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George At 

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Rocky III

One of the best, pure popcorn 80’s sequels and a monster hit at the box office, ROCKY III was a lot of fun in the theatres upon its release and serves up a full count of nostalgic enjoyment today.

Sylvester Stallone wrote and directed this fast paced tale that manages to get us on our feet yet again.

Having won the title from Apollo Creed (the flawless Carl Weathers) at the end of “Rocky II”, Rocky has fallen into a new, very comfortable life, with every suit, car, toy and mansion that money can buy. He’s an endorsement machine, earning plenty of cash with a long series of not very competitive title fights.

This doesn’t sit well with Clubber Lang, played much more convincingly than I remembered by Mr. T, long before he became a caricature of himself. He’s incredibly ripped, threatening and a hell of an opponent. Long before Mr. T turned comic actor, he’s intimidating as hell in his film debut.

Stallone’s genius is his ability to constantly re-tell basically the same story, adapting it to the time of each film and pushing all our emotional buttons with quick, hard punches.

This time around, we get the aging Mickey (Burgess Meredith is perfection and as funny as he is tragic), Apollo back to train Rocky and not one but two well staged fights.

80’s training montages abound, all set to Survivor’s ‘Eye of the Tiger”, Frank Stallone’s second-rate pop tunes like “Pushin” and “Take You Back” and of course, Bill Conti’s legendary Rocky theme.

Every damn time Stallone fires up those trumpets, I’m ready to jump into the ring and take on the world. This is the only Rocky film to show an entire fight without jumping ahead through rounds and it’s one hell of a fight. Of course, in real life, Rocky and Clubber would both probably die from the beating they give each other, but as sports cinema, it’s one of the best matches ever staged.

If you don’t just about come out of your seat screaming during the final rounds, check your pulse.

“I pity the fool” that doesn’t enjoy ROCKY III. Just as much fun as it was nearly 40 years ago on the big screen, it gets a rope-a-dope inspired A.

Made for $17 million and grossing $125 million in 1982 dollars, it was followed three years later by Rocky IV.

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