His life is happy, his fights have seemed easy. Now a young upstart is going to make him prove how far he can still go...
Rocky III is a 1982 sports film directed by Sylvester Stallone, written by Sylvester Stallone, produced by United Artists, and distributed by MGM/UA Entertainment Company. It stars Sylvester Stallone and Carl Weathers. The film was nominated for Best Original Song, but did not win. This is the third film in the Rocky franchise. It was preceded by Rocky II and followed by Rocky IV.
"I'M AFRAID! YOU WANNA HEAR ME SAY IT?" -Rocky Balboa
After securing the title of heavyweight champion of the world by beating Apollo Creed in the rematch of the century, Rocky Balboa is living the life. He wins all of his fights, has a great house, and a loving family. All of that falls apart after a new challenge comes in the form of cocky, rude, and aggressive boxer Clubber Lang.
The first thing about this is the story. The first two Rocky movies were barely different, and they both had a happy, joyful and hopeful tone. It is almost the opposite in Rocky III. The tone is sad and not hopeful. While that may not sound like a movie that you want to watch, it works well while experiencing the Rocky franchise. They make an antagonist that you absolutely hate. They have a major character die, and you feel the weight of that. Rocky is scared and hopeless, but it is a side that we haven't seen from the Italian Stallion. We see our characters in a different place, but literally and figuratively.
I liked what they did with all the characters. Like I said before, everybody is different in this film. Rocky doesn't feel like the hero that we've seen in the other ones. We saw him upset, scared and hopeless. It plays off like it would if he was a superhero and lost his powers, and it works perfectly. Apollo is a good guy in this, and befriends Rocky. Adrian feels more outspoken and has become encouraging, but also worried that Rocky isn't going to be able to fight Clubber Lang because he's lost his usual confidence and heart.
Clubber Lang is a good villain. He is a complete a-hole, and they make sure to rub that in your face. He is mean to Rocky, Apollo, Mickey, and Adrian. He's also compelling because he's strong and he is capable of beating Rocky Balboa. They wrote him to be this machine that only cares about winning and loves to talk trash and just be a rude guy.
The fight scenes are better choreographed and shot than in the previous two films. They do this thing where they show Clubber Lang from Rocky's perspective, and you just feel him getting the crap beaten out of him. When Rocky evidently wins, you savor the victory because Clubber Lang is so hateful and nasty.
I thought that the Thunderlips scene was fun enough, I guess. I didn't grow up in the 80s, so I don't really care for Hulk Hogan, but I can tell you that this scene was a good one, because it's just cool to see the Hulkster in it, even if you haven't grown up with him.
Finally, most of the acting is good. Out of the Rocky movies that I've seen though, this definitely has the weakest acting. Stallone hits rock bottom (no pun intended) and he just isn't fully on his game. Now, mind you, rock bottom isn't bad for Stallone. He is still in the positives. In the beginning and the end, he is as good as usual. Talia Shire is actually better in this film than in the first two. She isn't as shy, and she does a much better job at being outgoing than shy. Burt Young has some strange parts and isn't as loud as usual, which feels abnormal for him, but he's still good. Carl Weathers plays a much more likable Apollo in this, and it was nice to have him as one of the protagonists. He is definitely on top of his performance and does the best job in the film, becoming exciting and very likable.
First off, Mr. T is not good in this. He plays Clubber Lang as though he is in a Looney Tunes cartoon. It is so comical and over-the-top that it makes it funny when he is clearly trying to be serious and make the character feel like a real person. Everything he says, he says it with this childlike enthusiasm, which may just be how the character is written, but it doesn't matter. Either way, it's bad.
I think that Mickey's death is not handled very well. It makes sense that he'd die, because he's, like, a hundred years old, but nevertheless, they don't execute it well. Rocky goes out to fight Clubber Lang and gets absolutely obliterated, and then Mickey dies. Rocky's gargling cries after he dies makes the moment more funny than emotionally resonant. The death has an effect on Rocky for the rest of the film, but it was not a good scene.
Sylvester Stallone does some strange things in this film. He mumbles and seems like he can't talk completely right in some scenes. In the scenes that he doesn't do a great job, he looks bored and like he is tired and wants to go home. It's the same thing with Burt Young. When he isn't doing the best, he is boring and lame and acts like he'd want to be anywhere else besides the set.
They started off the movie with Paulie getting pissed off at Rocky for not being a good friend, and they fix that by giving Paulie a robot from Rocky. It is so dumb and immature that I feel like they had run out of ideas and just decided to come up with the first thing that popped into their heads. It was unfortunate that this was the first thing that popped into their heads, because it is utterly ridiculous. This is the moment when the Rocky franchise went from sincerity and a Best Picture winner to camp and childish antics.
Despite some bad acting, a pivotal scene not well executed, and a dumb resolution to a plot line, Rocky III stays strong with transforming the characters into more interesting versions, a great villain, and the best story in the franchise (so far).
I will give it a Savory rating. Age range is 6+.
SWEET N' SOUR SCALE
Sweet (Great) Savory (Good) Sour (Bad) Moldy (Terrible)
Fun Factor: 7.5/10
Directed by Sylvester Stallone
Rated PG for boxing violence and action, minor sexual content, language, thematic elements
Released on May 28, 1982
1 hour and 39 minutes
Sylvester Stallone as Rocky Balboa
Carl Weathers as Apollo Creed Talia Shire as Adrian Pennino
Burt Young as Paulie Pennino
Burgess Meredith as Mickey Goldmill
Mr. T as Clubber Lang
Tony Burton as Duke Evers
Hulk Hogan as Thunderlips