(This is the third in a series of reviews of the entire Rocky / Rambo sequence)
You know what? Rocky III isn’t an entirely horrible movie.
This is the Rocky movie I never saw before, because it was largely mocked at the time it came out. It’s the one with Mr. T, with Hulk Hogan, the one that no one took seriously.
You know what? You shouldn’t take this movie seriously, because it doesn’t take itself seriously. While it’s no match for the original Rocky, it’s definitely got some of Rocky‘s spark. Rocky’s back to mocking himself instead of thinking “deep” thoughts about whether he should spend 45 minutes fighting for a million dollars or go back to being a mobster’s thug.
The “charity” fight with Hulk Hogan offers some of the best moments of the film. Stallone gets pummeled by Hogan until he “realizes” that it’s rather unfair that Hogan doesn’t have to wear gloves. After pounding on Hogan bare-fisted, the two smile and pose for hilarious snapshots.
The only times the movie doesn’t really work are when it tries too hard to be serious, like when Adrian attempts to give Rocky a pep talk on a California beach. The second fight with Mr. T doesn’t work very well either, because at first there’s too much drama, and then Mr. T just gives up.
The “surprise” after Rocky regains his title is quite nice, and the movie ends with the spirit in which it began. All in all, Rocky III is an enjoyable ride, much better than Rocky II.