Friday, January 1, 2016

Rocky (1976) - 8 stars out of 10

Rocky (1976) - 8 stars out of 10

“Rocky” is a classic, but the classics aren’t always perfect.  This movie is consistently ranked as one of the greatest sports films of all time and I agree.  From the moment that the opening fanfare plays, you will be looking forward to the ending fight.  But the exciting finale may keep you from remembering exactly what happened in the middle.  First, the acting of Sylvester Stallone, Burgess Meredith, Talia Shire (in her one scene where she gets to show a ton of emotion), and Burt Young is top notch as it drives the underdog story.  The most dynamic actor is Carl Weathers as the outspoken Apollo Creed.  His well-spoken nature is a stark contrast to Rocky’s uneducated manner of speaking.  This is where the script leaves a lot to be desired.  I understand that Rocky is a simple character whose lack of intellect requires simple language but, after an hour of 4-word exchanges, it feels like Stallone should have spent more than three days writing the script.  I strongly disagree with the film’s Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay but agree with the rest, particularly Best Sound Mixing, four acting nominations (though I question whether Shire would’ve been nominated if she wasn’t already well-known for her role in the Godfather series), and the win for Best Film Editing.  The boxing sequences are what make this film special and they are woven together in a way that is exciting yet easy to follow.  The film’s downfall is that there isn’t any training or boxing in the first hour of the movie.  Sometimes the character development can be more interesting than the actual fighting, but not when you have the aforementioned simple script.  “Rocky” is an iconic underdog story whose classic training montage and boxing showdown created a beloved film character and help us to forget its pedestrian dialogue.

[Pictured: Rocky's boxing sequences are vivid and bring the violent sport to life]

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