Rocky Balboa (2006)

(In French, On TV, March 2015) I’m surprised to find out that I don’t dislike Rocky Balboa as much as I expected to.  After all, I went in the film with a number of prejudices and shortcomings: I don’t particularly like Sylvester Stallone, I don’t have any special affection for boxing, my memories of the Rocky series (of which this is the sixth entry) are fuzzy to the point of uselessness, I dislike the trend of reviving old franchises and couldn’t make sense of this film’s premise, in which Rocky is brought out of retirement and improbably goes head-to-head with a top-notch boxer.  What’s the point of this Rocky Balboa, then?  But as it turns out, the result is decently entertaining without being overly compelling.  The premise is still far-fetched, asking us to believe in a quasi-sixtysomething boxer holding his own against a much younger opponent.  But the film acknowledges its own absurdity, dwells on the age of its protagonist and doesn’t exactly hand him anything but a moral victory.  There’s a little bit of thematic depth regarding the irresistible lull that drives men out of retirement, and reconciliation between father and son.  So it is that, even with everything running against it, Rocky Balboa ends up being a decent film firmly in the underdog tradition of the series.  Viewers watching the European-French dub may get some extra entertainment value in hearing how some familiar English idioms are translated.

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