Rocky Balboa (2006)

After a run of four Rocky films (or was that five, I've lost count), is there any steam left in the Italian Stallion? Sylvester Stallone returns for a few more rounds in Rocky Balboa, this time an AARP carrying seasoned citizen (I guess nobody wanted to make Rambo: Defending the Texas Border).

This time Rocky is wandering around his ol' neighborhood in Philly. The city of brotherly love has not aged well as portrayed here, and we visit locations from the first couple of films that are less than prime real estate. His wife, Adrian has passed on. His son is somewhat estranged and distant. His trainer, Paulie, is more interested in working at the meat processing plant. In short, he's just waiting for space to open up at some Florida retirement home (okay, I made the last part up, but you get the idea). No mention is made as to what happened to the millions he made in his previous fights as his house is rather run down, and he's no man of wealth.

But hold on to that goofy hat that Rocky wears! ESPN runs a computer simulation between the current heavyweight and Rocky, that gets taken way too seriously. Rocky then decides to come out of retirement for one last exhibition fight, after he passes his cardiac stress test of course. Get ready to watch him swallow raw eggs, and cue the theme music as the ol' man steps into the ring!

While I have seen all the Rocky films, this one is the weakest of the franchise. While I was hoping for Rocky: Reloaded, this was more like Rocky: Memory Lane Nostalgia Edition. While the devout fans of Rocky who can't get enough of the Italian Stallion may get some satisfaction from concluding the journey, for the rest of us Rocky Balboa is a footnote to the other films. If you're nostalgic for Rocky, watch the original, it's still the best one by far.

Overall Grade: C+

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