Game Review: Big Rumble Boxing: Creed Champions

I love the Rocky films and I mean a deep-rooted love. For me, Rocky Balboa is one of the most endearing characters in cinematic history, by far Sylvester Stallone’s greatest role. There have been a few Rocky based games over the years… with varying degrees of success. But overall the Rocky films have not been represented all that well in terms of video games. Can developer and publisher, Survios give us a worthy title? Let’s find out.

Big Rumble Boxing: Creed Champions is a sequel/spin-off from Survios’ other boxing game, Creed Rise to Glory where you played as Adonis Creed from the films. Oh, it was VR too. Of course, VR is limiting as not everyone (or every console) has it. Big Rumble Boxing: Creed Champions is basically a non-VR version of the previous game, now available for everything and with a few bells and whistles thrown in to ring.

Okay, right off the bat, this game has the official Rocky and Creed licenses. As you can tell from the main pic (or trailer) for this article, they’re all there (pretty much). Both Apollo and Adonis Creed, Ivan Drago, Clubber Lang and yes Rocky Balboa too. All using the likenesses of their respective actors too. But the license doesn’t just end there, there’s the music. Gonna Fly Now, Eye Of The Tiger and more. Big Rumble Boxing certainly looks and sounds the part. Even the locales used in the game are authentic, from huge boxing stadiums to Mighty Mick’s gym. Honestly, just from being on the main menu for this game, I had a huge smile on my face because… well it was authentic Rocky.


Speaking of the menu, there’s not a lot here to get your teeth into. Aside from what you’d expect in terms of options, etc there’s not much in terms of actual gameplay options. There’s a training mode where you can practise your fighting, combos and so on. A versus mode for some local one-on-one fisticuffs (no online play). Then there’s the main meat of the game, the arcade mode.

The arcade mode plays pretty much like any arcade beat ’em up. One fighter vs another, first to KO wins. Oh yeah, this is a pure arcade fighter here. You won’t find realistic boxing mechanics, no fighters tiring due to a lack of stamina, zero World Boxing Association rules and regulations. This is exaggerated, pure arcade beat ’em up action from start to finish. You have a light, a hard and a grapple attack (one button for each). You can block and dodge. Then there’s the special meter, it fills up the more you land hits then, at the press of a button, you can unleash a haymaker of an attack.


You can counter an attack if you time the block just right. Stagger/stun your opponent with a well timed-combo. You can even bounce them off the ropes or slump them against the turnbuckle with a well-placed powerful hit. Really, there can be a few layers to the boxing and while button mashers will do okay, you will need to learn the various moves to get the most out of a fight. Even so, those layers to the fighting never do feel quite deep enough. How the arcade mode works is that you pick a fighter and you get to play through their own mini-story. As an example, play as Rocky Balboa and you’ll relieve moments from his career shown in the films. The second fight against Apollo from Rocky II. The battle against Clubber Lang from Rocky III. The awesome slice of the eighties that was the Ivan Drago brawl from Rocky IV… no Rocky V or Rocky Balboa fights though.

There are also fantasy fights. You can play as Rocky in his prime vs Adonis Creed or even have Apollo actually beat Drago instead of getting killed in the ring, etc. Anyway, you pick your fighter and take them through their own mini-story. Finish that fighter’s story and you’ll unlock a new fighter. Play as Rocky and unlock Apollo. Play through Viktor Drago’s story and unlock his father, Ivan. You’ll also unlock alternate costumes for the fighters when you complete their story’s too. To break up the fights, there’s a training mini-game. The training doesn’t actually affect your fighter in any way. Plus the training is nothing more than just simple QTEs. Quickly tap the trigger buttons when running on a treadmill, press the correct button in time on the heavy bag, etc. They are a mild distraction that I really don’t think wouldn’t have been missed if they weren’t here.


Time for some niggles, these really are very personal niggles too. You can’t KO an opponent in the way you may think. Every single fight really is a battle to knock down your opponent four times before they do the same to you. This plays very much like any arcade beat ’em up where it’s a best of three (sometimes five) rounds. But because this is boxing based, for me, it just felt ‘off’ that you can’t KO anyone, no matter how well you fight. It’s four knockdowns (the fourth leads to a KO no matter what) to win. Once you get your head around the fact that this is how the game works and ‘proper’ KOs are just not possible, it works.

