Apparently, some people never know when genug es genug.
It seems that for one member of the Hollywood community, this holiday season
doesn’t have enough of a pall over it, what with the war in Iraq. Sylvester
Stallone has trotted out his aging steroidal Rocky Balboa for yet another
“Rocky Balboa”, (as if not calling it Rocky VI would throw us off the scent,) is
in most aspects simply a rehashing of it’s five predecessors. But the sixty year
old Stallone, doing little to conceal his age, comes off more absurdly than
Mae West did in her last movie, wherein she played a woman half her age. The
rumor is that much of the ‘fancy footwork’ Stallone used in the previous movies
is, in this one, computer enhanced or in some cases, all CGI. Those who were
privy to the sneak preview were made to sign non-disclosure agreements prior to
the screening, so I can’t confirm nor deny that Rocky dies or loses the fight.
No matter. The movie begins dying within the first forty-five minutes, and after
an hour, one wishes it would just stay down for the count. Talia Shire
reprises her role as Adrian, Rocky’s ever-faithful wife, and Burt Young
is also aboard as the irrepressible Paulie. Most conspicuously absent from the
cast are Burgess Meredith, who was spared this indignity by dying and
Sage Stallone, Sly’s real life son, who declined to appear in the film and is
replaced by Milo Ventimiglia. Small wonder, since the dialogue is so bad
in some cases, one is wont to pity the actors who have to recite it.
The most outrageous part of this meshugas is the cameo appearance of Mike
Tyson, who’s part was so obviously added as ‘fluff’ that in a perverse way,
it’s almost laughable. During the reception that followed the screening, it was
generally agreed that everyone expected Tyson to bite someone, which would have
at least made for some continuity in the film. The excessive use of flashbacks
does little more than distract and confuse the audience. The two saving graces
this film can boast about are the music, and the final scenes, which were truly
impressive. The cinematography was also superior to the other films, again
possibly because of the extensive use of computer graphics.
In the end, I was a little saddened by this film. Not only because it will
clearly be the last in the series, but because there’s nothing more tragic than
an over-the-hill pugilist trying to relive former glories, unless it’s an aging
star trying to play one. The idea of a sixty-year-old man in such a role is
pathetic, no matter how good shape he’s in. It’s the classic case of the spirit
being willing but the flesh being weak….and saggy, and wrinkled. I’m sorry I
went to see this one, because I grew up liking Rocky, and to see him as he was
in this one was like Dorothy finding out that the great and powerful Oz was just
a carnival barker behind a green curtain. In my opinion, Stallone should have
let Rocky slip into the realm of American folklore, and spared him the agony of
this slow, lingering death.
Have a great 2007!