This week begins a new feature on RAMBO of the Week. The last Thursday of every month, I'll be taking a break from RAMBO sequels to focus on the next best thing: ROCKY sequels. Enjoy the inaugural edition of ROCKY of the Month!
Rocky VII: Rockando Spinoza Alfonsini Credenza Balboa III
As the film opens, it has been 10 years since ROCKY's last taste of glory. He is destitute, living in a homeless shelter and has had to pawn his skeleton for food. Moreover, Adrian has come back from the dead, divorced ROCKY, taken away their adult children and subsequently died again.
Now a reclusive amorphous blob, ROCKY avoids talking about his former days as the world champ. One day, Paulie comes to take ROCKY on his daily outing.
Watching TV through the window, ROCKY sees a powerful young boxer named Crusher "Crusher" Crushenstonington. Crusher is the new heavyweight champion of the world. ROCKY watches wistfully as Crusher showboats for the cameras and brags that he is unbeatable.
"Why, if Rocky Balboa still had a skeleton, I'd whoop it right out of him!" Crusher boasts.
We see a glimmer in ROCKY's eyes.
"I think I can beat this guy, Paulie," ROCKY says. At least that's what we think he says. ROCKY's tendency to mumble and slur his words makes his dialogue near-incomprehensible.
"Are you crazy, Rock?" Paulie cries in his typical acerbic fashion. "Dat guy's half your age and twice your size. Plus ya gots no skeleton!"
"It's the only way I can get my son back," ROCKY replies.
No attempt is made to explain this assertion.
In the next scene, we see ROCKY in a boxing gym. He is still, it should be noted, sans skeleton. Paulie pokes his head through the door,
"If you're gonna fight da Crusher, we gotta get you in shape," he says. "Meet your new trainer, That One Dude From Predator!"
Carl Weathers enters, and we are left to ponder the screenwriter's choice to identify Weathers for his role in Predator rather than his numerous appearances in previous ROCKY films.
"I'm gonna ride you like a stolen bicycle! I'm gonna whip that rubbery body into a man meat milkshake! When I'm done with you, you're gonna take napalm intraveneously and vomit out molten gold in the shape of trophies!" Weathers raves. "What do you say, Rocky? Ready to start?"
We cut back to ROCKY who now inexplicably has a skeleton, and has swollen to his approximate size circa Rocky IV. He punches Weathers' head off.
"I'm already done," he says. Upon saying this, ROCKY raises his gloved fists in the air in triumph, weeps with joy and babbles incoherently about going the distance.
The next 45 minutes are devoted to a training montage set to "Gotta Fly Now", as ROCKY lifts the back ends of cars, punches through trees and chases velociraptors. As the scene culminates, ROCKY runs to the top of the Great Pyramid, jumping up and down and pumping his fists. He has now swollen to a grotesque size, and has veinous biceps somehow jutting from the sides of his neck.
The scene cuts to ringside, where we see announcers discussing the impending fight.
"What an amazing comeback for Rocky Balboa," one of the announcers says. "Earlier this afternoon, living in a homeless shelter, friendless, penniless and skeletonless. Now, four hours later, fighting to reclaim the heavyweight championship of the world."
ROCKY enters the arena with his entourage, "Eye of the Tiger" blaring in the background.
"And here comes the champ!" the announcer says.
Crusher enters the arena. He is easily nine feet tall, and carries a sack of lightbulbs which he eats like popcorn. He enters the ring, he and ROCKY shake hands and the bell sounds.
The next 30 minutes is solely devoted to ROCKY getting the absolute piss knocked out of him. He literally does not land a punch, but is mercilessly pummelled into a bleeding heap. Periodically, the fighters return to their corners and ROCKY babbles incoherently to Paulie, who puts bandages on ROCKY's wounds and at one point actually has to sew his head back on.
Finally, ROCKY re-enters the ring, swaying on his feet. Suddenly, a look of steely determination appears in his eyes. Just as Crusher is lining up for what is sure to be the finishing blow, ROCKY punches Crusher with such force that he implodes.
The crowd rushes into the ring, cheering exuberantly and hoisting ROCKY aloft. A young man approaches.
"Dad! You won me back with that fight!" he says to ROCKY.
ROCKY raises his gloved fists in the air in triumph, weeps with joy and babbles incoherently about going the distance.