Next niggle. As I said, I’m a massive Rocky film fan and there are inconsistencies here when you relive events from the films. A few examples for you. You can live out the never seen fight between Rocky and Apollo from the end of Rocky III. In the film, it takes place in Mick’s gym and the two are alone, nobody witnessed the fight. But in this game, while it still takes place in Mick’s gym… there are dozens of people watching and cheering. It really takes away from the legendary fight that the film set up and the whole intimacy of it when you’re surrounded by cheering fans. Also, I was doing a fight playing as Apollo in the 1970s and at one of the venues was a banner for Adonis Creed. You know, Apollo’s son who wouldn’t have been alive at the time that the fight took place. There’s also a fight when playing as Rocky when you go back to his days as a debt collector for a local small-time gangster. The fight rightfully takes place in a dirty back alley… but both Rocky and his opponent are dressed in full boxing gear. So Rocky collected debts in his boxing shorts and gloves did he and from fellow boxers too? Little things like that just took me out of the game slightly. As I said, they were personal niggles.


On to more gameplay focused issues. Though there are a total of twenty characters to play as (ten unlocked from the start, ten you have to unlock by playing), they are all pretty much the same. Yes, boxers have various styles, Rocky is a brute and hits hard whereas Apollo’s punches are weaker, but he is faster. All the boxers still feel very much the same. I guess the best way to explain this is that it would be like playing Street Fighter II and all of the characters in the game were either Ryu or Ken. Aside from the special move, which varies depending on the style of the fighter, the boxers are all the same. Oh, and there is only one special move per fighter too and that really gets repetitive seeing the same animation over and over and over.

There are just not enough modes to keep you interested. Remove the training where you can practise and all you have is the versus and arcade modes… that’s it. No story mode or career, no online fights or anything. Big Rumble Boxing: Creed Champions is really bare minimal for a fighting game. This was a wonderful opportunity to really let the players live out the Rocky saga but you can’t. A fantastic chance to include a create a boxer and career mode, where you take a hungry fighter from the bottom to the top. The game is just a very bare basic arcade fighter and with all the boxers pretty much playing the same, the fights being so ‘structured’ and all, there’s not a great deal to drag you back into it once you have seen one or two of the character’s story’s play out.

Oh, and before I forget, Big Rumble Boxing also does that dirty, cheating final boss fight that all arcade beat ’em ups do. If you have ever played any one-on-one fighter in the past, then you’ll know what I mean. It doesn’t matter how well you fight to get to the boss, if you have managed to not lose a single round because you’re actually pretty damn good… the boss will flatten you. There’s a major difficulty spike when you reach the final opponent, no matter what fighter you play as. The boss will doge 90% of your attacks, while his blows will connect 100% of the time. He will successfully counter your moves nine out of ten times. His special meter fills quicker and he’ll never miss with a special attack either. Remember when you first got to M. Bison and Street Fighter II or Heihachi in Tekken… or worse, Seth in Street Fighter IV and they completely demolished you no matter what? Yup, that happens here too. I hate this faux difficulty shit. Like rubberbanding in racing games, if I’m winning via my own skill but the opponents need to cheat to claim victory.


I always end my reviews by asking myself if the game is worth buying. For that, I need to look a the price tag. Big Rumble Boxing: Creed Champions is available on all formats for around £31 – £35 (depending on the format) and for me, that is a very difficult price tag to swallow for the very limited game you do get. This is a £12 – £15 game at the most and seeing it go for double that really is disappointing. Yeah I know this is fully licensed and all… but that is still way too much to pay for what you are getting here. For £30-odd, I’d expect Sylvester Stallone himself to turn up at my door, sit there as I play and offer me training tips. Nope, this game is way too overpriced for what it is.

Hey, if there was a deeper story mode, a career that you could really get your teeth into, then just maybe a £30 price would be justified. But I honestly can’t sit here and pretend that you get a worthy game for your money… you don’t. Big Rumble Boxing: Creed Champions is fun in short bursts. The actual fighting is limited as the fighters themselves are just too similar to each other. There aren’t enough gameplay modes to keep you interested and everything is just too short-lived. If you can get it in a sale down the road, it might be worth a purchase.

