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Sunday, July 13, 2014

Rocky Balboa (released in 2006) - Starring Sylvester Stallone, Burt Young, Antonio Tarver, Milo Ventimiglia

A picture of Adrian (Talia Shire) rests on the side table, as boxing legend Rocky Balboa (Stallone) gets out of bed, and goes through the rituals of daybreak - feeding the turtles, refurbishing the seed tray, pull ups at the chin up bar; sixteen years since his retirement, and he is now a lonely, middle aged boxer, his wife dead from cancer. He is seated by Adrian’s grave, his brother-in-law Paulie (Burt Young) has stood the test of time, and the two have an exchange about how slowly time moves past. Paulie is upset that Rocky’s son Robert (Milo Ventimiglia) hasn’t come for his mother’s death anniversary. But Rocky tells him he understands why Rob isn’t here; he has loads to do, as a corporate employee, whose boss is constantly hounding him.
Rocky walks in on an exchange between Robert and his boss William Tomilson, who tells him he doesn’t care how famous his father was - Balboa watches from a distance, sensing his son’s resistance to his presence. As he walks up to greet Robert, Tomilson also joins them and tells the legend he’s always wanted to meet him, but Rob has said on every occasion that his father’s a busy man. He asks Rob to click a picture of the two ‘old war horses’ together.
After setting up a date for the father and son later that evening, Balboa goes back to his restaurant - “Adrian’s”, where he gets busy organizing a special meal for Rob, and hosting guests, entertaining them with tales of his past victories. Unfortunately, Rob doesn’t make it to dinner. On his way home, he walks down memory lane to the time when he and Adrian had met, the dreams they shared and the home they built, their lives circling around Robert in his growing years. As Paulie and Rocky reminisce outside the birdhouse where Adrian worked and the gym that Micky had left for him, Paulie tells him that their world is falling apart, even as Balboa admonishes him not to talk crazy.




Rocky decides to have a drink at the bar one night, at Lucky Seven, a tavern where Little Marie (Geraldine Hughes) works as a bartender. Balboa used to frequent the tavern as a youngster, and had met Marie, then ‘Little’. She is now mother to a son – Stephenson (James Francis Kelly III) fondly called ‘Steps’. Rocky rescues Marie from an unpleasant situation and offers her a lift home. She introduces Rocky to her son, he seems surprised the child is not Irish looking, Marie tells him that the father was Jamaican. He meets the boy, leaving his card on the steps, inviting the duo to visit him for dinner sometime.
But where Rocky Balboa is, boxing will follow shortly after; Mason Dixon ‘The Line’ ( Antonio Tarver) is the reigning champion, whose popularity has taken a slump. ESPN  broadcasts a simulated version of a fight between Rocky and Dixon, Rob and his friends are having a drink in an Irish Pub, as his friends rally for his father, the video shows Balboa win the fight. Elsewhere an irked Dixon watches on.
Directed and written by Stallone, Rocky Balboa or Rocky VI as it is also known as, is a cult favorite of Stallone’s fans the world over; it is as if the actor is defined by the role. Rocky Balboa takes off on the similar theme of the prequels - a man pitted against circumstance and opponents bigger than himself; when he was younger - it was someone richer, better trained, and stronger. As he got older, his opponents got younger, he fought his own physical limitations, battling injuries, financial crises, emotional upheavals, always the underdog who comes out a winner by a surprise KO, just like in the ring! Worth a watch, Adrian is sorely missed though!

Rocky Balboa (released in 2006) - Starring Sylvester Stallone, Burt Young, Antonio Tarver, Milo Ventimiglia

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