January 2, 2007

First DVD purchase of 2007: Snakes on a Plane!!!

I saw Rocky Balboa a few weeks ago and thought it was a decent movie. For some reason, many people, possibily inspired by ESPN's Sports Guy don't like Rocky V. It turns out that the Rocky movies are free on Comcast OnDemand this month, so I decided to watch Rocky IV and V.

Rocky IV is awesome because Ivan Drago was so badass. He kills Apollo in the ring without remorse. Rocky gives up the world heavyweight title to avenge his friend's death and to end the Cold War. One of my favorite lines in the movie happens after Rocky has been getting knocked silly in round 1 by Drago and his corner is trying to see if he's okay.

Rocky: I see three of him out there!
Paulie: Hit the one in the middle!

As for Rocky V, I liked it. I think it received a lot of grief from Rocky fans because this movie didn't follow the other Rocky movie formulas which is:
a) Rocky has some sort of personal/family/emotional issues to deal with
b) a new boxer becomes a media sensation and Rocky gets labeled as the underdog
c) Rocky training scenes with dramatic music and running up stairs (or climbing a mountain in Russia)
d) a boxing match where Balboa gets pummeled early, but hangs on, eventually turns the tide and wins in dramatic fashion, which sometimes leads to world peace. I also like how every movie shows the first 2 rounds of his fights, and then fast forwards to the last round.

But in V, Rocky is in financial trouble and can no longer fight because of brain damage suffered in the Drago bout. Instead, he decides to help out and train Tommy Gunn, a young nobody-ever-gave-me-a-chance-guy like Rocky was. Tommy "The Machine" Gunn gets better and better, but later is corrupted by the evil Don King promoter character. That was my only complaint: Gunn turned to the dark side quicker than Anakin did. Tired of being labeled Balboa's puppet even after beating the current champ, he challenges Rocky to a fight. Rocky chooses not to fight, until Gunn throws a punch and hits Paulie. Then it's on. A good old fashioned street fight where Rocky splatters Tommy's blood all over the streets of Philadelphia.

So elements a and b were there, but c and d were missing. That's why I think some people didn't like the movie. Or maybe people just missed the star power of Carl Weathers.

Bonus V question: The current boxing champ (after Rocky gave up the title) was some stiff managed by the Don King guy who was easily beaten by Tommy Gunn. There is a similar problem in Rocky Balboa, where there are no real challengers for champ to take on. Why was Drago not fighting anyone? You telling me Ivan hung up the gloves after 1 defeat? How much did Drago change after hearing Rocky's post-match comments in Russia?

I remember we used to play the Rocky game on my uncle's Sega Master System (before the Sega Genesis!) many years ago. Apollo was easy to beat. Level 2 against Clubber Lang was tougher because Mr. T was just so fast. If we ever got to level 3 to face Drago, it wsa just to see who could survive the longest before getting knocked out. Check out this YouTube clip of the game (This clip is almost 10 minutes long and rated L for language).

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