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Rocky: The Complete Saga [DVD]
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The underdog. The champ. The icon. Sylvester Stallone is the illustrious boxer Rocky Balboa, in a role all of his own. Now, the Oscar-winning (1976) original and its equally powerful and action-packed successors are presented in Rocky: The Complete Saga. Rocky Balboa is an unlikely winner. At the outset, he’s a second-rate boxer whose trainer has given up on him. That all changes when he "goes the distance" with the reigning champ. In the ensuing saga, Rocky battles the toughest of the tough and weathers even harder bouts outside the ring. With its riveting fight sequences and stirring performances, these six films tell the awe-inspiring story of one hero’s unforgettable journey.
The 1976 Oscar winner for Best Picture, John G Avildsen's Rocky is the story of a down-and-out club fighter who gets his million-to-one shot at a world championship title. In the title role, Sylvester Stallone (who also penned the screenplay) draws a carefully etched portrait of a loser who, in Brando-esque fashion, "coulda been a contender". Rocky then becomes one thanks to a publicity stunt engineered by current champ Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers), while finding love courtesy of timid wallflower Adrian (Talia Shire) along the way. Burgess Meredith revives the spirit of 1940's genre pictures through his scenery-chewing performance as Rocky's trainer. An enormously entertaining film, Rocky is irresistible in its depiction of an underachiever who has the courage to start all over again--a description that could have been applied to Stallone's own life at the time. --Kevin Mulhall
The Italian Stallion returns for a rematch with Apollo Creed, hoping, finally, to capture the heavyweight title. This time, even his girlfriend, Adrian, gives Rocky her blessing. Sylvester Stallone wrote and directed this exciting follow-up, with Burgess Meredith, Talia Shire, Carl Weathers, and Burt Young all reprising their roles from the first film.
Rocky's lifestyle of wealth and idleness is suddenly shaken when a powerful fighter challenges him to a fight for the championship. After being beaten, the previously over-confident Rocky resumes his training in preparation for a re-match.
A World Heavyweight Boxing contest is to be staged between the champ, Rocky Balboa and the Soviet amateur champion, Ivan Drago. Both men know that this is more than just a tough contest of strength and skill.
Times are hard for Rocky Balboa. A lifetime of taking punches has terminated his boxing career and a crooked accountant has left him in financial difficulties. The Balboa family moves back to its roots in a downtown neighbourhood where an aspiring boxer turns to the champ for training...
The sixth instalment of the Rocky series picks up the story of the Italian Stallion 16 years after the morose Rocky V. And sure, at his advanced age, Sylvester Stallone now looks like one of those sides of beef his character used to pound on. No matter. Somehow you buy the premise after all these years, even if it takes forever for Rocky Balboa to stop wallowing in self-pity (Adrian is dead, his old haunts are demolished) and get down to the business of drinking raw eggs and running up steps. The business at hand is an unlikely exhibition fight with champion Mason Dixon (Antonio Tarver), which the near-sexagenarian Mr. Balboa has no business accepting. Of course, just as sure as the horns of Bill Conti's theme music are even now trumpeting through your head, the ol' Rock might have a punch or two left in him. Stallone wrote and directed, and there isn't much to say except that the movie steps in its pre-determined paces with a canny sense of what has come before (it's practically an homage to all the previous Rocky pictures, complete with fleeting flashbacks). Burt Young is around again, and Geraldine Hughes makes an appealing, rather chaste female companion for Rocky. Stallone's Rocky has gotten suspiciously articulate over the years, but he still knows how to slouch. If Stallone never forgets that, he can probably keep the franchise rolling. --Robert Horton
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