Despite a 3 year gap in production, we begin 1982’s ‘Rocky 3’ with ‘Rocky 2’. Well, the end of, at least.
Rocky has beaten Apollo Creed. He is the Heavyweight Champion of the World.
This is a new Rocky. A brighter, shinier, bigger budgeted Rocky. More money, more fame, more hair. A Rocky who now fights everyone and anyone who stands in his way to remain Champion of the World.
The same old crew are still around;
His wife, Adrian. Bolder. More confident. Less interesting. Less believable.
Pauly. Drunk. Angry. Miserable. Pitched perfectly by Burt Young. There is a great scene between Pauly and Rocky just as Pauly hits rock bottom. Burt Young is a great character actor.
Mickey his cantankerous trainer. Now living with Rocky in his Philadelphia mansion. Old and tired. Feisty yet nurturing. The father that Rocky never had. Still training away. He’s a knockout character (pun intended).
We are introduced to the newcomer BA Baracus, I mean Mr T…sorry, Clubber Lang. He is a hungry, angry, mean, who-you-lookin-at-sucka young fighter. He wants his shot at the title. And he doesn’t “pity the fool” that he smashes.
This film is a cracker. Much better than Rocky 2. The pace is faster, the storytelling better, the dialogue crisper.
Having said that, there is no talking for the first 15 minutes or so.
But I like this one. It’s intense. The story, except for a lazy 20mins when Hulk Hogan gets involved, is great.
Sylvester Stallone plays Rocky smarter and more charismatic in this one. Is it because Sly himself is now a major movie star? Or is it because Rocky has developed this way? I think the former.
As I mentioned, Hulk Hogan is in this film; it seems to be a film-filler. A random plot piece to pass the time. Rocky fights the Hulk aka Thunderlips in a charity match. It’s a bit strange and not really necessary but it’s a good watch if you’re a WWE fan.
Rocky wants to retire. But we know that ain’t happening. He should know that ain’t happening. He keeps saying it in every bloody film. I suppose with all the punches to the head he keeps forgetting!
Rocky doesn’t retire and he fights Clubber Lang. It doesn’t always go so well. Mickey knows this.
“The worst thing that can happen to any fighter is they get civilised”
And this is where things get interesting. We see some great dialogue between the main characters. We are drawn into the struggles. We feel the demons each of them battle.
I have talked about the love affairs in the previous films.
The original Rocky was the love affair between Rocky and Adrian.
Rocky 2 between Rocky and Mickey.
This one is between Rocky and Rocky.
Loving oneself is often best left to the privacy of your home. However, Rocky is so removed from reality with all his wins and endorsements that he has forgotten his roots. This story is about how Rocky finds himself again.
We do have the obligatory slow bits in the middle, but in this film, it doesn’t labour the point.
We are treated to Carl Weathers, Apollo Creed returning in this film. Rocky has lost his edge and needs Apollo to help him find his “eye of the tiger”.
The usual training scenes don’t disappoint.
The fight scenes as with each Rocky get better and better. More believable. Well, when I say believable I mean in the sense of landed punches. It doesn’t look as fake as the original movie.
However, the only person that could withstand the punishment either fighter takes is The Terminator.
Sly is in top physical condition. Arguably the best of any of the Rocky films.
But I will confirm that in my next review of Rocky 4.
My Rating: 8.5/10
Now bring on the Russian.