Issue: 8.01
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Hi Gang, and greetings from Hollywood!

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 predictable round.

“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!

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