Movie Marathon: ‘Rocky V’

The series seems to be getting a bit…silly. Surely things will level out a bit now that Rocky has brought the Cold War to a grinding halt.

Title: Rocky V

Released: 1991

Director: John G. Avildsen

Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Talia Shire, Burt Young, Sage Stallone, Tommy Morrison, RIchard Gant

Plot: Feeling shaken after his bout with Ivan Drago, Rocky decides that it’s time to retire. Also he loses his entire fortune. In order to reignite his passion for the sport he takes on an apprentice, Tommy Gunn

Review: Did this movie have too many writers or not enough? This is a disaster of a script. I have no idea what they were trying to say with this film but I do not believe that they succeeded. 


In what is now clearly Rocky tradition we replay the climax of the previous film, this time with Rocky shaking while backstage. This is closely followed by a long, convoluted explanation of how Rocky and Adrian lost all their money followed by them selling their estate and moving back to the slums of Philadelphia. Rocky gets back to what he does best…experience flashbacks of more interesting movies.

Wait…are all these flashbacks just for the audience are is Rocky seeing them as we do? Are there so many of them because Rocky’s frequent head injuries causes him to suffer delusions? Let’s make that canon.

Anyway, Rocky flashbacks extensively about Mikey. We also get two new key characters around this time. The first is George Washington Duke (Gant), a Don King analogue who is so desperate to put Rocky back into the ring that you expect him to laugh maniacally. Duke comes into the movie by walking into a scene, explaining who he is, what his backstory is and what his motivations are.


The second is Tommy Gunn (Morrison), a hotshot new powerful boxer who Rocky takes under his wing. He enters a scene, explains who he is, what his backstory is and what his motivations are. Jesus, this is lazy writing.

Rocky takes Tommy ‘The Machine’ Gunn (he’s already named ‘Tommy Gunn’, you don’t need to add ‘machine’) in as an apprentice and trains him up to fight. During this time he begins treating Gunn as a son and begins neglecting his actual son, Robert (played by Stallone’s own son in some real Mary Corleone vibes here), who is being bullied at school. Adrien notices this rift occurring and does surprisingly little to point Rocky in the right direction.

The way they force this conflict into the movie is astoundedly hard to believe. It is incredibly rushed. Tommy visits the Balboa house ONE TIME and Rocky immediately offers him Robert’s room to move in to while booting Robert out to stay with Uncle “Creepshow” Paulie. Why the fuck would you do that? You kicked out your own son to put up some total stranger? Why did that even cross your mind? I don’t believe that anyone would buy that.


“Wear my underpants, it makes me feel closer to you.”

Eventually Robert stands up to his bullies with threats of violence, so yay? There’s also a 12 year old love interest who tells him that he has “a nice butt for an Italian”. Weird. Not really sure what to make of that plot thread, or the kids whacky earring.


This earring.

Rocky, meanwhile, loses Tommy to Duke who promises his fame and titles. Tommy is easily duped into thinking of Rocky as some kind of villain, not sure why. He does become the heavy weight world champion and, in another comically unbelievable sequence, stages a press conference where the journalists take it in turns to stand up and just fling insults at him. They don’t even ask questions, just fling shit at him. What parallel universe in this happening in? Is this how Trump views press conferences.

This batshit insane story ends with the most ridiculous possible ending. Tommy turns up at a bar to issue Rocky with a challenge and Rocky agrees to a – get this – bare knuckle match in the alley behind the bar. And this is the big finale! Anyway, Rocky beats the living shit out of his until very, very recently surrogate son with no motivation to do so. It’s downright shocking! Why did anyone think we’d want to see our hero do this! Rocky then adds an appropiate full stop to the debacle by slugging Duke, who’s totally defenceless. 

This movie is terrible. Unrealistic character behaviour, unlikeable new characters, dumb earrings…and this was supposed to be the big finale to the story. By smacking the tar out of his surrogate son.

Tommy does deck Paulie though…the movie gets a star for that.

Rating: TWO out of TEN