"Rocky Balboa"

Mike’s take: Three stars

I had no desire whatsoever to watch “Rocky Balboa.” If I could, I would’ve stopped the series at “Rocky III.” Sure, I enjoyed the over-the-top “U.S.A. versus Russia, but we can all get along” anthem that was the fourth installment. But Rocky purists would agree that the trilogy was enough. After that was just ego-driven drivel to keep the character alive.

All that said, the sixth and final film is not all bad. It had the raw energy and emotion that made the first three films classic. The real meat of the story is Rocky’s relationship with his distant son and dealing with personal loss.

The DVD extras are OK, with a bonus alternate ending. The behind-the-scenes documentary articulates why the cast thought this movie was worth coming back for more.

Jorge’s take: Zero Stars

I was expecting a boxing movie in the spirit of Rocky III and IV, instead I got a would-be drama reaching back to themes from I and II. Rocky’s legacy should have closed with his last fight in Moscow.

Part V ruined that legacy and this film doesn’t patch it up; it denies V exists. Does Stallone think we’ll forget Rocky’s brain damage? Perhaps my problem with this film is that I’m conscious of Stallone trying to unearth a Rocky who should have been left alone after IV.