After his fight with Ivan Drago, Rocky (Sylvester Stallone) is forced to retire due to brain trauma. Unable to fight in the ring himself, he takes novice boxer Tommy Gunn (Tommy Morrison) as his student. After fighting several rounds undefeated, Gunn wants to fight for the title but Rocky tells him he isn’t ready. Frustrated, Gunn turns to promoter George Washington Duke (Richard Gant), who tries to use Gunn to persuade Rocky to fight in the ring once more.
Rocky V is an example of what happens to a series when it goes on for too long. The Rocky series had its ups and downs but this is a low for the series and not a way to seemingly end the franchise. I did like seeing Rocky in a mentoring role. After steadily becoming a world-favorite boxer, it felt like a natural progression for the character. Also, this movie didn’t follow the same formula as the previous Rocky films. They all had the similar structure of get Rocky gets a new opponent, trains to fight the opponent, then he fights them and wins. Rocky V went and did its own thing, which makes it unique in the series.
Tommy Gunn served as a great way to showcase what makes Rocky different from other boxers, and why he made such a huge connection with audiences: his heart. Gunn let his success go to his head and fueled his ego. Rocky, on the other hand, never let the success change him. No matter what happened, he stayed true to himself. However, as the audience, we already knew this about Rocky. In the end, that makes this movie unnecessary. After spending four films with Rocky, we already know what makes him special. We didn’t need a whole other film to try to tell us what we already knew. Rocky V is unique among the series but is ultimately a dispensable addition to it.
Cast & Crew
John G. Avildsen – Director
Sylvester Stallone – Writer
Bill Conti – Composer
Sylvester Stallone – Rocky Balboa
Talia Shire – Adrian
Burt young – Paulie
Sage Stallone – Rocky Balboa, Jr.
Tommy Morrison – Tommy ‘Machine’ Gunn
Richard Gant – George Washington Duke
Tony Burton – Duke
Burgess Meredith – Mickey Goldmill
Delia Sheppard – Karen