16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Recall what it was that appealed to you about "Rocky", the original motion picture. If you are like me, it was the down and out tough guy Rocky, with a heart of pure gold, who finds true love with Adrian, and who gets a one in a million chance and makes the most of it. It is the courage and heart of Rocky that make you want to stand up and cheer for the guy. We love him because we see so much of him in all of us. Unfortunately, the side of Rocky we love so much is gone in Rocky III.
In Rocky III, Rocky loses himself to fame and glory. The guy with the heart of gold who cracks corny jokes is replaced by a successful well-dressed, well-housed, cultured man, who has transformed himself into a man-of-the-world through his successes. He is no longer the man we fell in love with in the original. He has changed. (I suspect this story is a treatise of the personal life of Sylvester Stallone, as his is a rags to riches overnight success story as well).
The theme of the movie is that success spoils (and changes) a person, as it takes away the inner drive to push forward and strive to be the best. In Rocky's case, he loses his title (to the fearsome Clubber Lang, whose personality and style resemble Mike Tyson) and manager (Mickey - heart attack) in one felled swoop, and is lost in a sea of fear and indecision. Coming to the rescue is none other than Apollo Creed, the man Rocky took the title from originally. Creed takes over for the deceased Mickey Goldmill, and tries to transform Rocky from a crude slugger to a svelt polished boxer. He meets with limited success, as the real problem is that for the first time in his life, Rocky is afraid to face his opponent. A confrontation on the beach between wife Adrian and Rocky is the turning point of the film. It is very well done by the way. Talia Shire (Adrian) is often overlooked as just being Rocky's wife, but her scenes in all the films are some of the best scenes of all, and give the films the heart and soul that make the series so enjoyable. As the moral compass of his life, Adrian gets to the heart of the matter and sets her man back on the right path. This sets the stage for the rematch, where we already know what the outcome is going to be.
Rocky overcomes his fear, uses his new polished boxing skills gleaned from Apollo Creed, and trounces the feared Clubber. For me, it is too formulaic to work. The fight scenes with Clubber are pure baloney (my gosh, does either fighter know that it is legal to block a punch?). The fight is meant to demonstrate that Rocky has overcome his fear of Clubber, but the "boxing" is so contrived, it is hard to take seriously.
Hulk Hogan plays a minor role that lends some comic diversion to the story. Hogan is impressive and realistic in playing his wrestling personna.
Mr. T plays the fearsome Clubber Lang. Lang is very much like the real-life Mike Tyson we have come to despise. Stallone developed the character of Clubber Lang 3 years before Tyson came on the boxing scene, so Tyson cannot be the inspiration for the personality of Clubber. In any event, Clubber is an animal (he has the "eye of the tiger") who trains himself in primitive surroundings and will stop at nothing to
become the champion. Mr. T is to be congratulated for his over-the-top performance.
The scene where trainer Mickey dies is a tear-jerking one, and it is well-done. Where Adrian is Rocky's moral compass, Mick is Rocky's professional compass, enabling and inspiring Rocky to be more than he can be. Mick gives Rocky confidence and success because Rocky knows Mick believes in him (and he respects Mick). Burgess Meredith was the quintessential boxing trainer, all full of spit, grit, and vinegar. I will miss him.
While the film deals with a crisis of courage and heart in Rocky, (a serious theme indeed), it somewhat lacks the inspiring emotional punch that was so evident in the original film. It tries to recapture this in the training sequences with Apollo, but falls a bit short (can we seriously believe that Rocky can outrun Apollo Creed? Again, too contrived for my liking). But what the heck, this is the second sequel, so how much can we ask of a sequel?
The film is certainly entertaining, but it is not the picture of the year that "Rocky" was in 1976.
Jim "Konedog" Koenig
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on February 6, 2007
Rocky III starring Sylvester Stallone
Since I was a kid, I love to watch action movies.
I often go to watch action movies - even though they may be deemed 'no-brainers' - with only two objectives in mind. One, to be entertained, & two, to learn something useful.
Sylvester Stallone is one of my favourite action movie stars, despite the fact that he has drooping eyes, a crooked mouth & talks funny. I have watched many of his action movies, which included Rocky I to III, Rambo I (First Blood) to III, Judge Dredd, The Specialist, Demolition Man, Cliffhanger, Tango & Cash, Cobra & Nighthawks.
I would like to single out one of his action movies, Rocky III, which I thought shares many valuable learning points in terms of life (survival) skills.
The focus of the entire movie centres on his reluctant return (again as Rocky Balboa) to the ring after an earlier brutal knock-out & devastating defeat by Clubber Lang (played by Mr T), with the encouragement of Apollo Creed (played again by Carl Weathers). Rocky struggled through his fears & anguish as he kept playing the vivid images of past defeat in his mind.
On the other hand, Apollo kept drumming into Rocky's thick skulls about the urgent need to regain his fighting spirit.
It was very interesting to watch both of them & also to listen to their witty dialogue, as Rocky struggled to attain his former killer instinct, the eye of the tiger, while undergoing intensive re-training. Flashbacks of his failed encounter with Clubber Lang constanly kept Rocky awake at night. It was quite fun to watch Mr T in his meanest role as a wrecking machine in the ring.
