It can be interesting, when watching a movie in a series, to see how the series slowly evolves over time. With Rocky III, I’ve now seen the first half of the Rocky series, and I think I could safely be called a fan at this point; I have yet to encounter one I didn’t like, and like quite a bit. But Rocky III is definitely a different film than its predecessors, and if I had to make a guess, probably a bit of a turning point in the nature of the series. I gather Rocky IV involves Rocky taking on a villainous Russian boxer, and I can’t really picture that happening without this film altering the tone just a bit from the earlier ones.
Part of the change has to do with it being made in 1982. It’s early in the decade, but the 1980s influence is obvious from the beginning. Fireworks are going off, celebrating Rocky’s win against Apollo Creed in Rocky II. “Eye of the Tiger”, by Survivor — a song written for the movie which is probably as well known as the franchise itself by this point — plays over a montage of Rocky’s rising fame. Where the original Rocky was a bit grubby and gritty, Rocky III starts off slick and polished. Even when it shows a rough neighborhood later on, it’s still a 1980s rough neighborhood, with the sense that the characters are more at risk of an outbreak of boomboxes than violence. Continue reading →
As I mentioned when I reviewed the original Rocky, when I obtained the DVD of that film, it was part of a double feature with the first of the sequels. Having it close to hand, I knew I wasn’t going to wait too long to bust out Rocky II and see how well it held up to the first. Well, it seems like three weeks was about as long as it took for me to decide that it was time.
As with the first one, Sylvester Stallone wrote the script for Rocky II; unlike the first, this time he also directs, the studio apparently having been convinced he knows what he’s doing after all. Writing an Oscar-winning movie will do that for you sometimes. Naturally, Stallone reprises his role as Rocky, and all the other major actors from the film return as well. Talia Shire returns as Adrian, and Burt Young as her brother Paulie. Burgess Meredith returns as Rocky’s trainer, Mickey. And Carl Weathers returns as Apollo Creed… who has decided he very much wants a rematch against Balboa. Continue reading →
I may have made mention before that although I am a movie fan and now write a movie-reviewing blog, there are a great many classic films that I have never seen myself. That’s part of the reason why this blog is so heavy on older films; I’m taking the opportunity to fill in those gaps that — according to film critics, fellow movie fans, and pop culture in general — I really ought not to have. One of those gaps is Rocky. I have never seen a Rocky movie. Any Rocky movie. In my defense, the first one came out in 1976, a few years before I was born.
Obviously this is an omission that couldn’t stand. Rocky is perhaps the most critically acclaimed sports movie around, and is one of the few that is seriously touted as being an entertaining film even for people who aren’t fans of the sport in question. It’s also the film that really put Sylvester Stallone on the map, and hey, who doesn’t like Stallone? I spotted a double feature DVD at a used video store, and I couldn’t pass up the chance to acquire the first two Rocky films for less money than it would cost to rent one. I have no qualms at all about this film being in my collection, especially now that I’ve finally seen it. Continue reading →