Saturday, January 6, 2007

A Rocky Road

By now, I'm sure most of you have heard 60 year old Sylvester Stallone is reprising his pugnacious pugilist, Rocky Balboa, in a movie of the same name.

I was quite leery of this sequel, the sixth in the series. Stallone's age, the weak stories of IV and V, and the "curse of sequels" all gave me pause as to the viability of yet another Rocky. I had loved the first three as a kid, seeing the Rocky and Rocky II on cable in the early 80's, then Rocky III in the theater. The fourth and fifth installments I saw on cable, and was not impressed by either.

I've not seen Rocky Balboa, as yet, but word of mouth and critic reviews all speak highly of the film. It takes itself seriously, working in Rocky's age with some humor and dignity, while still delivering a solid and enjoyable story. I am hoping to go see this film soon, and recapture some of the excitement I got from watching the first three.

Another reason I am interested is because the main opponent in VI is Mason Dixon, played by Antonio Tarver. Tarver is from my hometown of Tampa, Florida and is the the world light heavyweight champion boxer. It's always a bit of civic pride to see a local make a name for themselves outside politics or scandal. I think he will be a perfect foil for Stallone's Rocky.

Rocky Balboa's tagline is, "It ain't over 'til it's over."

So, the big question now is, "Is it over, Sly?"

It's unlikely there will be another Rocky, but Rambo ain't over. It's true. Stallone is starring and directing a fourth outing for the ex-Green Beret. The title is Rambo IV: Pearl of the Cobra , as listed on imdb (International Movie DataBase).

I suppose he could pull another Rocky Balboa out of his bag of tricks, but somehow I doubt it. This outing the erstwhile Rambo is protecting Christian human rights missionaries in Burma. Protecting them against ... pirates. (Does anyone else think Pearl in the name was a coincidental allusion to Pirates of the Caribbean" Curse of the Black Pearl? I didn't think so. =/) Eventually, John Rambo has to assemble a group of mercenaries to rescue some of those missionaries who have been captured by Burmese soldiers. This begs the question, why didn't he protect them in the first place? Maybe because he is too old?

I like Sylvester Stallone's movies, most of them anyhow, but he should be satisfied with the critical and popular success of Rocky Balboa and let John Rambo stay retired with his wife. (Yes, he's married now).

If this trend of Stallone's continues, can we expect to see a Rocky VII? Weird Al Yankovic has already made the theme song for it. YouTube has a brand new video post by zzz711 putting the song to video:

What are your thoughts on Rocky Balboa? Have you seen it? Did you like it? Do you think another Rambo is a good idea? Should he combine the two anthologies into Romby, the ex-Green Beret street fighter who must stop the terrorist boxer, Punchee ibn Dafase, from winning the WBA title? Or, maybe a Disney collaboration with Bambi's son, Bambo, taking on illegal loggers and land grabbers in the forest?

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