the fight by himself, but is happy that the girl from the pet shop has started talking to him and they are getting along quite well. The final fight of the film is intense and the ending was very powerful but was not as predictable as I was expecting.

With a well-considered story and a pleasant romantic sub-plot this film scores highly. I would enjoy watching it again; it's not a film that requires lots of analysis, but one with the message that everyone has a chance at success – as long as they live in America.

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