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Customer Review

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars YOU KNOW WHAT?, February 2, 2007
This review is from: Rocky Iii (DVD)
This -- THIS -- is the perfect film to show someone [with a respectable level of intelligence] who find themselves dogging Stallone. Trust me -- the opportunity arises around every corner, if you talk movies with any range of people. Who, then, would even imagine that 'Rocky III' is perhaps the finest cinematic accomplishment of Stallone's career, and a true testament to the fact that Stallone is actually a hugely talented man, rather than a hammy action star of B-grade flicks?

So why 'Rocky III' amidst the vast Stallone catalog? Because it's an impeccably crafted film that does just about everything right. It is perfectly paced, features great nuance, acting, and most importantly, directing. Ahhh yes, Stallone the director. Never in my life would I imagine the guy had such skill to craft something so exceptional. I mean, really, exceptional; certain films strike me as good films, some have great individual elements, technically, and others I just downright like; 'Rocky III' is one of those films that just screams "exquisite direction" to me. Funny, too, given it's Stallone the director we're talking about, huh?

Most everything works phenomenally. The editing is tight and pristinely timed. Conti's score hits all the right notes (his cue for the final fight is superb). The acting is passionate and naturalistic -- Burgess Meredith as Mickey and Carl Weathers' Apollo Creed both stand out, amongst the consistently solid Stallone. Oh yes, Mr. T! It's funny, because people think 'Rocky III' and little more than a humored "Oh the one where he fights Mr. T" comes to mind. This is terribly unfortunate, for not only does it bypass what truly is a great film, but, surprisingly, Mr. T's performance is riveting; he is entirely consumed with his character. More than a balls-to-the-wall animal, his acting displays evocative subtleties -- the entire final fight (boxing aside), his character drips of doubt amongst his facade as he realizes Rocky is prepared and as confident as he is; when he begins to get tumbled by Rocky, he reveals a near catatonic sense of emotion at the temporary defeat he's just been subjected to, seemingly unable to cope. Really, it's downright impressive.

It just feels like Stallone really injected all he had into this sequel. Not ever scene works, but most do. You've got the anxiety that goes with seeing a high-and-mighty Rocky go down in two rounds. Later on, a montage of Rocky training (to inspirational Conti greatness) packs a wallop with its perfectly trimmed self. The fight scenes themselves, while perhaps not technically accurate, are entertaining as all, with ravishing cinematography and, again, editing. The directing and editing, more than anything, give 'Rocky III' an entitled sense of rhythm that is so unique; the film dances. What a dance.

It's not perfect, but I really do find this film great. It's beautifully shot, at the very least; boxing never looked so lush. I don't care that it's the third film in a series; it doesn't destroy 'Rocky III''s sense of accomplishment one bit.

Stallone, as evidenced in this film, is a brilliant filmmaker with a slew of punches to throw out. 'Rocky IV', unfortunately, saw him revel in his own excess (and I love the movie for that very reason, despite the fact that it's a --huge-- drop in quality on a --film-- level), but even there it was obvious the man possessed boatloads of style. Here, style only accentuates the piercing substance, and it's a lovely thing.

Long live 'Rocky III'. Four and a half stars.
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