The Rocky Saga Round III


Everyone, including Sylvester Stallone believed Rocky Balboa was the last film in the series and it ended perfectly with Rocky (and Stallone) saying a final goodbye to his fans.

But I guess you just can’t keep a great character down as Rocky is back in Creed.
Creed is not technically considered a true sequel to the Rocky franchise, but more of a spin off instead, a kind of passing the torch film if you will.
Now I have personally avoided as much as I can with this film as I want it to be a surprise. I watched the first trailer for the film and I know the synopsis. But I’ve left it at that.

So what is there to know about Creed?


Creed: Written by and directed by Ryan Coogler (no Sylvester Stallone for the first time in the series) picks up after the events of Rocky Balboa. Rocky is still running the restaurant, Adrian’s, when he gets a visit from a stranger.
A young boxer comes to Rocky and asks if he would train him. That young boxer is. Adonis Johnson (Michael B. Jordan) the son of Apollo Creed, Rocky’s former rival and friend. Adonis was born after Apollo died so never knew his father.
Adonis is a fighter with so much spirit and passion, coupled with the blood of his father running through his veins and the up most respect for Rocky himself.

Rocky eventually agrees to help train Adonis and…that’s as much as I know about the film.

But from what I have seen, I’m really looking forward to it. It seems to be carrying on from the last film with its more grounded in reality approach and more character focused.
I have heard some rumours about the film from Rocky dying to a cameo from the man that killed Apollo, Drago. But rumours are rumours.

I have glanced at a few reviews and so far it is getting praised a lot. Sounds like its a good film.

I am looking forward to seeing this film myself and if successful, it could even become its own franchise.
In 30 years from now, we could be watching Creed VII.

Creed 2

Anyway, that is yer actual Rocky Saga right there all six (or seven) films summarised.
But what do I think of them and the series as a whole?


The Rocky Saga: For me, there are plenty of ups and downs throughout the series. There are some genuinely heartbreaking moments and there are some downright stupid moments.

But as a whole collection, I love it. Even if boxing is not your thing there is still a whole lot to enjoy here as boxing is never the main focus of the films. Its the characters, the relationships and the stories that are always at the forefront. Boxing is just the backdrop the films take place against.

The fact that the soundtrack is pretty amazing helps to.
If you are somebody who had trouble getting up in the morning. Change the alarm on you phone to the main Rocky theme or Eye Of The Tiger, I guarantee you’ll hop out of bed thinking you can take on the world.

A great series of films that, despite more than a few times when it all gets silly, provides a great bit of storytelling and give us one of the most charming and endearing characters ever caught on film with Rocky.

So what do I think of each of the films?

Rocky: It’s a simple story but told really well. It’s a basic underdog tale that had been done to death. Yet this version seems quite refreshing.

Sylvester Stallone as Rocky is believable and also shows that Stallone can write and act. The supporting cast are also golden.
Rocky did win 3 Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Film Editing. As well as being nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role (Sylvester Stallone), Best Actress in a Leading Role (Talia Shire), Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Burgess Meredith and Burt Young), Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen (Sylvester Stallone) as well as Best Sound and Best Music.
Brilliant film and for me, the best of the lot.

Rocky II: Was there a need for a sequel? Not really, the first film is one that stands on its own. But we got a sequel (several in fact) and for the most part I really enjoy this one.

However, there is one major thing that bugs me about this film. That is how stupid Rocky is made out to be. Now granted, Rocky had never been the sharpest knife in the draw. But he was never “stupid”.

Yet in this film (to paraphrase another film) they go full retard. Rocky can’t read…since when? He managed perfectly fine in the first film. All the jokes shoehorned in to play on how stupid Rocky is, like the condominium thing. The fact Rocky blows all his money on fast cars and a nice jacket, etc.
He is just a complete imbecile in this one.

Again Rocky was never a mastermind…but he was still smart, he always had a good head on his shoulders. He was never dumb, yet that is how he is portrayed in this film.
If they ever made an Airplane! style parody of Rocky, this is how the character would be portrayed, directly from this film as the character almost seems like a parody anyway.

