A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that while Rocky Balboa is aimed more at adults (particularly longtime Rocky fans) than kids, it's fine for most tweens. The only real concern is the violence; there are several boxing matches, and they get bloody -- especially the final bout between Rocky and Dixon. The fights include aggressive editing and camera movement, as well as both slow- and regular-motion images of hits, injuries, and spurting blood. Rocky grieves his beloved Adrian's death and deals with his son's resentment (they argue a couple of times). Paulie smokes cigars in nearly every scene, drinks frequently, and is visibly drunk in a couple of scenes. Mild language ("hell" and "damn"), with Paulie making a derogatory "Indian" joke during one of his inebriated scenes.
What's the story?
Inspired once again by the memory of his beloved Adrian, 60-year-old ROCKY BALBOA comes out of retirement to fight the current world champion, an arrogant kid called Mason "The Line" Dixon (Antonio Carver), who embodies a business that's notoriously corrupt and dulled by mediocre talents. In other words, the time is right for Rocky's comeback -- he's positioned as the "authentic" fighter, compared to Dixon's commercial product. Though he's initially discouraged by his grumpy brother-in-law, Paulie (Burt Young), and resentful son, Rocky Jr. (Milo Ventimiglia), Rocky accepts Dixon's challenge. Believing that he still has "something in the basement," Rocky begins training for an exhibition match in Vegas. He's encouraged by local bartender and single mom Marie (Geraldine Hughes), who suffers emotional abuse from her boyfriend (whom Rocky quickly scares off). With family and new friends assembled, Rocky goes into familiar, montage-y training mode, jogging in the streets, drinking raw eggs, and performing extremely athletic push-ups (not to mention revealing a frankly stunning physique).
Is it any good?
While this reboot is corny and predictable (following the same basic plotline as the others), it also offers an intelligent assessment of what makes Rocky so compelling. While Stallone has famously tried to break free of Rocky, with this movie he seems to grapple earnestly with the dilemma that the character presents. It's not a great film, but it is an intelligent, insightful movie about greatness.
The film actually references a controversial statue commissioned by Stallone for Rocky III, which was briefly installed atop the Art Museum steps, derided by many as a "movie prop" and eventually removed to the Wachovia Spectrum. The statue, like the reenactments by fans that close Rocky Balboa, speaks to Rocky Balboa's enduring appeal -- his awkwardness and banality, as well as his timelessness.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the film's resurrection of the Rocky mythology: Why is the ongoing story of a "regular" guy's success so enduring? Did the franchise need a sixth film? How do Rocky's slang and behavior indicate his class? Does that make his success more appealing to a wide audience? How does Adrian serve as inspiration even after her death? How do Rocky's good humor, humility, and determination all contribute to his appeal? Is he still as powerful a character now as he was in the first movie?
- In theaters: December 21, 2006
- On DVD or streaming: March 20, 2007
- Cast: Burt Young, Milo Ventimiglia, Sylvester Stallone
- Director: Sylvester Stallone
- Studio: MGM/UA
- Genre: Drama
- Topics: Sports and Martial Arts, Misfits and Underdogs
- Run time: 102 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: boxing violence and some language
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.