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Directed by John G. Avildsen. Produced by Robert Chartoff and Irwin Winkler. Written by Sylvester Stallone. Release date: November 16, 1990.
The movie that killed Rocky - figuratively speaking - Rocky V was released five years after the fourth film and saw the return of director John G. Avildsen, who directed the first film in the franchise, winning an Oscar for the effort. Well, it turns out that may have been a fluke, because Rocky V was so bad that it ended the series for a decade and a half. It's a pivotal film in the franchise only because of how it almost killed it, and because it's so laughably bad that it's the type of movie that you watch with friends and make fun of it for its entire running time.
Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone): A two-time World Heavyweight Champion who is married to Adrian.
Adrian Pennino (Talia Shire): Rocky's love interest, wife, and mother of his child.
Paulie Pennino (Burt Young): Adrian's brother and Rocky's friend.
Robert Balboa (Sage Stallone): Rocky and Adrian's child.
Tommy Gunn (Tommy Morrison): An up-and-coming boxer whom Rocky takes under his wing.
After beating Ivan Drago in Moscow, Rocky returns to America and learns that his accountant had squandered all of his money on bad real estate deals, and had failed to pay his taxes. Rocky and his family are, once again, broke. He is told he can fix this by boxing a few more times, but doctors inform him that he's sustained permanent brain damage and cannot fight. Rocky retires, auctions off most of his possessions, and finds himself back in his old neighborhood.
One of the only things he keeps is a gym - Mickey's (his former trainer) old gym. He begins to train a young man named Tommy, who becomes his sole focus. His son feels neglected and starts acting out as a result. Tommy eventually leaves Rocky, winning the World Heavyweight Championship, but receiving little admiration from the audience. Rocky begins to heal his life at home, but is taunted into a street fight by Tommy after Tommy punches Paulie at the local bar.
Tommy almost wins the fight, knocking Rocky down, but not out. Rocky gets back up and knocks out Tommy. The next day, Rocky and his son take a jog, because their relationship has been mended. Rocky is now done fighting forever, or so he thinks.
Is It Any Good?
So, with terrible writing, Sage Stallone being an awful child actor - although the adult acting isn't much better - and taking the series in a direction that nobody wanted, Rocky V is ultimately pretty terrible. Whose bright idea was it to have Rocky never have an actual boxing match? It continues to be overly sentimental and cheesy, but this time without at least the promise of a big boxing match at the end. The family drama doesn't work because these characters are paper-thin - even after four previous movies - and it's all laughable. I wasn't kidding when I said it's something to watch with friends and laugh at.