Good sequel, but the way they dumbed down Rocky as a character was annoying.

Rocky III: I really enjoy this one more than Rocky II for two main reasons.

1) Rocky is not a complete moron any more.
2) Mr.T.

I love Clubber Lang, by far my favourite Rocky villain. Everything he does is pure awesome. His put downs and insults, the character is just so alive. This film is also where “I pity the fool” comes from.
This film launched the career of Mr.T and it was this role that landed him a part on The-A-Team TV show.

Mickey’s death is quite heartbreaking and the whole idea of Rocky being blinded by his own celebrity status was an interesting dynamic as was bringing in Apollo as Rocky’s trainer. Giving some insight and building on their friendship and respect they have for each other.

Good sequel and great extension of the characters.

Rocky IV: Okay, now things get really, really stupid.

This film is both one of the most silly, over the top, redundant films ever made and yet also one of the singular most amazing things ever committed to film.
Its a terrible Rocky film and sequel, but also such a great film to sit back and enjoy.

There are problems with the writing. Like if Rocky was so adamant Apollo should postpone the fight, why did he wait until minutes before the fight started to tell him? Then seeing as Rocky was fully aware at how dangerous Drago was, why did he throw the towel in AFTER Apollo gets beaten senseless and not before? Yeah Rocky, its your fault Apollo is dead.

But you know the worst thing in this film? That damn talking robot given to Paulie for his birthday present. A talking robot…in a Rocky film? People got upset over aliens in Indiana Jones, that was nothing. It may have o ly been in a couple of scenes but still, that was enough to be unbelievably annoying.

Then there is Drago himself who is basically a super human. Some kind of mega boss battle you’d find in a video game. I really like Dolph Lundgren in the role and the character…but he was still a bit too over the top really.
To finish, that damn ending where Rocky ends the cold war and unites America and Russia as friends. Its all just a tad too cheesy and clearly a film of its time. I’m sure people were up out of their seats watching this back in 1985 (unless you were Russian), but now it is a little cringe worthy.

Still that James Brown introduction for the Creed/Drago fight was awesome. Best fight introduction ever.

Yet as I said, despite its problems Rocky IV is a fun film to watch. Really damn stupid but still a whole lot of fun.

Rocky V: Pretty much universally hated. Even Sylvester Stallone himself has disowned this one (not Rocky IV with its talking robot and superhuman Russian). The next film, Rocky Balboa has a flashback to every Rocky film previously…except this one.

You know, I really like this one though. Yeah the whole father son thing is tedious and feels shoehorned in just because Sage Stallone was playing the son and the bullying sub-plot is just pointless. But I still enjoy this film as it gets back to reality and back to characters.

Tommy was a great character and a refreshing change to see someone turn on Rocky like he did, despite all Rocky did for him.
There are plenty of throwbacks and references to the original film with Rocky back in his old neighbourhood. I enjoy the idea of Rocky becoming the mentor figure that Mickey once was to him.

Plus that final street fight is amazing and good to see something different from the norm in a Rocky film.

Yeah, despite Sylvester Stallone really, really hating this film himself and many of the fans agreeing. I’ll always stand by Rocky V as a better sequel than IV and one that gets things back on track. I just have to ignore Sage Stallone as Robert Balboa and the film is great.

Rocky Balboa: I was one of those that made the old jokes when this film was announced. Really, another Rocky film with an ageing Stallone? As much as I love the films, Rocky V was enough and where it should have ended.

I even made the pre-decision to not bother to watch this one and avoided it for ages.
Then I brought the Rocky DVD box set and this film was included, so may as well watch it.
To be quite honest, I was blown away. The film is the best since the original and really gets back to basics.
Its all about characters with very little spectacle. Its a good honest story told well and written brilliantly.

Stallone gives an amazing performance as Rocky here and the whole film is full of emotion. Rocky taking his anniversary tour of the places he used to go with Adrian just tugs at the heart strings. Plus there are a couple of well written speeches that mirror the kind of flack Stallone was getting for wanting to do this film. Like the speech Rocky gives at the boxing commission when he applies for a licence or the one he gives to his Robert when he tries to talks him out of fighting again.
Really puts me in mind of the original film.

