hollywood hues
Out-of-pace Stallone

The boxing sequences are well shot and boxing aficionados are sure to lap it up but credibility is the biggest casualty, writes Ervell E. Menezes

Sylvester Stallone
Sylvester Stallone

THE regurgitating machinery of Hollywood grinds on and we have what is meant to be the last round (ha! ha!) of the Rocky films named Rocky Balboa. It is the sixth in that line, beginning in 1976 with the fifth made in 1990. In between, in the 1980s, there were three Rambos, all starring Sylvester Stallone. In fact the first Rocky film was notable for Stallone`A0showing his behind-the-camera skill by`A0writing the screenplay.

Now, after a decade and a half away from the subject, Sly Stallone is at it againóthat mumbling, sentimental, ex-champ comes out of retirement to take on reigning champion Mason Dixon (Antonio Traver). And why? Because of a computer simulation on TV`A0between Dixon and ex-champ Rocky. Leave Hollywood to find some excuse.

So in the latest film, Rocky, who spends his time brooding over his wifeís death or narrating incidents of his previous fights in his restaurant to an audience which knows what comes next or trying to connect with his son Robert (Milo Ventimiglia), is suddenly pitched into battle. But the establishing shots are painfully weak and mushy. Whatís more heís wooing a single mother Marie (Geraldine Hughes) and the affair is quite yuck!

Rocky BalboaSo director Sly Stallone goes through the motions, living very much in the past, and mumbling endlessly as well as inordinately. It is all consistently boring till that exhibition fight is arranged between Rocky and Dixon. What follows is typical Hollywood treatment of a man, twice the age of his opponent, getting into the ring. Itís vulgar. But Mission: Impossible is not unusual in Hollywood.

The boxing sequences, of course, are well shot and boxing aficionados are sure to lap it up but credibility is the biggest casualty. From then on the viewer only goes through the motions. There is a wee element of suspense as to how it will end, but wee is the operative word.

So, with an overtly poor beginning Rocky Balboa never really gets better.  But then Hollywood just cannot miss a chance of flogging a clinically dead boxer. Stallone is quite out of pace and Burt Young as his old pal is no better. None of the cameos really click, except the opponent Antonio Traver. Geraldine Hughes looks cute but thatís hardly a good enough reason to suffer through this pugilistic farce.