Sylvester Stallone wrote, directed and starred in the third instalment of the cult film series Rocky. Once again Stallone puts on the gloves to portray the loveable underdog Rocky Balboa, Talia Shire returns as loving wife Adrian, Burt Young is back as Paulie and Burgess Meredith is trainer Mickey, not to mention Mr. T makes his film début as the nasty Clubber Lang. Mr. T was originally a bouncer and was noticed by Stallone for his amateur wrestling and got this role in Rocky III, which later led to success with cult television show The A team. Stallone originally wanted a real heavyweight boxer for the role of Clubber Lang, as he believed he’d reached a certain level of boxing capabilities that he would be able to maintain the pace. However when a trial sparring match with heavyweight boxer Earnie Shavers led to Stallone suffering two broken ribs inside three rounds, the idea was scrapped.
Rocky Balboa is now the heavyweight champion of the world, he’s rich successful and a living legend, after ten title defences he’s considering retirement and settling down with his wife and child. However when ruthless contender Clubber Lang challenges Rocky with insults and jibes, he accepts his challenge as a final appearance in the ring. Nothing goes to plan when Rocky loses the fight within two rounds and Mickey passes away, Rocky is now depressed but gets help from the unlikeliest place. Former foe Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) comes to his aid and convinces him to fight Clubber again, volunteering to give him back his fighting spirit and “the eye of the tiger”.
Rocky III takes the series into a different direction after the first two being drenched in drama; the struggle that Rocky had to go through in the first two was different to this film. Rocky III is more of a boxing film than the others set out to be, however this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I personally really like this film, it is eccentric and fast paced, Mr. T is a great villain and it gives the franchise an energy boost. Survivors theme song “eye of the tiger” is a great inspirational piece and was nominated for an Oscar, this film is very good in it’s own right and a necessary bridge between the past films and the later Rocky films.