Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5. USA, 2006. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Columbia Pictures, Revolution Studios, Chartoff-Winkler Productions. Screenplay by Sylvester Stallone, based on his characters. Cinematography by Clark Mathis. Produced by William Chartoff, Kevin King Templeton, Charles Winkler, David Winkler. Music by Bill Conti. Production Design by Franco-Giacomo Carbone. Costume Design by Gretchen Patch. Film Editing by Sean Albertson.
There are some heroes that you just can’t keep down! Sylvester Stallone returns to the character who brought him fame and a kickass movie career. Aged, tired and beaten, Stallone wanders a decrepit Philadelphia without hope, mourning the loss of his beloved wife and feeling the pain of estrangement from his embittered son (Milo Ventimiglia). After a sports broadcast uses computer technology to imagine him, in his heyday, fighting a current heavyweight champion, the old botchagaloop gets an idea: why not try for just one more fight? He knows he doesn’t have a chance in hell of being what he used to be, but he doesn’t see the point of sitting around waiting to die either. The formula hasn’t been freshened up too much here, but it’s still a memorable experience: Stallone has a great feeling for these characters and their interactions with each other: the small, quiet moments between him and the members of the supporting cast are wonderfully achieved. What is less successful is much of the big stuff, as his attempt to capture the media circus of today’s world of sports feels false and packaged, and the big moments in the ring themselves are uninspiring even when they are believable (even Rocky IV was more successful at capturing the breakneck pace of boxing on television). All the same, as a child of the 80s it’s great to see Stallone on screen again, looking older but in some damn fine shape and very far from being finished.