Bankrupt and brain-damaged in Rocky V, a bout fought so long ago that the other Bush was still sucker-punching Saddam, Sylvester Stallone's titular pugilist returns to issue another beating in Rocky Balboa. Things have changed for this great white hope since he first fought for freedom against the tellingly named Apollo Creed in our bicentennial year. In 06, Rocky's belated return to the ring can be blamed, like this DVD-ready sequel, on the digital revolution: The ESPN Boxing channel's computer-simulation program predicts that the Italian Stallion, at least as he was in his prime, could take the current heavyweight champ, Mason "The Line" Dixon (Antonio Tarver), by K.O. Naturally, neither Rocky, now a restaurateur, nor Mason Dixon (named for the thin line between drama and comedy?) can resist when a promoter's Vegas exhibition offer follows. Maybe all-out parody would've better suited Rocky Balboa -- Stallone getting Rocky to start reading Henry James and dreaming of a tenure track gig in the lit department at Penn or something. But earnest as it is, the movie hardly resists laughs.
Sylvester StalloneSylvester Stallone, Burt Young, Milo Ventimiglia, Tony Burton, James Francis Kelly III, Antonio Tarver, Geraldine HughesSylvester StalloneSylvester Stallone, David Winkler, Kevin King, Charles WinklerMGM