Directed by Sylvester Stallone. US. 2006.

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The sixth (and final?) outing for the Italian Stallion is still the same as the others but this time focusing on Rocky's legacy by looking back.  For the first twenty minutes Rocky (Sylvester Stallone) and Paulie (Burt Young) walk through locations of the past films like ghosts wandering over the plains, reminiscing and remembering.  Adrian, Rocky's wife, so regularly played by Talia Shire has been killed off by disease three years ago.  So Rocky is reducing to spending all his nights as a host at his restaurant, Adrian's, where he tells stories to customers who know the endings.   

Then two things happen - a sports show devises a computer simulation pitting Rocky against the world champion Mason 'The Line' Dixon (Antonio Tarver) and shows that Rocky in his prime would win.  This sets the wheels in motion for his exhibition fight.  The other thing is that he meets Marie, a now grown up woman of the girl who Rocky walked home in the first film only to be called a 'creepo'.  This injection of a woman back into his life, someone he likes and could learn to love starts off a fire in him to prove once more he can do it.  Is it stupidity or battered pride? 

Rocky is a great character, you forget how well Stallone plays him - with that almost lisping, stammering voice, the walk and the down at heel underdog, but you also see the charmer when he is with Geraldine Hughes, who plays Marie.  These scenes are a treat to watch; she being evasive, he being not forceful but funny and then slowly both there defences start to drop. 

My criticism would be the actual fight with Dixon.  Whereas the fights with Apollo Creed where simple shot-reverse-shot and a marriage of Bill Conti's inspirational score and dynamic editing.  Here we get too much television coverage which looks digital on the screen and the edit is like a music video, images coming in from all angles, black and white, voiceovers and too much of the crowd.  The visceral energy of the battle which was always so apparent in the Creed fights is missing 

A minor criticism but an important one but try not to well up when the training sequence begins to 'Gonna Fly Now' and he ascends those famous steps once more.  Well produced and a fitting end to a unique American icon. 

Jamie Garwood
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