Thursday, May 08, 2008

Ridiculously Late Movie Review

Rocky Balboa.

What a strange, strange and above all awful movie.

This is another classic case of flogging a dead horse. The sad part is the first Rocky movie was a masterpiece. A movie about a small time boxer who gets the opportunity of a lifetime to fight the boxing champion of the world. The thing that impressed me the most is that ‘Rocky’ didn’t follow the ultra-cheesy Hollywood formula. Rocky didn’t win the fight in a slow motion sequence seconds before the end of the last round…He just managed to go the distance, something no-one else had managed, proving something to himself. Rocky was about a character winning back his pride, not a boxing match.

Then, following another Hollywood formula, the franchise was run into the ground until no-one gave a shit about it anymore. The original masterpiece was all but forgotten until all people think about when you say ‘Rocky’ is a movie about a guy single-handedly winning the cold war by knocking out a Russian opponent who had more in common with the Terminator than a real-life opponent.

I had high hopes for Rocky Balboa because a sequel released so long after the last movie usually ‘reboots’ the franchise. Compare ‘Batman Begins’ to ‘Batman and Robin’ to see what I mean.

The alarm bells started ringing when I first saw Sylvester Stallone’s face. Let’s face it, Sly isn’t a great actor at the best of times, but in this movie his face was so full of Botox, it was completely frozen. Seriously, only his mouth actually moves. It was like watching a mannequin with a severe speech impediment trying to play a deep, emotional role.

I never understood why actors would even consider Botox. It doesn’t make you look younger, it makes you look like an alien. Also, when acting is your career, why would you take a treatment that makes it impossible for you to convey emotion in your facial expressions? Ridiculous.

The writing and the acting on Sly’s part was so bad that he basically destroyed Rocky for me. I could tell that he was trying to give the impression of a character who is a really nice guy but is desperate for a return to his glory days. Instead he came across as a mildly retarded and totally creepy.

The best way I can describe Rocky as a character in this movie is that creepy delusional guy who hangs around in bars and lies through his teeth. You know, the older guy who tells anyone who’ll listen about how he used to be in the Special Forces, knows all these celebrities and owns a Ferrari that’s always in the shop. The guy you feel sorry for but are also totally repulsed by. The guy you talk to while simultaneously praying he’ll go away.

The rest of the characters aren’t much better. It makes me wonder if Sly has ever talked to a real person before. The movie is filled with stereotypes and two dimensional characters. The whole thing smacks of self-indulgence. This movie is basically a vehicle for Sly to show off his ‘serious’ acting skills. I assume he realizes that as he gets older the action roles are getting thin on the ground, so he should show off how good he is at character acting…unfortunately, he can’t actually act. It’s almost bizarre. The movie is filled with scenes where Rocky goes off on King Lear style speeches every five minutes for absolutely no reason…and these speeches are delivered by a frozen-faced mannequin who can’t form his words properly:

“bleeeeruuuugh mwleeeeerrrrrr Adrian blarbu mrrrerrrooo pride garrrrlooo derrrrrrrooo belief in yourself glarrrnu bleerrrrooo fight.”

Even the story was terrible. It was basically a rehash of the previous movies. Rocky’s retired, a ‘computer simulation’ on ESPN says that if Rocky could have fought the current champion when he was in his prime he would have won. So for about the third time in the franchise, Rocky gets back into the ring ‘one last time’.

It basically followed this formula: Rocky reminisces about the past, ‘inpirational’ self-indulgent speech, more reminiscing, self-indulgent speech…repeat ad nauseum.

Even the big climax wasn’t all that great. In fact, it was a total replay of the first Rocky movie, but with a two dimensional, cardboard cutout character as an opponent instead of Apollo Creed.

In the first movie it was a fight between Rocky and a champion who didn’t train hard, didn’t take the fight seriously which, along with Rocky’s heart and desire to be somebody, resulted in the fight going the distance.

This time it’s exactly the same situation, only instead of inexperience making Rocky the underdog, this time it was his age. The fight went the distance and I honestly thought ‘So what?’ We’re told a hundred times that the opponent Rocky fights is a ‘paper champion’ who holds the belt because he’s never faced a decent opponent.

Basically it’s a fight between an experienced ex-champion who’s let down by his age against a mediocre boxer who refuses to take the fight seriously. Who gives a shit?

If you’ve not seen this movie yet, I’d say don’t bother…especially if you’ve seen the other Rocky movies. There’s absolutely nothing new to see and the movie is basically a parody of itself and Sylvester Stallone’s career.

This movie is about a character who misses his glory days and tries to recapture it with one last fight. That’s basically what Sly’s doing with this movie. He can’t act, he’s getting old and decided to try to recapture his glory days with one last Rocky movie.

I really, really wish that Hollywood would get into the practice of letting great movies stand alone instead of attempting to squeeze every red cent out of the franchise. They take a great work of art and exploit it until everyone is so ridiculously bored that even the original loses its shine.


Saffyre said...

Oh boy are you in for an ass kicking when I see you. You just slated my hero. I love Stallone, and I actually liked this movie. I thought it was freaking fabulous - I loved the new Rambo movie too.

You better run fast when I see you......!!!!

marie said...

Kinda like Star Wars? How many of THOSE have there been? :) (Yes I know im banned from your house for a gajillion years now).

Paulius said...

Saffy : Stallone was great in the first Rocky movie and the first Rambo movie. I'm a fan myself...that being said, Rocky Balboa was absolutely awful and even you have to admit that he looked like the botox monster.

Marie : There have been six Star Wars movies, and all six are part of a saga, complete and planned. Why did you think the first Star Wars movie to be released was 'Episode 4'?

That being said, the prequels did suck ass.

Saffyre said...

I will never admit such a thing. I love him. Botox or not.....and I actually enjoyed the movie. It wasn't as good as the first but it entertained me and that's pretty much all i'm looking for when I watch a movie.

To me, Stallone is God.........oh and I liked the original Star Wars movies, but I thought the prequels were lame as hell!!

Sunny said...

Personally I detest all things Stallone. Hated Rocky, Hated Rambo, Hated Cobra........can't even remember what else he acted in.....

At least Arnold Schwarzenegger has a line everyone remembers....."I'll Be Back".

Unless you count "He Drew First Blood" as a memorable line for Sly...and I don't.

Saffyre said...

*making mental note to have words with Sunny!!*

marie said...

Paul, I have absolutly no clue what the first star wars movie to be released was. Which Im sure is blasphemy to you.BTW, Stallone is a terrible actor in all movies.