|Rocky & Son|
Trying to stay out of the ring, Rocky discovers a boxer named Tommy Gunn (Tommy Morrison) who he ends up taking under his wing. The writing, which was penned again by Sylvester Stallone although a little cluttered, at least has things to discuss. Unlike Rocky III (1982) and Rocky IV (1985), which were very straight cut and predictable this time there's things to think about. For those who are tired of the usual Rocky formula that consisted of "promising to step down, but then is challenged by losing a friend and reclaims respect", this film goes a different direction. The direction by John G. Avildsen (the same director of Rocky (1976)) here is more family oriented, which to be honest is what made Rocky (1976) so compelling. Sure the sports aspect was fun too but it was the human storytelling that worked best. The concept of having Rocky deal with a less publicized life and starting back where he came from is fine. The problems start when Rocky begins focusing more on Tommy Gunn than his own son played by Sage Stallone. Of course events like these do happen in real life but these kinds of moments aren't the changes fans want to see in the main protagonist. It's careless and makes Rocky look like a clueless father.
Even with this though because the original human characters are of more importance, it is better to see a different focus. Although there have been plenty of persistent antagonists before that Rocky has come up against, Richard Grant is by far the man who chews up the most scenery in the series. This man has one the most hammiest performances; talking extremely fast without stopping and continuously showing his teeth to the camera. He isn't a likable character but he is fun to watch. The Tommy Gunn character is fleshed out but unfortunately turns from sympathetic to unsympathetic over time. Here's what's going to turn off people for those who enjoyed the first four films. The biggest change audiences will see is the amount of boxing involved. Believe it or not there are scenes that have boxing in it - but none of them involve Rocky in the ring. The matches still entertain and pack enough energy to keep it lively but of course for anyone looking to see Rocky fight, will be disappointed either way.
|Rocky & Tommy Gunn|
Its direction is focused on the human characters more than the spectacle of the sport and although all threads don't head down the right path, they at least develop the original characters differently. Also Richard Grant as the antagonist is one hammy actor. But for those who are looking for the engaging boxing matches with Rocky involved, they will be ripped off. That and the music and cinematography are nothing special to mention either this time.
Points Earned --> 5:10