By Drew Turney
A modern fable (which happened to scoop the pools at many awards and concurrently launch the careers of one of Hollywood’s action icons and one of films most loved characters) based loosely, it seems, on the little engine that could.
Rocky Balboa (an impossibly young-looking Stallone) is something of a simpleton, and young Italian American growing up in Philadelphia’s mean streets, working as a standover man for a local gangster and boxing in his spare time, his sights set firmly on dowdy pet shop assistant Adrian (Shire).
He doesn’t annunciate, he mumbles, he’s overzealous, has almost no social conventions and no class, but what he has is dogged determination to get what he wants (for most of the film, it’s Adrian rather than boxing glory) and go the distance. Hence when he draws with Creed, the point isn’t that he wins, but that) as he himself wishes), stays with it until the end.
But when media-savvy world champion Apollo Creed (Weathers) decides to hold a match with an unknown for publicity purposes, Rocky’s name comes out of a hat and he gets his shot, bringing the story closer to it’s theme; the oft-tread victory of the underdog.
After cranky trainer Mickey (Meredith, overacting to a large degree) kicks Rocky out of the gym and brushes him off (referencing the famous line from ”On the Waterfront” by telling Rocky in a fit of temper how he’s thrown his chance at boxing greatness away but he ‘coulda been a contender’) asks to train him, we go through the now famous montage of early morning runs, one handed pushups, and the triumphant striding up the steps of the museum.
Despite being an unknown at the time, Stallone knew exactly how he wanted the film to end up, putting his foot down and imposing plenty of conditions to ensure it met his vision.
Blu-ray Details and Extras:
As nice as these ‘Blu-ray book’ editions are, a man needs a little more meat on his plate than just the one serving of bacon bits. With no extras at all (I know, right!?) besides the book that comes along with the DVD, one can’t recommend much about this release – not even the transfer’s that hot.