Fortunately, the producers have promised that Rocky Balboa will be the final chapter in this tiresome, trite series. Let's hope they're not fibbing, because there's virtually nothing to recommend about the flick, which in effect recycles the story from the first film, wherein Rocky's goal was not to win but merely to prove that he still had what it took to go the distance.
Now in his fifties, and still reeling from the recent death of his beloved Adrian, Rocky, who manages a restaurant named after his late wife, is a lost soul, estranged from his resentful son (Milo Ventimiglia) and drifting too often into reveries of his happier past. When a simulated computer program determines that Rocky in his prime could knock out the current heavyweight champ Mason Dixon (Antonio Tarver), the stage is set for the two men to meet for real, in an “exhibition” match, with Rocky the popular, albeit not the pundits', favorite.
Never mind the far-fetched premise (no 50-something boxer would ever be allowed to fight a man half his age) or the dodgy racial politics (it's still disconcerting for the white guy to be the cinematic hero in a sport that in real life has long been dominated by black boxers)
's biggest sin is how ineptly Stallone has directed most of it and, even more damaging, how sappy and cliched his screenplay turns out to be. This is a tedious tale badly told.
Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Burt Young, Milo Ventimiglia, Antonio Tarver and Geraldine Hughes
Director/Screenwriter: Sylvester Stallone
Producers: William Chartoff, Charles Winkler, David Winkler and Kevin King
Rating: PG for boxing violence and some language
Running time: 101 min.
Release date: December 22, 2006