Friday, March 8, 2013
My Favorite Era: Rocky III (1982)
Rocky III finds The Italian Stallion now riding high on the hog as heavyweight boxing champ with a string of wins that culminates in an amazingly fun encounter with pro wrestler Thunderlips (Hulk Hogan). He also faces a major challenge in the form of undefeated Clubber Lang (Mr. T) who is younger, leaner and a hell of a lot meaner.
While the second film tended to lapse into schmaltz and the fourth is a little silly, this one gets the balance between 80's cheese and the inner essence of Rocky just right. Stallone is great as always, T is a fantastic villain with some classic lines and Carl Weathers and Burgess Merideth are terrific. Talia Shire is also solid, though Burt Young is...Well, he's always been one of those actors you either love or hate and for me...I have a low threshold for the guy.
Back to the good stuff though, Stallone pulls off a pretty good triple play here with good acting, a solid script and a nice, lean directing job. The fight scenes are fantastic, the training montages are terrific and Stallone keeps the film moving, even when things get dramatic. There are also some prerequisite "bad" Stallone moments as he proves that while he can do serious drama, it's not always a good idea since he has no qualms blubbering and rambling incoherently. The running on the beach sequence is also quite funny.
Rocky III is the best of the sequels (and to be honest, the series), it has larger than life characters, great acting and a ton of fantastic moments. You also can't go wrong with the classic Rocky theme song by Bill Conti and Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger".