Saturday, August 23, 2014

Retro Review: Rocky (1976)

                    'Rocky': A Heartfelt Underdog Story That Really Hits The Punching Bag
          I feel that when we go to the movies, sometimes we go for reasons that we go to an art museum, to be inspired. We want to see a film that make us believe that we personally can defy the odds and have hope for a better day. Rocky is a brilliant film that epitomizes that very feeling.

   Rocky follows the story of a boxer named Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) who is struggling to make ends meet. However, a heavyweight champion named Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) decides to give an underdog a shot at the title and he chooses Rocky aka "The Italian Stallion". Rocky accepts the challenge and along the way, Rocky looks to defy the odds against him as he falls in love with his best friend's sister Adrian (Talia Shire).

   One thing that I really liked was how the film mostly gives us a glimpse into the main character's life. We see how this man is simple and kind-hearted which gives us a reason to root for him. He looks to go from being a "nobody" to a "somebody" and we, the audience, are taken for the journey. I also thought Sylvester Stallone was quite amazing as the title character as he is very likable and I especially loved the scenes between him and Talia Shire, who is excellent as the shy countergirl Adrian. Another actor I really liked was Burgess Meredith, aka The Penguin from the Adam West Batman series, who plays Rocky's trainer Mickey. Meredith gives a very heartfelt performance as the trainer who seems hard-nosed yet is only that way just because he had high hopes for our main hero.

    Honestly, another thing that I really liked was the ending. I don't want to spoil it for those that haven't seen it and don't know the ending already, but I'll just say that it might not be what you expect. Yet, I still just couldn't help but love it. I don't want to ruin it, but I'll just say that the end helps the film become the true underdog story that it is: A story about a man with the odds against him that seizes what could be a once-in-a-lifetime shot with the support of his peers. One bonus the film gets is the famous well-directed scene where Rocky runs on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art that features the song "Gonna Fly Now"by Bill Conti. I thought that scene was very nice.

  I'm not going to lie, there were some small points where I thought the film dragged. Although that could just be because I watched the film in the morning and I was feeling quite tired. But like I said, the points where I thought the film dragged were only small and don't take away from the film much.

 Overall, Rocky is a well-crafted underdog story that features an endearingly commanding performance by Stallone. It is very heartfelt and may inspire us to defy whatever odds are against us, whether it'd be our background or age or whatnot and to me, that is part of the reason why we watch movies. We watch them to feel something, whether to be inspired, terrified, or even learn a life lesson. This is an essential sports classic that I would recommend for everybody to watch.

Grade: A-