Eye For Film >> Movies >> Rocky III (1982) Film Review
Reviewed by: Stephen Carty
While the second Rocky might have removed itself ever-so-slightly from the grim and near-unrelenting reality of the Oscar-winning first by letting our hero win, here's where the grip on real life really starts to give way. Much like Sylvester Stallone's punchy alter-ego, Rocky III sees the series become more civilised and glamorous, as the previous focus on character-based human drama is largely replaced by more action, cartoony fight scenes (seriously, listen to the sound effects) and a strangely-pointless boxing-wrestling crossover match with Hulk Hogan.
Three years after winning the tile, Rocky Balboa (Stallone) is living the good life with wife Adrian (Talia Shire) and their young son. However, after finding out that trainer Mickey (Burgess Meredith) has been protecting him by only giving shots to safe opponents, he ends up losing heavily to hungry contender Clubber Lang (Mr T). Following Mickey's sudden death, former rival Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) decides to train Rocky himself..
The film is not all bad, as writer-star Stallone still ekes out some impressively dramatic moments. Mickey's death is a neatly-underplayed (loud sobbing aside) tear-jerker, the whole subplot of Rocky facing past-it challengers sort of explains how he could continue fighting with his bad eye (although there is a quick line about having his face "fixed") and Adrian's emotional smack-down on the beach about self-doubts is a franchise highlight.
On the other hand, while it's a nice twist having Weathers' infinitely-likeable Apollo train Rock this time (more Weathers screen-time is always good), Mr T's replacement 'invicible opponent’ is more of an annoying two-dimensional baddie than a real character. Still, when T's endless "I'm unbeatable" schtick becomes irritating (there's even a throwaway "pity the fool" quip), just fast-forward to the training scenes which - while surely ranking amongst the campest movie man-love moments ever - are endlessly watchable.
Still not full-on farce, but getting there, is it worth watching for fans? As the Italian Stallion himself would say, absolutely.Reviewed on: 22 Oct 2009