The fact they filmed the fight with a real life boxer and all filmed during a real boxing match during a real pay per view event adds a lot of, well realism. Probably the best fight in the whole series.

The decision to replace the actor playing Rocky’s son (replacing Stallone’s real life son) was a tough but good idea as the dynamic between the two actors is brilliant. Stallone is better here acting alongside Milo Ventimiglia than he was with his real son Sage in Rocky V.
Killing off Adrian off screen was also a ballsy move and a gamble that really works as we now get to see Rocky with nothing, which was what he had at the start of his journey. This really helps and adds plenty of believability and gravitas to the character.

Great film and an apt end to the character that has lasted so long.


Rocky Balboa is one of my all time favourite film characters. He is simple but charming, tough but caring. Seeing the character grow from humble beginnings though his rise to stardom and his fall from grace over the series of films is an epic and emotional roller coaster.
He had endured for almost 40 years because he is such a great character. I already believed I said goodbye to the character at the end of the last film (and yes I had a lump in my throat), but he is back once more and I’m more than happy to see him again. But I will miss him when he finally is gone for good.

I can’t wait to watch Creed.


The Rocky Saga Round II

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

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

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.


The Rocky Saga Round I

Do you know that Rocky is almost 40 years old? The original film was released in 1976.


With the seventh Rocky film in the series, Creed, released today (In America, I have to wait until January). I’m going to take a look at the previous six films in the franchise from the original Rocky through to Rocky Balboa, as well as take a quick look at Creed.
Plus I’ll offer my own views on the films and the series as a whole at the end.

Okay so technically Creed is not a Rocky sequel and more of a spin off. But you know people will just end up calling it Rocky VII anyway.

If You have never seen the Rocky films before. Then stop reading this crap and go watch them as I’ll be spoiling every film in the franchise here.

Let’s jump into the ring with the film that started it all…

Rocky wall

Rocky: Written by the unknown (at the time) Sylvester Stallone and directed by John G. Avildsen. Rocky is a simple story of an underdog boxer given a life changing chance.

Stallone plays the titular Rocky Balboa, a young amateur boxer that plys his talent in boxing matches with locals. Struggling to earn a living he also works as the muscle as a debt collector for some local gangsters.

Rocky is a simple man with simple pleasures and seems to be more than happy with his relatively poor lifestyle. He works out at Mickey’s Gym, a local dive for local amateur boxers. Over the road from the gym is a pet store, it is in this pet store Rocky meets the shy Adrian (Talia Shire).
They begin a friendship largely triggered by Rocky’s terrible jokes. The upfront and more direct Rocky slowly starts to get Adrian to come out of her shell. Their relationship slowly blossoms and they eventually become lovers. Adrian’s life is not all that simple with her overbearing brother, Paulie (Burt Young) constantly putting her down.

Out of the blue, the current heavyweight boxing champion, Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) has an idea to offer an unknown boxer a chance of a title fight after his opponent has to drop out due to injury.
Creed decides to fight an everyday amateur as he thinks it would be good for his public image and a good gimmick to offer an amateur a chance as America is the land of opportunity. He chooses to fight Rocky based on his nickname of The Italian Stallion.

Rocky is both excited and anxious over the fight and actually first turns the opportunity down fearing he would get mangled going up against the current heavyweight champ.
But Rocky quickly changes his mind, takes the offer up and does decide to get in the ring with Apollo. He even (after some argument) takes old Mickey (Burgess Meredith) on board to be his trainer.

The fight goes the distance but Rocky ends up losing. However, it was never his intention to win to begin with. He was just happy to have been given to chance.

Rocky is a simple tale of a simple man but told with such passion and respect. The film is an all time classic, even if you can’t stand boxing its a must watch.
It didn’t even need a sequel, but…

Rocky II

Rocky II: Picks up directly where Rocky left off after the fight with both Rocky and Apollo taken to hospital for medical attention. This time Stallone not only is the writer but director too.

