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Rocky V
(1990) - Directed by John G. Avildsen
Boxing / Drama
“All those beatings you took in the ring, I took them with you!“

I was aware that Rocky V was the lowest rated rocky movie of the series. However, I didn't think it could be any worse than the overly comedic and under-written Rocky IV, which I didn't like much. So there were two options: either people are on crack about this movie, or everything this movie touches, it destroys.

Rocky just beat Ivan Drago, but returns to find that Paulie botched an investment, and the Balboa's were scammed out of all their money. All hope seems lost, but Rocky finds that his late trainer Mick left his gym to Rocky's son. Fixing it up, he ends up taking on a new hopeful as an assistant while neglecting the needs of his family. Things get worse when a boxing promoter who bothered Rocky takes his protege away from him.

There's already one strong edge this movie has on Rocky IV (at least the original cut, as the story-based director's cut still evades me). The edge is simple: the story. there's already much more of it just from the synopsis I gave, and that means the movie has more meat and worth. But how does the story pan out? Not as well as you might think, but not very bad.

At first I thought to myself that it would be really cool to see Rocky taking Mick's shoes and becoming the new trainer. But this Tommy Gunn isn't much of a character other than another young and attitudinal hopeful. Rocky even mentions that agents and salesman are dirty and suck you dry, going as far as to say that MICK KEPT HIM FROM ALL THAT. When did this happen? Now it's getting into subplots that the first four movies didn't cover, and this movie's hardly covering that.

There's also the matter of a very wasted opportunity: Rocky's signature character growth from the first movie. We have a new cast of characters and an older son worth diving into for the future, but every turn in the story leads to a predictable subplot, so among the fresh meat are some major setbacks. And John G. Avildsen doesn't fully recreate the heart of the sport here, so the heart and character feel lost. In fact, the actor for our our "villain" Duke is just trying to hide his lacking development under an overactive and annoying performance. I really miss Mr. T.

The story picks up in the third act as people get mad that Tommy Gunn never fully won the championship title from Rocky. The climax plays out how we expect again, but it continues a trend of some decent lines, many of which I would rather save for you. Rocky's got one of his best lines during the climax. And after this, things get exciting again.

Avildsen failed to deliver the first movie's sweet goods, as while he's working hard in the story department, he doesn't have very many original ideas past the first act. Stallone and Rocky were smart to make so many movies for the money, but as I had said in my review for the fourth movie, the series had run its course. Rocky V is better than the original cut of Rocky IV in the story department, but in my opinion, IV and V are filler movies just to get to Rocky Balboa, the sixth movie, and of course, the iconic Creed films. They honestly excite me more than Rocky 6.

= 56/100

John G. Avildsen's Score (5 Good vs. 0 Bad)

Rocky: 92
The Karate Kid: 85
The Karate Kid Prt 2: 77
Rocky V: 56
Inferno: 53

Average Score: 72.6 / 5