Rocky V Revisited: The Worst of the Rocky Series?

Fans of the franchise mainly hate Rocky V. It took away the triumph Rocky IV and made it a tragedy for the Italian stallion, suffering a potentially fatal injury due to his fight with Drago. Financially wiped out thanks to Paulie (who else?), Rocky, Adrian (Talia Shire – in her final appearance in the saga) and Robert (Sage Stallone) must move to Philly, where Rocky takes over Mickey’s old gym. There he finds a prospect, Tommy Gunn (the late Tommy Morrison), who he can turn into a challenger, only for ego and a Don King-like promoter to get in the way, ending in a ridiculous street fight. Stallone has slammed the film over the years, but is it as bad as all that?

To give Stallone credit, he would take Rocky V back to the dawning mood of the first film, and even bring back director John G. Avildsen, but here’s the thing – Avildsen wasn’t the same filmmaker he was in 1976. Avildsen continued to make The Karate Kid movie, and when he came back to Rocky V, he made it soft. And the blame cannot be placed on Avildsen’s shoulders, where he uploads a darker one working pressure of the film to YouTube shortly before his death, hinting at his original vision for the film. Sly and Avildsen seemed to want one thing, and the studio wanted another. The resulting film would kill the franchise for sixteen years, only for Sly to triumphantly bring it back (reviving his career in the process) with the classic Rocky Balboa. So join this episode of Sylvester Stallone reunion as we revisit this much-maligned piece of Sly’s filmography.

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