In one early training scene, Rocky was really exhausted & he wanted to stop: "Let's do it tomorrow." Apollo screamed: "There's no tomorrow!"
The scene at the beach & the subsequent dialogue between Rocky & his wife, Adrian (played by Talia Shire), was really touching & motivating.
A very concerned Adrian asked one pertinent question: "Why did you come here?".
Rocky began to reveal his inner fears & lingering doubts through his conversation with Adrian.
The final revelation actually came from Rocky as he yelled: "Nothing is real if you don't believe in who you are!"
A lot of the times in our lives when we encounter stumbling blocks or setbacks in our path to seek out our fondest dreams, we often begin to lose steam & doubt ourselves. This often happen to kids & teens when they get an F in a test or may be just flunk school. Like Rocky, we keep playing the images of self-defeat in our minds & begin to lose the original focus & intended purpose at the beginning of the journey.
The interview dialogue between Clubber Lang & the reporter was also witty but meaningful. When asked for his strategy to counter Rocky's comeback to the ring, his remarks were "Don't need any!"
When asked again by the reporter for his prediction, he retorted: "Pain!"
At the ring just before the fight, Clubber Lang said menacingly to Rocky: "I'm going to bust you up!" Rocky's immediate response: "Go for it!"
Putting these dialogues into a life-skill perspective, I am sure readers will concur with my following analyses:
- If we don't have a strategy in life, pain is definitely what we will get.
- The best way to deal with fear is to fight it! FEAR is just a FALSE EVENT APPEARING REAL!
- Alway believe in ourself & in our ability to perform & succeed in the things we are working on. Believing that we can make it happen is an important step toward creating a desired future. Napoleon Hill, author of the 'Law of Success', rightly said that, it takes a person half their lives to discover that life is a do-it-yourself project.
- In life, everything is possible; it's just a question of strategy!
If you have not yet watched Rocky III, I strongly suggest you watch it quickly & carefully. You will learn hell a lot from this movie!
All Mums & Dads out there, I strongly urge both of you to go & watch this movie with your kids & teens!
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on December 19, 2005
After his monumental victory over Apollo Creed in Rocky 2, Rocky Balboa returns in Rocky 3. His world now is in stark contrast to what was portrayed in the original Rocky, and to some degree, Rocky 2. In R1, Rocky is a social outcast, unwanted, unkempt, and a person who barely can support himself, let alone survive. Realistically, he is a bum. He pays his dues as a club fighter, then gets a shot at the charismatic world champ, "Apollo" Creed, who does indeed look like a Greek god. After Balboa endures a tough match with creed, this is indeed the begining of his journey out of the harsh existence he lived in South Philadelphia and on to a stellar boxing career. In R2, things begin to take a turn for the better financially, though he has to work a little harder to live. Things are not as bad as before, and this seems to be a transitional phase for him. He has bought himself a modest house and a sports car and also gets the chance to do commercials, even though this does not work out well. After quiting boxing temporarily and being humiliated back into the ring, he eventually defeats Creed for the World Title, and is catapulted into stardom. In addition, he marries "Adrian" and has a son.
Now, we arrive at Rocky 3. In contrast to R1, Mr Balboa is not only the world champ now, but has reached the pinnacle of success as a boxer he has longed for; he has earned millions, lives like a king in a stately castle-like mansion, he sports a new dapper image in his designer suits, has a new hairstyle, is well manicured and groomed, drives exotic sports cars and is chauffered around in a limo as well. He is on the cover of "Time" and numerous other publications, countless commercials, pursued by many women much to the chagrin of Adrian, and is probably the most popular and loved guy on the planet. It's a life that the majority of us can only remotely fathom. Rocky is also a carved, tanned and chisled specimen, every muscle fine tuned and ready for action. He is literally on top of the world at this point and has it in his hands. Nothing could be better, and life is great. Rocky also takes on a match between him and the one and only "Hulk" Hogan, a mammoth wrestling superstar, as a way to further promote his celebrity and support a good cause as well.
We are also presented with clips of Balboa literally demolishing his opponents with ease, each fight as if it were just "another day in the office" for him. During those clips, we also see a mysterious, freakish character who destroys his opposition, and is also present at one of Balboa's fights. More on him shortly :)
Rocky is at the top of his game, is in peak physical and mental condition, and seems to be cruising towards an early retirement. One day, he announces to a mass of supporters at an unveiling of his statue that he is finally leaving the ring. Then, Alas, we are introduced to a one "Clubber" Lang, BKA "Mr. T", who eventually becomes one of the most popular and recognizable celebrities and icons of the 1980s and beyond. Lang, an intimidating figure, is a hungry, boisterous, cocky but well skilled and confident fighter. Currently, he is undefeated, and the top contender for the world title who wants his chance. At the outdoor gathering Lang not only demands a title shot from Balboa, but challenges Balboa on the spot and makes lewd remarks to Adrian as well. This almost brings the two men to blows, and after departing the ruckus at the event, Rocky later decides he will grant Mr. Lang a shot.