At the hospital, Creed is unhappy about the fight. He won the fight, but he didn’t beat Rocky he feels.
Creed feels he should have destroyed Rocky in the fight as he was only an amateur while Creed was heavyweight champ. Creed demands a rematch, but Rocky is adamant there will be no rematch and even says he is retiring (get used to that). Rocky has nothing to prove, he did what he set out to do just by taking part in the fight.
He gets on with his life now “retired” and asks Adrian to marry him, she says yes and they are soon expecting a baby.

Meanwhile Rocky made some money from the fight but blew it all on an expensive car, jewellery, buying a house, etc.
He tries to cash in on his five minutes of fame by appearing in some TV ads, but things do not go well when its revealed that Rocky can not read. Feeling the director is being rude, Rocky quits. Rocky is embarrassed and broke and ends up working in a meat packaging factory to try to make ends meet, until he is let go. Rocky needs money and starts selling his belongings including his car to Paulie. He starts thinking about fighting again but Adrian does not want him to as the Doctor found a problem with Rocky’s eye and suggests he doesn’t fight any more. She decides to go back to work at the pet shop to bring in some money to stop Rocky from fighting.

For weeks after the fight, Apollo keeps receiving mail from fans putting him down, asking how could the amateur Rocky make a fight go the distance against the heavyweight world champion?
This all starts to get to Apollo and he seriously starts to pursue a rematch and starts a campaign against Rocky to coerce him into a fight.

Finding it hard to pay the bills, worrying about his soon to be born son and caving to Apollo’s taunting. Rocky decides to take Apollo up on his offer of a rematch, much to Adrian’s disgust.

The fight is on and Rocky once again relying on his old mentor and friend Mickey to train him. But Rocky’s head is not in it as he is too concerned about Adrian and the baby. While Rocky is deep in his training with his head preoccupied, Adrian is rushed too hospital due to complications with the pregnancy. The baby is born premature and as a result, Adrian ends up in a coma. Rocky refuses too leave her side and gives up on the training and fight.

Adrian eventually comes around from her coma and is given the all clear and asks Rocky to do one thing for her…win.
With Adrian in the clear and with her support. Rocky begins his training once more and this time he takes it seriously.

Its fight night and everyone is excited. The rematch that nobody ever thought would happen is here.
Rocky wins this one this time via a KO and becomes heavyweight world champion, this is where the film ends.

Rocky II, despite its problems is a worthy sequel and continues the story really well. But what next for Rocky now he has beaten Apollo? Enter Mr.T.

Rocky III

Rocky III: Once again written and directed by Sylvester Stallone. We see Rocky as a very different man since the last film.

Rocky has now become a major celebrity and serious boxing champion winning fight after fight. He has money and fame.
The true underdog story has fans loving Rocky and all he had achieved. Rocky has become a mega-star in the boxing world and a celebrity in his own right.

But not everyone is a fan of Rocky. This is where we are introduced to Clubber Lang (Mr.T). A young, tough and hungry fighter. He is everything Rocky used to be before becoming famous.

Clubber picks a fight just as Rocky is announcing his retirement (again). Clubber starts to insult Rocky and Adrian and this spurs Rocky to agree to a boxing match.
Mickey refuses to have any part of it as he feels Rocky is not good enough any more and tells Rocky his title defences have all been set ups to help make Rocky look good.
Rocky convinces Mickey to train him for one last fight and promises to work hard.

This is where we get to see the extent to Rocky’s celebrity status as he doesn’t take the fight nor the training seriously and believes it will be a walk in the park.
Rocky’s training consists of him posing for pictures and kissing female fans and some light boxing training in between if he has time.
Clubber on the other hand goes old school and trains like like the hungry fighter he is.

The fight eventually comes around and on the way to the ring, Clubber starts the insults once more and this time Mickey is caught in the crossfire and ends up suffering a heart attack just before the fight. Rocky wants to postpone the fight but Mickey urges Rocky to carry on.

The fight goes ahead and due a combination of not taking the fight seriously (like Apollo in the first film), not training properly and worrying about Mickey. Rocky loses and loses big. This is not a fight that goes the distance and Clubber squeaks past on points. Rocky is destroyed and KOed in the second round. Clubber becomes the new heavyweight champion.
Rocky retreats back to his dressing room where Mickey is lying down after his heart attack. Mickey asks how the fight went and Rocky lies and tells him that he won, shorty after Mickey dies.

