Lighting Review: Rocky V

Rocky V movie posterSynopsis
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.


You can also read my reviews for the rest of the Rocky series: Rocky, Rocky II, Rocky III, Rocky IV, and Rocky Balboa.


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

4 thoughts on “Lighting Review: Rocky V

  1. I’ve always had mixed feelings about Rocky V. It’d definitely the worst of the series but, at the same time, I always find myself watching it whenever it shows up on TV. Tommy Gunn was definitely the least respectable of Rocky’s many opponents. Clubber Lang was, at least, a good fighter and even Ivan Drago had that moment when he shouted, “I fight for me!” towards the end of Rocky IV. Tommy was just a punk with a mullet.


    • I agree, Tommy was nowhere near Rocky’s best opponent. He had the emotional impact of being his student and turning on him but that’s about it. At least the others were fierce, intimidating competitors. Like you said, Tommy was just a punk.

      Thanks for commenting, Jedadiah. 🙂


  2. This one is heavy handed and clunky but it had its heart in the right place. Rocky is the character I fell in love with again and the end credits make me nostalgic for the rest of the series.

    That said, everything here was done better in the next one.


    • It knew what it wanted to say, it just didn’t really *need* to say it. Rocky is such a great character and it’s clear why he resonates with so many people. The ending montage was so good!

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.