Rocky V picked right back up after the last fight in Russia. He returns to America, and we learn Rocky has developed traumatic brain injury from the culmination of head impacts over the years, including his most recent fight with Ivan Drago. Rocky can no longer fight due to this, and must officially retire.
We also learn that Rocky’s accountant poorly handled Rocky’s finances, and so the family is forced to sell all of their things and move back to Rocky‘s original neighborhood. In order to make ends meet, Rocky opens the boxing gym where he first started.
I think this is also Rocky’s way of staying connected to a sport that he can no longer participate in. All the while, he is pressured by Duke to fight the current Heavyweight Champion for a significant amount of money. Rocky reluctantly begins training Tommy Gunn, who is an up-and-coming fighter. Rocky begins living through Tommy with each win, and Tommy begins to resent Rocky because he feels Rocky is using him to remain relevant. Against, Rocky’s wishes, Tommy partners with Duke to fight the current World Heavyweight Champ. Upon winning the title, Tommy learns that the fight was set up and no one truly considers him the World Heavyweight Champion…because the previous Champion never won the title from Rocky. Determined to prove himself, Tommy instigates a street fight with Rocky.
I enjoyed the fight scenes of Rocky in this movie. Rocky is never seen in the ring because he has officially lost his boxing license, due to his injury. I love any fight scene that Rocky is a part of, because it is almost always a fight that has passion. What motivates Rocky the most is defending something. In Rocky I and II he was defending himself as having the ability to be a professional boxer. In Rocky III, he felt the need to honor Mickey, who he believes died prematurely thinking Rocky had won the fight. In Rocky IV, Rocky is defending Creed who was killed in the ring by Ivan Drago. And in this movie, Rocky is fighting Tommy Gunn to show that Tommy doesn’t have what it takes to be the World Heavyweight Champion — because he lacks heart and passion.
There’s a lot of character development in this movie with Rocky. Rocky initially pretends that he’s okay moving back to his old neighborhood, but he misses the luxuries he once had. He believes that he’s fallen from Grace. In all of the previous movies, I never believe Rocky to be attached to money or fame. Even in the second movie, he squandered all of his money on those around him, and went back to working in a butcher shop.
I honestly think Rocky became attached to that lifestyle due to Creed’s influence. His lack of money affects him so much that he truly consider Duke’s offer to fight, in order to get back on top–both financially and in name. He also got attached to an unappreciative leech like Tommy, which caused a break in his family. Though the Tommy Gunn/Duke pair were subpar antagonists, I believe their parts were a necessary evil to bring Rocky back to the understanding that family is where his life and heart lie.
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Watching movies in theaters is an indescribable experience for me. This, doing laundry, and visiting the Container Store bring me true joy. When I’m not watching movies or getting Peetimes, I like keeping up with the latest technology, learning to code, and building things. Career wise, my passion lies with improving access and equity within the health, tech, and social sectors.