Apollo suggests a rematch with Clubber. With his friend, trainer and mentor gone. Rocky is just not interested in fighting any more.
Creed offers to help train Rocky with his trainer Duke (Tony Burton) for his rematch with Clubber Lang but only if he takes it seriously and Rocky trains Apollo’s way, eventually Rocky agrees to a rematch. Clubber is more than willing to take on Rocky again, he beat him once so why not again?
Apollo breaks Rocky down to rid him of his celebrity world he now lives in and rebuilds him as a tough fighter akin to how he used to be. Creed takes Rocky to an old, run-down gym where Apollo first started to train and uses outdated methods to get Rocky back on form.
Rocky’s heart is just not in it and admits to Adrian he is afraid. Adrian convinces Rocky to keep at it and he returns to the training.

Eventually fight night comes around and Creed’s training methods work. Its a brutal, tough fight, but Rocky wins by a knock-out to become heavyweight champ again and is back on top.

Here ends round I, but round II is up next where I look at the last three films in the series and Rocky gets more than a little “silly”.


Movie titles are starting to annoy me

This is a petty and mostly inane point I’m going to attempt to make, but its just a bit of fun and I’m still going to make it anyway.

Movie titles, why are they so damn annoying?
I suppose it would be a good idea to give an example or seven. So I’ll start with a movie series who’s titles are almost perfect…almost.


The Rocky Saga.
A great collection of boxing based films starting Sylvester Stallone with arguably his most famous creation: Rocky Balboa.

These films have the finest movie titling.
Rocky, Rocky II, Rocky III, Rocky IV and “finally” Rocky V.
No the titles are not the most imaginative at all. However, you know which order to watch them in.
Simple, but effective.

Now I did previously say “finally” Rocky V because, of course, Rocky V was not the final film…it was just the final one to keep the consistent titling.
The next film was was called Rocky Balboa.
Now my problem with this titling is that it removes itself from the perfectly fine previous Roman numeral system that’s proven to work. If you are a casual viewer then the Rocky Balboa film does not even sound like it’s meant to be part of the same series, almost as if its some kind of a reboot or spin-off like the upcoming Creed picture.
What was wrong with the title Rocky VI, that’s what people tend to call it anyway.

Sticking with Sylvester Stallone, let’s take a look at his other famous film series.


What is the first film called again? Though most people call it Rambo, that is not what the film is actually named. The first film is titled; First Blood. That’s all, just First Blood.
So what about the sequel? Well this is one (but not only) sequel where the original title becomes a subtitle. So for the first sequel we now have; Rambo: First Blood Part II. Why not just First Blood Part II, works fine does it not?
The next film in the series then removes the original title entirely and becomes Rambo III. But technically there never was a Rambo II for a Rambo III to even exist and even more so the first film to be called Rambo was First Blood Part II. So its the sequel that is the first Rambo titled film.
Keeping with the continuity, the films should have been called; First Blood, Rambo: First Blood Part II, Rambo II: First Blood Part III…or they could have just gone with; First Blood, First Blood II and First Blood III instead.

But wait, just like with Rocky before…there was another film in the series. So what did they go for, First Blood Part III (as there never was a titled First Blood Part III), Rambo IV, Rambo IV: First Blood Part III?
Nope, just Rambo. Now this title sounds like we are talking about the first film again.
Seriously, try to have a conversation about watching Rambo with someone. Just say “I watched Rambo last night.” Are you talking about the first Rambo as in First Blood or do you mean the first filmed called Rambo, the sequel Rambo: First Blood Part II, or Rambo the forth film?

There is yet another Rambo film coming next year too, what is this one going to be called? Well its title is Rambo: Last Blood. This actually makes sense, its referencing the original, its got the title character in there and its set to be the last film in the series. So yeah Rambo: Last Blood actually makes sense, its taken four sequels to get there though.

Enough with Sly, I’d like to move onto a different film franchise.


