Sylvester Stallone should have never made another movie after this. I don’t mean that as an indictment of the sixth installment in Stallone’s ongoing exercise in can-do Americana. Rather, I mean that Rocky Balboa encapsulates the entire Stallone phenomenon in one film. His dumbbell appeal, his considerable limitations – everything is here, as well as the star’s resigned, even noble, admission of it. The movie’s most poignant scenes are those of Rocky telling tales
of the ring to patrons at his restaurant. It’s at once a nod to the washed-up Jake La Motta at the end of Martin Scorsese’s Raging Bull and a parallel to the real-life Stallone.