With Rocky having beaten all who have come against him it is ironically his own body that proves the greatest challenge, with Balboa now suffering brain damage. And like watching some favourite relative die, Stallone subjects the viewer to a miserable and pathetic end for such an enduring character.
Unable to fight and broke due to his shonky accountant, Rocky is forced to move back with his family to Philadelphia. Adrian gets her job back at the pet store, Paulie hits the booze and Sly opens up Mickey's gym and starts training up the promising boxer Tommy Gunn (Tommy Morrison).
This incredible plot twist allows Stallone to get back to the basic raw ingredients of "Rocky" with original director John G Avildsen back at the helm. Only it's a lame concoction with no training sequence and no big fight.
The few titbits that are thrown to the viewer are desperate attempts to revive memories. Rocky starts telling his awful jokes again (last witnessed in "Rocky II"), hollers in the street to the Padre and worst of all Mickey returns as a ghost! (Played by one ill-looking Burgess Meredith).
The one confrontation comes at the end as Rocky's protégé turns on him as part of a plan by a Don King styled promoter (Richard Gant) who's desperate to goad Balboa back into the ring. It's only a streetfight though and Avildsen keeps it short and unsatisfying. What you're left with is a sad ending to a series that despite its faults was always entertainingly triumphant.
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