There once was an underdog boxer named Rocky Balboa. He lived on the streets of Philadelphia among shady individuals, poor as dirt, living in a rundown apartment. Even though he was a pretty good boxer at the local level and had won many fights, nobody took him seriously, calling him a bum and a loser. He even had his locker taken away from him and given to someone else, being ousted from the boxing club because he was no longer needed.
One night while in a pet shop, he met a shy young girl named Adrianna, or Adrian as Rocky preferred to call her (Yo, Adrian!). She was very reluctant of his advances at first and didn’t want to enter his apartment because she didn’t know him very well but they soon hit it off. She was a source of inspiration for Rocky, a hint of light for him to move ahead. Rocky made her more self-confident as well. They shared a long kiss and he no longer felt alone or like a creep anymore.
Then one day Rocky was given the once in a lifetime chance to go up against World Heavyweight Champion Apollo Creed, since he had no other challengers and was giving an unknown the opportunity to shine. This was to be the ultimate David and Goliath match, an upstart nobody against the best of the best. Rocky started training hard day after day for the fight, running through the streets of Philly and up the historic 72 steps, taking to punching huge cuts of raw meat in a freezer room, and working on his footwork with a trainer.
On the other side, the champ Creed was not taking the upcoming fight seriously, not even training himself. To him, this was a charity event for the fans and he doubted it would go on for more than 3 rounds. And when the night of the fight finally arrived, he showed up dressed like Uncle Sam, taking this matter as a joke, teasing and taunting Rocky. But that was not to be the case. After the Italian Stallion knocked Apollo to the ground to the audience’s surprise, the first time in the champ’s career, the fight became serious. It went the whole 15 rounds, Rocky falling down once and the fight looking like it may had been over. Cocky Apollo started waving his arms in the air, celebrating early. Rocky stumbled back to his feet, vowing to “go the distance”, to Apollo’s amazement. The fight continued, both men jabbing and beating each other up some more, Rocky too tired to defend himself with his fists, taking shots to the face. His nose was broken for the first time in his career, blood dripping. There was no way either of these competitors were going to just give up.
And finally the bell to end the fight rang. The judges called it a split decision. Adrian raced into the ring and embraced her lover in a hug, telling that she loved him. Could Rocky win the decision and become a national hero? Would the Cinderella story end happily?
Amidst the roar and cheering of the crowd, the deciding judge’s voice was barely audible:
“And the winner of the fight by a split decision is…Apollo Creed!”
Rocky was the bridesmaid again. He didn’t want a rematch, said he was tired of taking shots to the face. He went on to marry Adrian and had a son named Rocky Balboa, Jr. He gained the respect of his community and the boxing world.
And all was well with the world – his world.
I just watched this film tonight for the first time in a long while. I picked up on minor details and plot points that I missed the first time around. This movie is similar to Cinderella Man, I’ve come to realize, not that the 2005 film is a ripoff but is inspired by Rocky in a number of ways. The following movies in the Rocky series seem to follow a pattern: Rocky is on top on the world and then Rocky is fighting to get his “eye of the tiger” back.
Overall, I give the first installment in the Rocky Series an 8/10.