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The M.O.W.'s Movie Reviews (333)

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Rocky III 
Almost loses "The Eye of the Tiger" itself
2.5/4 stars

"Rocky Balboa" (Sylvester Stallone, who also wrote and directed the movie), the Professional Boxing World Heavyweight Champion, is living the life he sought. He lives in a huge house with his family, has been on the cover of various magazines and has numerous endorsment deals. However, unknown to him, he has gotten soft inside the ring to the point where his manager, "Mickey" (Burgess Meredith) booked him in bouts with inferior fighters. Even getting in the ring with the cocky professional wrestling star, "Thunderlips" (Hulk Hogan in his acting debut).

He lost his edge, and "Mickey" knew it. However, the champ wouldn't believe it. He even went against "Mickey's" orders, and accepted the challenge of "Clubber Lang" (Mr. T in one of his most famous roles), a tough, bad attitude boxer who rapidly reached the Number One Contendership by himself with no trainer helping him out.

"Mickey" warned "Balboa" not to accept "Lang's challenge, but the mohawked fighter verbally went after the champ's wife (Talia Shire) at a public appearance. He immediately accepted the challenge. However, "Mickey" was proven right, and "Balboa" lost the title to "Lang." And, to make things worse, "Mickey" suffers a heart attack backstage during a confrontation between "Balboa" and "Lang", and dies in the dressing room as "Lang" easily defeats the champion for the title.

Now, "Balboa" has to regain what he once had. And he gets help from an old rival (Carl Weathers). A rival who once saw the "Eye of the Tiger" when he fought "The Italian Stallion" himself for the title.

This is one slow moving movie, especially about half-way through the film. I saw myself looking at websites around that time more than watching the film on On Demand. It does pick up leading up to the rematch between the two boxing rivals around the time "Apollo Creed" shows up.

The acting is near perfect all around. You knew almost immediately when "Balboa" admits that he lost his edge, by Stallone's performance in the scene, that the death of "Mickey" affected him deeply. Certain cast members were performing characters who were more important in the previous two movies. I felt that they were there because they somewhat advanced the storyline, or were just there because they have been part of the series since the first movie in the franchise.

I liked the chemistry between Stallone and Weathers in this film. In previous films, they were rivals, and now they are on the same side. They acted like two professionals in one of the toughest sports on the planet, one now acting more like a teacher more than a rival who was still annoyed at once losing the title to his now-student. Weathers really shined in this role, making the audience forget how arrogant he was six years before in the first movie.

Another breakout performance was that of Mr. T. Surprisingly, as "Balboa" is getting back his edge, "Lang" is almost forgotten. The film focuses more on "Balboa" training for the rematch more than "Lang" living the life of the defending champion. You almost completely forget he was in the movie until he comes back into the story for the rematch. Personally, I would have liked to have seen some references to "Lang" as "Balboa" is in training. This was the role that gave Mr. T his tough guy image. He was the bad guy you wanted to see destroyed.

This film is predictable. You know who will win at the end. Personally, I would have liked to have seen some plot twists that would have made the end a little less preditable.

Another problem with this film is the soundtrack. I can only remember two songs in the film -- the "Rocky Theme" piece that is so recognizable now you know immediately where it came from, and "Eye of the Tiger" by the one-hit-wonder (this song) Survivor.

Another problem with this film is, at times, it is hard to understand Stallone's speaking. At times, I had to rely on what others in the scene were saying in response to understand what was going on.

Unless you already own the other movies, I say get this film on VHS/DVD to complete the series. I also think that this would be a pretty good third choice to rent.

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