A lifelong Philadelphian discussing the Rocky flicks is sort of like a devoted parent dealing with a bunch of very different children: You love 'em all for what they are, but you can see their shortcomings as clear as day. The first-born Balboa (1976) is truly an offspring to be proud of: warm, sincere and truly admirable. The second son (1979) showed up and did all he could to replicate his big brother's success, but managed only to wimp out at the last minute and take the easy way out. The third brother (1982) turned out to be a pompous blowhard and the fourth one (1985) ended up being a cynical jerk ... the less said about that fifth Rocko sibling (1990) the better, mainly because that kid was a huge mistake from the word go.
And now, 16 years after the last breach birth, proud papa Sylvester Stallone has procreated one more time. The result is Rocky Balboa, and if this sixth chapter isn't the finest offering since the original Rocky, well, it sure as hell is the most heartfelt, melancholy and contemplative. Basically, those who go in expecting a non-stop slug-fest may well walk away underwhelmed -- whereas those who approach the Rocky Balboa character as a modern-day folk hero may find themselves brushing a few stray teardrops from their cheeks.