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Rocky III
1981 - PG - 99 Mins.
Director: Sylvester Stallone
Written By: Sylvester Stallone
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Talia Shire, Burgess Meredith, Carl Weathers, Burt Young, Mr. T, Hulk Hogan
Review by: John Ulmer
   
"No, I don't hate Balboa. I pity the fool."

- Mr. T

Who would have ever thought that, after a sequel to a movie that needed none, the "Rocky" chronicles could remain so interesting? Yes, a lot of people make fun of these movies, but I've always thought that the "Rocky" sequels were a lot better than they could have been -- especially considering the fact that the first film is arguably one of the greatest ever made, and definitely not the type of film that should have merited four sequels. How many times can we see Rocky re-train and win a battle? It's always the same. Yet somehow "Rocky III" comes across as a fresh one-two punch. Extremely easy to watch and fun to get into, this is a retread of the first and second film. But, as I said, somehow everything seems fresh.

Arguably the final "good" film in the series (although I still consider the last two passable), this chapter sees the death of Mickey (Burgess Meredith), a fierce opponent (Mr. T) ready to take on Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone), an angry Paulie (Burt Young), an eager-to-train Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers), and an insane 7-foot boxer (Hulk Hogan).

After defeating Apollo Creed at the end of Part II, Rocky is challenged and defeated in the ring by Clubber Lang (Mr. T). Things continue to go wrong when his boxing trainer dies, and Rocky drifts into a state of self loathing and hatred. After the city of Philadelphia presents him with a statue of himself, he drives over to it with his motorcycle and throws his helmet at it.

Rocky blames himself for Mickey's death, and nearly turns down Apollo's offer to train Rocky so that he can enter the ring one more time and give a real beating to Clubber Lang. But alas, he decides to enter into the ring one last time, and so with the help of Apollo and his wife (Talia Shire), he trains harder and longer than he ever has before.

That is all there is, in short. In between we get corny dialogue like, "You've gotta get back the Eye of the Tiger, man!" while the song plays in the background as we see Rocky and Apollo running on the beach in short-shorts and lifting weights together and boxing and doing jump ropes. (These things may be interpreted as homosexual nowadays, by the way.)

Having boxed a bit myself, the "Rocky" series always seems pretty close to reality. I've never been in a ring like "real" boxers, but I've done the same training with boxing bags and running and jump ropes and so on. It's hard work, just like it is in the movie. And this is the perfect film to give you the inspiration to work out. Strange, right? Don't ever, ever quote me on that last paragraph. In fact, just forget the entire thing.

The film, written and directed by Stallone, is surprisingly sweet and endearing. We still care for Rocky after three films -- and hey, as old as the training scenes may get, I still love them. This movie isn't as good as the first "Rocky," or maybe even the second, but I still say that this series has a long way to go before it reaches the murky depths of "Police Academy."

And take some advice from Stallone: "Boy, sometimes charity really hurts!" Oh, wait, never mind. Wrong quote. How about this? "Nothing is real if you don't believe in who you are!" Okay, it's not the next "Citizen Kane." But you'll be hard-pressed to find a more entertaining second sequel than this.
 
Movie Guru Rating
Entertaining and well crafted.  May not be worth the price of a theater ticket, but a solid rental. Entertaining and well crafted.  May not be worth the price of a theater ticket, but a solid rental. Entertaining and well crafted.  May not be worth the price of a theater ticket, but a solid rental. Entertaining and well crafted.  May not be worth the price of a theater ticket, but a solid rental.
  3.5 out of 5 stars

 
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