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Sunday, 31 January 2010

Review: Rocky Balboa (12A) ★★★★

Rocky Balboa comes out of retirement to step into the ring for the last time and face the heavyweight champ Mason 'The Line' Dixon.


Who is the greatest? Who is the best of all time? This is the question that pulls Rocky Balboa out of retirement one last time.

Thirty years ago, a film about an underdog fighter from Philadelphia rocked the world with the heart, grit and determination of its namesake's desire to succeed.

Now, the bell chimes for the long awaited final round of the Rocky saga. Many, including myself, were disillusioned by the lazy and tired outing of Rocky V. Stallone himself was as nervous as his audience to learn how his redemption piece would be received on December 20th this year at its premiere.

As a true fan of the Rocky series, I am pleased to say that the sixth installment definitely goes the distance.

In stark contrast to the latter Rocky films, "Rocky Balboa" heads back to its Philadelphia roots and concentrates on character development and dialogue rather than flashy training sequences and a barely concealed morale showcase.

Stallone - Sixty in real life, does not receive the Hollywood make-over treatment and this serves to add gravity and emotion to the ex-champions last outing in the scarred and weary face of Rocky Balboa. Rather than suspending disbelieve, the film focuses on reality and makes no secret that Rocky is past his prime.

Where this film shines through is in the excellent script (again written and directed by Stallone) and its emphasis on its characters. A strong supporting cast (Pauly, Duke, Marie) add much needed depth to Balboa's story and Stallone himself plays the haunted, grief filled, past-obsessed widower to great effect.

As the film builds to its dramatic conclusion, the comparisons to the original 1976 blockbuster are apparent to both the casual viewer and hardcore fans alike and as such should appeal to both movie buffs and Rocky followers in unison.

In addition to its excellent script, character acting and ability to once again capture the imagination of its audience, "Balboa" also has the powerful original score from Bill Conti, and it is this, along with the emotionally charged dialogue that will keep you hooked until the very last punch.

Whether you are a fan of the original, or, are merely curious as to whether Stallone can resurrect a legacy after sixteen years, I urge you to see this film.

Stallone has managed to carry the Balboa story to a dignified and human ending, and for that, I say "It ain't over, till its over".

Are you ready for a rematch?....

Review Submitted and Rated by: Dave Gledhill


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