Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Talia Shire, Burt Young
Director: John G. Avildsen
Running Time: 119 mins
Rocky is an American film about a local Philadelphia boxer, Rocky Balboa, who is given a shot at the big time when he is invited to take on legendary fighter and heavyweight champion Apollo Creed, all the while attempting to keep his personal life in order.
This is one of the most iconic films of all time, and it is largely a pretty entertaining and compelling movie to follow along to. With a strong central performance by Sylvester Stallone, great directing in the boxing scenes and an ultimately uplifting vibe to the whole story, it’s definitely a good watch.
The plot follows Rocky Balboa’s efforts to prepare for the match of his life, and tells the story of how an underdog, with enough self-determination, could be ready to defeat a titan of sport. That determination comes from Rocky’s own desire to fulfil his personal goals, but also to cement some stability in his personal life, where he’s living in a messy house in Philadelphia, and has an occasionally troubled relationship with a young woman.
What’s most inspiring and entertaining to watch in the plot is Rocky’s preparation for the big fight. We not only get to see a fascinating transformation as the man becomes more and more self-confident, but there are some great ‘action’ scenes too.
The boxing sequences, although few until the thrilling finale, are great fun to watch, and are brilliantly directed by John G, Avildsen, but what really stands out is that iconic training montage. As we near the big day, Rocky’s training comes to an end with a bang, and we see him carry out the final steps in the hugely inspiring montage set to the classic music. It’s such a good sequence that it really invigorates you going into the final fight, making the climax so much more exciting and tense to watch.
The only issue with this film is that it does flounder a bit when it tells the story of Rocky’s relationship with a young woman, Adrian, who works in a pet shop. She’s a very awkward, shy character, and although it starts off as quite an endearing personality, especially as we get to see Rocky’s really soft side, it does cause a few issues.
When Rocky and Adrian are together on screen, particularly in the first act, it just doesn’t click. It doesn’t feel like the fault of Stallone and Talia Shire’s performances, but rather an uncomfortable clash of the personalities, as Rocky is trying to talk to Adrian, but she’s being so awkward and overly shy that it becomes frustrating to watch.
Overall, however, Rocky is a pretty entertaining film with an interesting and uplifting story around its central character that makes for a compelling watch, and that’s why I’ll give it an 8.0.