The third chapter of the life of Rocky Balboa finds Rocky's lifestyle of wealth and idleness suddenly shaken when a powerful fighter challenges him to a bout. After soundly losing, the previously overconfident champ begins training for a rematch
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This movie is not as bad as many will try to make it out to be. First, keep in mind, there’s an entertainment factor of the over-the-top characterization from Mr. T’s Clubber Lang. It’s the story of a man who has battled his way through the levels of respect and now attained the level as the Grand Champ. The only problem now, is that once you are the top dog, not only do other opponents come out of the woodworks, but crazier opponents.
The Story: Rocky is on top of the world. He now has a family, a secure living financially, a statue dedicated to him, respect of the people and above all, the championship belt around his waist. Now that we have seen Rocky battle the problems that keep you from the top, we will see him face the problems that try to knock you from the top. While this is a franchise, yet again – the film only feels like a continuation of the story of Rocky. The film battles with the concept of materialism and how it can make one lose their focus on what’s right. During the 80’s when materialism was big (Madonna anyone?) Stallone took a risky route with the story and maybe it didn’t pay off then, but at least it doesn’t resonate today as “pure 80’s film.”
Acting: This one maintains the same level of acting that we got in Rocky II. The addition of Mr. T is…well….Mr. T. One of those “get what you pay for” scenario. You also have Hulk Hogan making an appearance and well…you get what you pay for. In terms of it having any significance theatrically, it does. Stallone is commenting on the over the top characters of wrestling versus the real fighters of boxing and the direction the sport was heading at the time. Apollo Creed was the tip of the iceberg with the showmanship, and now it was taking over. However, they have Carl Weathers turning a new leaf and admitting there was more to boxing that just the showmanship and that’s what leads him to becoming Rocky’s new trainer.
Cinematography: Again, same as the first two films, which in my opinion, creates a nice consistency among the franchise.
Production Design: High value. This is where the budget shows. I mean, Rocky is now rich so the cost goes up about how he would live his life. In addition to this, the franchise is now profitable and can afford a bigger budget – as seen in the movie. In short, the franchise itself is a Rocky story in terms of it’s production value.
Editing: I hate to beat the dead horse, but if you’ve read my other Rocky reviews, it’s the same damn thing. The pacing is on course and story unfolds with great emotional arcs. Granted, I could have done without a few scenes here and there, but overall I don’t mind them.
Score: YES. This is the Rocky with Eye of the Tiger. Most people think it came from the first film, but no. Rocky III is the culprit. If that alone makes this movie a great entry into the franchise.
Special Effects: Are there special effects in this movie? I don’t know.
In closing: Rocky III doesn’t fail horribly the way most 3rd franchise films do. In fact, it’s quite a solid film overall and holds its own today. Stallone made a good film about the champion at the top and the pitfalls and side steps that come along with it.