Like George Foreman, Sylvester Stallone just doesn’t know when to quit. What else could explain this chapter in the Rocky ring cycle, in which the Italian Stallion, bankrupt and permanently punch-drunk, returns to the streets to start over? Since the doctors won’t let him box, Rocky does the next obvious thing: He finds a promising protégé (Tommy Morrison, a real-life heavyweight boxer) and trains him in his image.
Inevitably, Rocky has to fight the kid, in a finale that erupts not inside the ring but, equally inevitably, in the streets. Blow for blow, this is one of Rocky’s better bouts, but it doesn’t come close to redeeming a movie that, for all its hype about recapturing the heart of the original, feels thoroughly obligatory. Rocky V is certainly seems like Rocky’s last hurrah, which may, ironically, inspire more people to catch up with the video. But they’d do better to re-rent the first Rocky and remember this palooka as he was in his prime. C-