Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Mr. T, Carl Weathers, Talia Shire, Burt Young, Burgess Meredith, and Tony Burton.
Directed by: Sylvester Stallone.
Released: May 28th, 1982.
Considering the mega success of the original “Rocky” and its blockbuster sequel “Rocky II”, a third film was inevitable. “Rocky III” pushes the story forward, following the growing success and popularity of Mr. Balboa’s career, now being the world’s new heavyweight champion and winning over ten title defenses. As a result of all of this, Rocky has now become a very wealthy and heavily merchandised celebrity.
Meanwhile, a new and ferocious boxer named James “Clubber” Lang (played by Mr. T, the star of “The A-Team”) is quickly climbing up the ranks, winning fight after fight, and proving himself worthy of becoming Rocky’s next big contender. Rocky doesn’t take him seriously, however, that is until Clubber Lang criticizes his past ten winnings and makes a sexual remark towards Adrian. Rocky’s trainer, Mickey, wants no part of the fight and admits to having hand-picked his past fights in order to keep him successful, alive, and healthy, considering the beating he took with Apollo Creed. After some arguing, Mickey finally agrees to follow through with it but Rocky doesn’t take his training seriously, allowing himself to be distracted by fans and such unlike Clubber Lang whom goes at it along inside derelict buildings and what not.
“Rocky III”, while it is a solid and flawless third entry, marks the point where the series began to down a slightly comic book-like route with opponent characters who are akin to wrestlers and super-humans. Despite this, there’s many iconic things about “Rocky III” such as the aggressive and strong Clubber Lang and Thunderlips characters, both of which launched the careers of Mr. T and Hulk Hogan to super stardom; the theme song “Eye of the Tiger” which grew to become a hit single that received an Academy Award nomination; and the unveiling of Rocky’s infamous statue to name a few.
The third “Rocky” film also does a good job of spending time with its characters, allowing them much room to develop; most of the “Rocky” films have been notorious for this quality. For instance, there’s Paulie (played by Burt Young) who grows jealous of Rocky’s achievements and ends up in jail only to receive a job offer from Rocky himself. Then there’s Mickey’s death, of course, and the beginning of a new friendship between Rocky and Apollo. This film marks the prime point of the entire “Rocky” franchise.