However, "Mickey", Balboa's longtime trainer, friend and confidant urges Rocky NOT to take this fight. Mickey, in his great experience and wisdom as a fight trainer, sees that Balboa has lost the edge, and tells him that he can't win against Lang. Mickey's famous "he's a human wrecking machine", one of the best undocumented quotes in the series, does not disuade Balboa one bit. this upsets Rocky, and the two become at odds over the situation. Eventually, Mickey reluctantly trains Balboa. Adrian is also apprehensive, but supports him as well.
Balboa sets up training headquarters in the lobby of a posh hotel, filled with admirers and distractions, unlike the rough and ragged South Philly gym where he honed his champion skills. Rocky is not focused on his training, and the whole spectacle is a joke. Mickey does not like the setup, and insists they go back to the old gym. Rocky figures he will dispose of Lang in a few rounds, so why bother? It is nothing like the classic Rocky training for a fight here at all. None of the sweat, none of the passion he enveloped himself in previously. He seems to have lost his hunger, his desire and motivation. Most of all, "The eye of the Tiger".
Meanwile, Lang trains possessed, like a madman, running, skipping, bagwork and pullups, situps, all in a makeshift, dungeonlike gym. The shots of him training are classic, especially the pullups. You can see how passionate he is, and how bad he wants to win.
The date of the fight arrives, and in the hallway, Lang and Balboa confront each other amongst a crowd of security, ring personnel and press. Mickey then suffers a heart attack, and is broght to the locker room. Mickey's condition worsens, and Balboa is not in the mental state of mind to fight. Mickey, as his last gift to Rocky, urged him to go ahead with the fight.
As Rocky enters the arena he is distracted, deflated and defeated. He is totally oblivious to the crowd, and he would rather be anywhere but the fight. Apollo Creed makes an appearance, and since their last fight, Balboa and Creed still appear to have some slight tension between them. Nonetheless, Creed breaks the ice and gives Rocky his best wishes against Lang, who rebuffed him seconds earlier, and in turn, Rocky, though surprised, reciprocates the gesture. The two fighters then square off finally, and Rocky lands some good punches here and there, but they are not telegraphed or thrown with the deliberation of a champion. After a few minutes of sizing Balboa up, Lang assaults him with a never ending barrage of rib crushing blows. A few more minutes of combinations, Lang delivers a terrifying knockout punch and Balboa is down for the count, with Lang the new world champion. Rocky who just suffered a humiliating loss, heads back to the locker room and watches Mickey draw his last breath. Devastated over Mickey's death and his defeat, Rocky cannot make sense of what just happened.
Mickey's funeral takes place, then Rocky mulls over the events of the last few days. He goes back to the old gym, and ponders his future, retraces his steps and remenisces about Mickey. All of a sudden, a deep, familiar voice breaks the silence, and none other than Apollo Creed enters the training area. Rocky is apprehensive at first, wondering what the hell is he doing here? After an awkward exchange of pleasantries, the tension settles and Creed tells Balboa that his success and material wealth has taken his edge and hunger away. Creed then extends the offer to help Balboa get the "Eye of the Tiger" back and defeat Lang. Rocky accepts. Even though Creed has talked badly about Balboa in the previous 2 movies, he seemed to have an underlying respect for Rocky, even though he didn't show it.
An unlikely partnership and eventual friendship is formed between the two, who were once bitter enemies in and out of the ring, and Balboa announces a comeback with Creed in his corner. Rocky, annoying brother in law "Paulie", Creed, his own trainer "Duke", and Adrian trek to Creed's old gym in L.A. to help get back his fire. Initially, Rocky is slow and sluggish, and has no desire to train anymore, much to the frustration of Apollo, who almost gives up. I think the fact that Mickey was not around definitely played a part in this. In time, however, we begin to see the old Rocky come back to life, the sweat, the perfect, machine gun like precision on the bags and the rope. Creed and Duke also have Rocky doing different excercises, such as swimming and sprinting on the beach, really going all out. One of the most inspirational and famous soundtracks ever made, Survivor's hit "The eye of the Tiger" is played during training, and really adds intensity to the impending events to come.
After additional traning, the entourage heads back home, and the fight with Lang takes place. After all of the pre-fight hype, the two meet for the second time, and in the face off, Lang says "I'm gonna bust you up."Rocky says,"Go for it." The two then exchange punches, and Lang discovers he is facing a vastly different opponent this time, a different challenger than before who did not earn his name by mistake. Lang lands punishing blows, and it almost seems as if Balboa may take a turn for the worse. Rocky then makes a classic comback, and floors Lang to reclaim the title.
I will definitely say that this was the last true film of the Rocky saga, and IMO, should have been the final segment to a great story. Mr T definitely added to this picture, and honestly, it would have not been as appealing without him. I will go on a very fragile limb and say he stole parts of the movie, but not the entire film. While it was sad to see Mickey move on, I think this was another important part of the series. If you haven't seen this film, do yourself a favor and give it a go. You won't be disappointed.