“Lousy Bum!” – A Hateful Look at the Rocky Saga

*Spoilers contained within*

It’s difficult to be negative about the Rocky films. Apart from Rocky V, which was a huge pile of dog piss. It’s a true underdog story, rags to riches tale, good versus evil (when Russia gets involved especially) etc. As a bog standard narrative; it works. There’s not a whole lot more to add to it. Especially not four more bastard films and now two fucking revamps! Oh wait, it isn’t that difficult to be negative after all.

The film that started it all way back in 1976 was simply titled Rocky. A small time boxer, Rocky Balboa, ends up with a chance to fight the current heavy-weight champion of the world, Apollo Creed. Rocky doesn’t win the fight but he does pretty fucking well all things considered. Rocky is probably the best thing about the saga because it gives the illusion of being a genuine, heartfelt story. It’s not; it’s really fucking not but it’s nice to pretend. As I previously said, Balboa does not win the fight with Creed which moves us swiftly on to Rocky II. The big rematch of the century! Balboa VS Creed…again. It turns out, Rocky is thick as pig shit so he has to go work in a meat factory. So he ends up fighting Creed once more but this time he wins. Rocky is the champ, congratulations Mr Stallion.

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Rocky III; Balboa has defended his title a few times and wants to retire. I think at some point the raging racist lunatic Hulk Hogan “fights” Balboa in this film. It has been many moons and several bottles of rum since the Rocky films have graced my eyes so please excuse any inaccuracies. Then Mr T turns up, shoots his mouth off to Rocky and ends up with a title shot. Mr T knocks the fuck out of our beloved Italian Stallion. It’s OK though, Apollo Creed comes to Balboa’s aid and teaches him to get the eye of the tiger. I don’t care who you are or what walk of life you come from; you cannot deny the true awesomeness of Eye of the Tiger. Thank you Survivor, you wonderful bastards you. Fuck Rocky right off, I’ve changed my mind. Eye of the Tiger was, and will forever be, THE best thing about the Rock saga. Anyway, yeah Creed rocks up and teaches Balboa how to fight again. Rematch with Mr T; Rocky wins. Shock… Rocky IV; Balboa and Creed are now best of friends and Russia decide to create a mutant killing machine in the form of Ivan Drago. The film becomes a little bit political when Creed, fuck-wittedly, demands to fight Drago; essentially becoming USA against the Soviet Union. Bear in mind that Creed hasn’t actually fought since losing to best mate Balboa back in Rocky II. So it’s not real surprise that the Russian murders Creed; literally. Naturally, Balboa can’t stand for that shit, so he decides to restore faith in the USA and Creed by boxing Drago in Russia on Christmas day. Oh how festive. I bet you can’t guess who wins that fight. Correct; not Russia. In Rocky V there’s a shitbag called Tommy Gunn and Balboa’s son is in his teenage years. It’s terrible film with a street fight. The end.

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That may have seemed a tad long winded but it is FIVE fucking films. Of the same fucking thing. Rocky fights and loses. Rocky fights again and wins. That is the whole premise of the story. Some of it isn’t that shit, the rest of it really is. I haven’t mentioned Rocky Balboa and for good reason. I haven’t seen it but from the trailer I saw when it was released, I think I can summarise what happens. Rocky is old, the new champ decides it would be fun to fight a former champ, so they fight. Rocky is beaten (as he’s an old man and whoever the champion is at the time is clearly in their prime) but he puts in a good performance because he’s Rocky Balboa and can pull it out the bag when he needs to? Given what I’ve got to go on, it’s probably pretty accurate

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Now Creed is upon us and to me it just seems like dear old Sylvester is flogging the shit out of a long dead horse. The film isn’t going to be centred around Balboa and, unlike the previous six films, Creed has been written by someone who isn’t playing the lead role. I understand that franchises need to be remade or updated to keep up with new audiences. Fine. I fully accept that. Look that the gargantuan transition between Batman portrayed by Adam West to Christian Bale. Both portrayals are relevant and appeal to their target audiences at their respective time as the Caped Crusader. It’s the same with the James Bond legacy. It gives a different actor the chance to bring something different and new to a beloved character; allowing them to reach new audiences. Batman, James Bond, Doctor Who and Sherlock Holmes are fictional characters that warrant a cheeky change from time to time. Rocky Balboa is Sylvester Stallone. No one else (thank fuck) could ever play that character. I haven’t, and most likely will not, see Creed so for all I know it might be amazing. I wouldn’t put money on it though. The concept of continuing the story through Apollo Creed’s son is a way of getting Sly out of the picture, especially because the film has a different writer. Hopefully Stallone will take the hint and just leave the character alone. There is really no need for anymore Rocky sequels/spin offs. There hasn’t been since the 1980s.