Rocky: the Undisputed Collection
Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone), a Philadelphia boxer, is but one step removed from total bum-hood. A once-promising pugilist, Rocky is now taking nickel-and-dime bouts and running strongarm errands for local loan sharks to survive. Even his supportive trainer, Mickey (Burgess Meredith), has given up on Rocky. All this changes thanks to Muhammad Ali-like super-boxer Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers). With the Bicentennial celebration coming up, Creed must find a "Cinderella" opponent for the big July 4th bout -- some unknown whom Creed can "glorify" for a few minutes before knocking him cold. Rocky Balboa was not the only Cinderella involved here: writer/director Sylvester Stallone, himself a virtual unknown, managed to sell his Rocky script (one of 35 that he'd written over the years) on the proviso that he be given the starring role. Since the film was to be made on a shoestring and marketed on a low-level basis, the risk factor to United Artists was small. For Stallone, this was a make-or-break opportunity -- just like Rocky's million-to-one shot with Apollo Creed. Costing under a million dollars, Rocky managed to register with audiences everywhere, earning back 60 times its cost. The film won several Academy Awards, including Best Picture.By concentrating on character development with this first of several sequels to his Oscar-winning smash Rocky (1976), writer-director Sylvester Stallone earned critical praise that would desert him with the boxing saga's shallower subsequent chapters. Stallone returns as Rocky Balboa, a Philadelphia prize fighter enjoying his brief fame after nearly defeating world heavyweight champion Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers). When Rocky is offered lucrative product endorsement opportunities, his limited education and lack of sophistication quickly become an impediment to his future success, causing him embarrassment and his pregnant wife, Adrian (Talia Shire), a great deal of financial concern. Meanwhile, Creed is brooding over his near loss to a fighter he considers an amateur far beneath him and decides to goad a reluctant Rocky into a high-profile rematch. With the family resources dwindling and his pride wounded, Rocky decides that fighting is all he knows and makes the fateful decision to climb back into the ring once more with Creed to vie for the championship belt, despite assurances from all concerned that he will blind himself irreparably.The third sequel to Sylvester Stallone's boxing blockbuster combines the ringside sports melodrama of the previous installments with the Cold War patriotism of the star/director's other motion picture series of the 1980s, the Rambo saga. Stallone is back as Rocky Balboa, the heavyweight champion of the world and now good friend of his one-time nemesis, Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers). Creed is brutally slaughtered in the boxing ring during a lop-sided exhibition match against the superhuman Russian boxer Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren), an event that Rocky takes personally. Vowing revenge against Drago in the name of Creed and the United States, Rocky is invited to the Soviet Union for a matchup and hires Creed's former manager (Tony Burton) to get him in shape. While Drago trains using the latest technology, Rocky's ascetic preparations are a low-key affair of carrying logs up hills through knee-deep Russian snow.Touted upon its release as the finale of the Rocky saga, this fifth entry in the long-running series of sports dramas reunites star Sylvester Stallone with John G. Avildsen, director of the Oscar-winning original. Stallone is Rocky Balboa, suffering from career-ending brain damage as a result of his punishing bout with Ivan Drago at the finale of the previous film. Upon their return to Philadelphia, Rocky and his wife, Adrian (Talia Shire), discover they are broke, their fortune squandered by an incompetent accountant. Forced to move back to their working-class neighborhood, Rocky finds that his only asset is the run-down gym willed to him by Mickey (Burgess Meredith, who appears in new flashback sequences). Resisting big money offered to him by Don King-like boxing promoter George Washington Duke (Richard Gant), Rocky becomes a trainer and finds a talented comer in Tommy Gunn (real-life boxer Tommy Morrison, nephew of John Wayne). Rocky's son (played by Stallone's real-life son Sage Stallone) feels neglected by his father, who lavishes attention on his protégé, but Tommy ultimately turns his back on his mentor to sign a more lucrative deal with Duke, leading to a street-fight showdown.Sylvester Stallone returns to the character which made him famous in this wildly successful sequel. Rocky III starts with the Italian Stallion so famous that his likeness is everywhere, including pinball machines. Fame and complacency soon cause Balboa to lose his title to young thug Clubber Lang (Mr. T), who inadvertently causes the death of Rocky's beloved trainer, Mickey (Burgess Meredith), before their first championship bout. After sinking into a depression, Balboa must regain the love and support of his family, as well as the elusive "eye of the tiger," the hungry need to beat the opponent which former foe Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) teaches him during this film's de rigueur training sequence. In the end, Balboa faces off against Lang for a second time. "Eye of the Tiger," the theme song Stallone commissioned from the band Survivor, became a huge hit single. ~ Perry Seibert, All Movie GuideSylvester Stallone returns to the director's chair for Rocky Balboa, the fifth sequel to the film that made him a superstar 30 years before. The movie begins with Rocky (Stallone) still mourning the death of his loyal and beloved wife, Adrian, who died three years previously after losing a battle against cancer. Rocky owns an Italian restaurant and spends his days living in his working-class Philadelphia neighborhood, visiting with his customers, and telling stories about his past. His grown son has a job as a business professional, but the relationship between the two is strained. Rocky's growing dissatisfaction leads him to attempt to purge the feelings of frustration and loss by applying for a boxing license. When the current heavyweight champion, Mason "The Line" Dixon (Antonio Tarver), needs to rehabilitate his image as a pretty boy who has never shown any real heart in the ring, his manager offers Rocky an exhibition match. This comeback allows Rocky to get his own life back on track, while also offering him the opportunity to help those around him redeem themselves and once again be a symbol of hope for the common man.