Five years after the highest grossing Rocky film of the franchise in terms of box-office success came the highly anticipated Rocky V (aka 5). Sylvester Stallone is back in the role of Rocky, and he also wrote the script (as he did with all of the films), the director of the original John G. Avildsen returns to direct what initially appeared too be Rocky’s last outing. Talia Shire and Burt Young are back in their characters’ shoes, and Burgess Meredith makes a special appearance in a montage shot for Rocky’s reflection on the past. Stallone hired his own son Sage Stallone to play Robert (Rocky Jr) Balboa.
When Rocky discovers that consistent damage too his head while boxing, has given him damage too the brain, he is forced to retire. The added news that all their money has been squandered by the family accountant means that poverty is at the end of Rocky’s tunnel. He is forced to sell all of his wealthy possessions because of taxes and then the whole family move back to their “old place”. Rocky now runs Mickey’s old gym, and when young fighter Tommy Gunn comes by asking for Rocky’s coaching, he accepts the request and sees a lot of potential in Gunn. Unfortunately Rocky Jr is feeling neglected and as Tommy and Rocky form more of a bond, it seems that one in his homes is slipping away. It would seem that Tommy “has the tools, he just doesn’t have the heart”, and as he’s constantly compared to Rocky, he is soon lured away by cars and money. However when Tommy wins the championship, and is still living in Rocky’s shadow, he feels that the only thing left to do is defeat Rocky in order to prove himself. A series of insults follow, until Rocky has no choice but to teach Tommy a lesson; this leads to an exhilarating street fight that keeps you on edge and cheering Rocky’s name.
Rocky V had a lot of expectations that it unfortunately didn’t meet, apparently the story was edited and not as originally intended by Stallone. The acting on display saves the film from complete disaster, as Stallone actually puts on a great performance as Rocky, with all the heart that we witnessed years ago. The plot was very weak, and after seeing an underdog reach his goals, it does put a downer on everything knowing he’s a “bum” again. I wasn’t impressed with Tommy Morrison’s portrayal of Tommy Gunn, but the fight scene at the end was very entertaining.
If you’re a fan of the series then Rocky V will be worth your attention, but otherwise it might be worth giving this one a miss.