So we have seen Rocky emerge as an amateur boxer, rise through the ranks to become a celebrity. Be broken down and rebuilt as he used to be.
What next for Rocky? Well how about he tries to end the cold war and bring peace between America and Russia…yeah really.
Rocky IV: Written and directed by Sylvester Stallone (again) This is where things got a little bit “silly” with the series.
Rocky is back on form and in the best shape of his life. When the Russians turn up in America with their super boxer called Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren) and claiming that this Drago is the best boxer in the world and can beat anyone including Rocky.
Apollo Creed retired 5 years ago, and does not take kindly to the Russians and their claims and decides to take on Drago in an exhibition fight. Rocky tries to talk Apollo out of the fight claiming he is not the same fighter he was years ago, but Apollo just refuses to listen. Apollo convinces Rocky he can still fight and even win and also talks Rocky into being his corner man.
After an explosive pre-fight interview, fight night is here.
Rocky is not too sure about the fight and suggests that Apollo postpone it for a few weeks, but Apollo dismisses Rocky’s doubts and the fight goes ahead.
After the greatest fight introduction ever featuring James Brown and long-ish story short. After round 1, Rocky wants to stop the fight as Apollo is getting destroyed but Apollo refuses to end it and starts round 2. Drago pummels Apollo with Duke and Apollo’s wife calling to end the fight and Rocky to throw in the towel But Rocky does not end the fight as Apollo asked. Apollo goes down after a severe beating and he dies in the ring.
This enrages Rocky to point of fighting Drago himself on Christmas day on his home turf of Russia. The press go wild while Adrian gets angry that Rocky is doing this.
Rocky sets off to Russia to train with Paulie and Apollo’s trainer, Duke.
Drago trains using state of the art technology and even drugs, while Rocky goes old school by using an old farmhouse and its surroundings as his gym.
Sure enough the big fight is here and the entire crowd boo Rocky and support Drago. Rocky takes a beating but refuses to go down. Eventually Rocky turns the tide and the crowd star cheering him on and he defeats the Russian giant on his home turf by KO in the last round. Rocky delivers an all too 80s “world peace” speech and the previously hostile Russian crowd are all Rocky supporters.
Now that Rocky has single handedly ended the cold war between America and Russia by defeating a super human. Time to get back to reality.
Rocky V: Again written by Sylvester Stallone but he does not direct this one. Retuning as director is John G. Avildsen.
So the original writer and director from the first film are back. What could go wrong?
Picking up directly after Rocky IV. Rocky is showering after the Drago fight when he realises he can’t stop his hands from shaking.
Retuning to America a hero for ending the cold war. While holding a press conference where Rocky is questioned on his health, boxing promoter George Washington Duke (Richard Gant) appears and asks Rocky to allow one of his boxers challenge Rocky for the heavyweight title. Adrian says Rocky is retired (yet again) and the challenge is turned down.
Shortly after Rocky finds out that Paulie has lost all the money by signing over power of attorney to their accountant.
Rocky agrees to the title fight challenge, but Adrian asks him to visit a doctor first.
He goes to a doctor to seek medical treatment. He is told he is suffering from brain damage as a result of his years of boxing and that he can never fight again. Rocky finally agrees to retire.
Rocky is broke and has to sell his mansion and possessions. The family move back to Rocky’s old neighbourhood and Rocky starts running Mickey’s old gym.
George Washington Duke continues to pursue Rocky for the fight and even harasses Adrian.
This is when a young and eager amateur boxer called Tommy Gunn (real boxer; Tommy Morrison) finds Rocky. Tommy asks Rocky to manage and train him to help further his boxing career.
After some thought, Rocky agrees and takes Tommy under his wing and even puts a roof over his head. Pushing his own son aside doing so.
Rocky and Tommy do well as Tommy makes his way up the boxing ladder. But Tommy’s ego keeps growing with his success and craves a title fight. George Washington Duke takes an interest in Tommy and poaches him away from Rocky by promising him riches and a title fight.
Rocky believes Tommy is making a mistake, as Tommy hits the big time he seemingly forgets all about the help Rocky gave him. Tommy gets his title fight and becomes heavyweight champion.
The press begin to push Tommy pointing out he will never be as good as Rocky. Tommy is upset by the insinuations and George Washington Duke coerces him into fighting Rocky.
Back in Rocky’s neighbourhood, George Washington Duke and Tommy call Rocky out for a boxing match which Rocky declines. Until Tommy hits Paulie and Rocky declares a fight…but not a boxing match, a street brawl.
They head out into the street for the fight which Rocky wins.
Oh and there is a (pointless) bullying sub plot involving Rocky’s son.
So that is where Rocky is left. No money, no prospects and back in his old neighbourhood, back where he started. But he is happy.
For a while, Rocky V was said to be the final Rocky film, until…
Rocky Balboa: Sylvester Stallone is back as writer and director again. As he tries to bring closure to the character and bring Rocky back into reality.
Picking up many years after Rocky V. Adrian has died and Rocky’s son moved out to live his own life. Rocky is all alone. He has a tenuous and strained relationship with his son, Robert (Milo Ventimiglia) who has grown tired of being “Rocky’s son” and wants his own life.
Rocky now owns and runs a restaurant called Adrian’s after his wife. He spends a lot of time telling his old boxing stories to his customers and reliving his past.
At the old bar he used to drink at he finds an old acquaintance, Marie (Geraldine Hughes). They strike up a friendship and Rocky takes a liking to her son Steps (James Francis Kelly III) and tries to get the father/son relationship he has lost with his own son.
Meanwhile, Rocky starts to feel there is something inside him, some demons that need exorcising. He wants to fight again, but nothing big. Just small local fights. He applies for a boxing licence and is turned down, but after a passionate speech to the boxing board, he is awarded a licence.
The current heavyweight champ, Mason “The Line ” Dixon (real boxer; Antonio Tarver) is the new all star boxer.
A computer simulation shows a simulated fight between Rocky in his prime and Mason which predicts that Rocky would win. The simulation gets the public talking and angers Mason and his management team.
Mason’s management team go to Adrian’s to ask Rocky if he would be interested in an exhibition fight in Las Vegas with Mason. Rocky is not interested as he only wants small, local fights but he agrees to think about it. Rocky is apprehensive and feels the fight is too big. After some pondering and talking to Marie he decides to take the offer up.
Robert thinks the fight is a terrible idea and goes to talk his father out of it. Rocky gives Robert some home truths and he decides to quit his job to be with his father and support him and his need to fight. Robert becomes part of Rocky’s training team.
Rocky once again uses Apollo’s trainer, Duke to help him get in shape for the fight. Knowing his limitations and using Rocky’s old age and experience as an advantage.
It’s fight night and its a pretty close call. The fight goes the distance but Rocky loses.
However, he never wanted to win and the film has a great ending where Rocky just leaves the ring not caring about the result. While saying goodbye to his fans.
He done what he set out to do.
So there you go, round II of the Rocky Saga done and dusted. But its not over yet there’s still round III where I take a quick look at the new Creed film as well as offer my own views on each of the Rocky films and talk a little about the series as a whole.