The Bourne series.
They go in order The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy, The Bourne Ultimatum, The Bourne Legacy.
Yeah I nailed the correct order, but I didn’t know the correct order. I honestly had to research this (pre picture up there ^), yes I had to research which order a film series should be in.

Its titles like this that need the whole main and subtitle thing to get people up to speed with which film is which and where it should be chronologically, yet it’s one franchise that does not have it.
OK, if you’re an avid fan then you’ll know the correct order the films should be in. But here’s my point, not everyone is an avid fan. So how would the average movie goer that had heard of the Bourne films know which film to start with unless they (like I had to) research them first?

Now they have announced another film in the series. Its not been given a title yet, but another film is just going to make working out which film goes where even harder to the casual viewer.
We are slowly moving into a time where we will have to research a film series just to know which one is which.

Remember the whole using the main title of a film for its subtitle from Rambo? Well here’s another guilty party.

Jurasic Park

Jurassic Park.
An all time classic that spawned three sequels.
But what about that first sequel and its title…Jurassic Park II maybe? Nope, we get; The Lost World: Jurassic Park. Again, the main title being demoted to a subtitle.
So the second sequel is The Lost World II: Jurassic Park III, right? Nah, just Jurassic Park III. But again here we have the Rambo problem as there was no titled Jurassic Park II for Jurassic Park III to exist.
Use numbers/numerals or use the title/subtitle thing, I really don’t mind either way. But choose just one per franchise instead of constantly changing within the same franchise.

Then there is the fourth film in the franchise, Jurassic Park IV…except its not Jurassic Park IV is it? This time its Jurassic World. Again here, the title makes sense in relation to the plot of the film itself. As its now become a genuine tourist attraction al-la Disney World. So yeah, Jurassic World makes perfect sense…but not when the last film was called Jurassic Park III and the one before that was called The Lost World: Jurassic Park. Its Rambo (or First Blood) all over again.
They have even green-lit another sequel. What are they going to call this Jurassic World II…which is actually Jurassic Park V? But the title Jurassic World II would not make much sense…unless people are stupid enough to go back to a theme park where dinosaurs killed people.

Damn Dinosaurs. Maybe Xenomorphs can do better.


Alien Tetralogy (not “Quadrilogy”, as there is no such word).
One of the finest Sci-Fi films made…well the first one is anyway.

Alien is a simple title that tells you everything and nothing at the same time.
So what was the first sequel called, Maybe keep it simple and just call it Alien 2? (this actually was the original title) The first sequel was titled: Aliens, plural as in more than one. This makes perfect sense as the film does feature more than one alien, where as the original film only had one. So yeah that works fine.
The second sequel…More Aliens? Well that would not work as there is only one alien this time. Alien Again? No, as that is stupid. So, Alien 3 then. It is the third film of the series and only one alien. So yeah it “works”.
So onto the next one in the series. Alien 4…no wait, there’s more than one alien again. So how about Aliens 2: Alien 4? Its consistent to the plot and truthful to the series…but a stupid title. So we got Alien: Resurrection. Now this is a title that does make sense with the plot seeing as Ripley died at the end of Alien 3 but is “resurrected” in this one. But it makes no sense chronologically speaking. Again, if you are a casual viewer you’d have no idea this is the forth film, could be the second, could be the fifth as there is no indication if there is a fourth film, or even a second for that mater. Could be a whole new restart to the franchise with a title like Resurrection.

Like with some of of my previous examples, this is another film that is getting a new entry due for release in 2017. But unlike me other examples, this is not a sequel to Alien: Resurrection, but a sequel to Aliens set before Alien 3. So its a sequel and prequel…God knows what they could call this one. Aliens 2: The Sequel That’s A Prequel?
Then there is Prometheus and it’s recently announced sequel to take into account. Seeing as Prometheus is “technically” the first Alien film…but not a prequel. With Prometheus 2 being its sequel. So a sequel, to a film set before Alien which is not actually a prequel despite it being set in the same universe.

When did movie titles get so damn annoying?
Oh I have more of these annoying movie titles, but I’ll save them for a sequel post. Steve Perrin: Movie Titles Are Starting To Annoy Me Part II: The Return, A Prequel.