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Still shot from the movie: Rocky Balboa.

Rocky Balboa

After a lengthy absence from the ring, Sylvester Stallone steps back into the character of Rocky Balboa, as an actor, scriptwriter and director. This time the aging boxer attempts to take a swing at midlife challenges, a stand for self-respect and a knockout blow to self-pity. This is no small feat --but the comeback match and the movie champions them all. Get the movie review and more. »

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Overall: B+
Violence: B-
Sexual Content: A
Language: C-
Drugs/Alcohol: B
Theater Release: 21 Dec 2006
Video Release: 19 Mar 2007
MPAA Rating: PG
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The MPAA has rated Rocky Balboa PG for boxing violence and some language.

Thirty years ago, the character Rocky Balboa, a Philadelphia debt collector and underrated boxer, climbed into the ring for the first time and the movie went on to win Oscar approval. In the following years, the Rocky franchise found the boxer fighting his way through four more opponents. While not all those matches met with the same financial success or critical acclaim as the first film, Rocky proved himself to be a tenacious pugilist.

However making a comeback isn't an easy feat---either for an aging athlete in a grueling sport or an actor with a past film franchise. But setting aside the implausibility of a mature fighter taking on a much younger, quicker challenger, there's still plenty to love about Rocky Balboa.

When so many sports personalities strut their over-inflated egos or trash talk their opponents, Rocky (Sylvester Stallone) is a man who defends a woman's honor without expecting some kind of payment, who doesn't hold grudges against former rivals, who looks out for underdogs, single moms and kids on the street and who rescues a mutt from the pound.

As the owner of a little eatery named Adrian's, in honor of his deceased wife, Rocky now entertains diners with stories from his glory days and poses for pictures. But even his celebrated past isn't enough to lure his son Rocky Jr. (Milo Ventimiglia) down to the restaurant. Blaming his father's legend for his own lack of success, the young adult stays as far away from the old Philadelphia neighborhood as he can.

However, when sportscasters create a virtual match between fighters from different eras, Rocky and the current heavyweight champion Mason 'The Line' Dixon (Antonio Tarver) are pitted in the ring. The media hype surrounding the video-game-like event eventually inspires the older Rocky to return to the gym. His application for a boxing license is finally enough to bring his estranged son to the neighborhood in hopes of dissuading his father.

Now in case viewers think Rocky Balboa is only about a midlife crisis or motivation for middle-aged competitors, this film is roped with wise advice about self-respect, compassion and true friendship for all ages. (If you doubt Rocky's cultural influence, don't miss the ending credits.) Among other things, this father challenges his son to stop wallowing in self-pity and demonstrates the importance of getting up again no matter how many times life knocks you down.

As the movie's writer and director, Sylvester Stallone deserves credit for giving families with teens an uplifting screenplay, without the typical sexual content, alcoholic binges or overly graphic violence. With only limited language concerns and portrayals of sport injuries, the film may inspire a whole new generation of fans --- at least it has at my house.

Rocky Balboa is rated PG:

Cast: Sylvester Stallone
Studio: 2006 Columbia TriStar Home Video

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About the Reviewer: Kerry Bennett

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