The greatest underdog story of our time is back for one final round of the Academy Award-winning Rocky franchise. In Rocky Balboa, the former heavyweight champion steps out of retirement and back into the ring, pitting himself against a new rival in a dramatically different era.
After a virtual boxing match declares Rocky Balboa the victor over current champion Mason “The Line” Dixon, the legendary fighter’s passion and spirit are reignited. But when his desire to fight in small, regional competitions is trumped by promoters calling for a rematch of the cyber-fight, Balboa must weigh the mental and physical risks of a high profile exhibition match against his need to be in the ring.
In a movie that some are calling a powerful allegory of faith, Sylvester Stallone returns as Rocky Balboa, for the sixth and final episode of the “Rocky” series, telling the uncompromising story of victory, failure and “fighting the good fight.” The wholesome, family-friendly film (rated PG) releases through MGM on December 22, 2006.
“In Rocky, if he’s just a fighter, then it’s just a boxing story, and I told the producers in the beginning, ‘It’s not a boxing story; it’s a spiritual journey,'” says Sylvester Stallone. “It really is about a man that has been chosen to accomplish a role, to be an example for other people.”
Like its Rocky predecessors, Rocky Balboa is a story of impossible odds, self sacrifice, integrity and hard work, as the character/s “warrior spirit” fights to let go of the past and believe in those who believe in him, for one final round with a formidable opponent.
Although Hollywood has recently taken note of values-based films that include elements of faith, the 30-year-old Rocky story displayed these concepts long before the media was paying attention. Today, Stallone brings back what has long been there in the heart of Rocky.
“This one will hopefully bring forward Rocky’s more spiritual side,” Stallone says. “I really love this character, he’s a part of me and I’m longing to bring him back.”
Rocky Balboa, the character created by Sylvester Stallone, became a present-day symbol for those who venture to go the distance in life, who risk making their dreams a reality, and whose unyielding faith brings them to their destiny. Viewed by Stallone as a “20th Century gladiator in a pair of sneakers,” Rocky Balboa carries on the heroism, dignity, courage and soul that has made the movies the greatest “underdog” stories of our time.
On a recent call with pastors Stallone shared,
“The more I go to church, and the more I turn myself over to the process of believing in Jesus and listening to His Word and having Him guide my hand, I feel as though the pressure is off me now.”
With faith and values being a rarity in Hollywood’s action films, Rocky Balboa breaks the mold as an inspirational, family-friendly experience that depicts a man who honorably answers the call in his life. As the retired Rocky returns to the ring with “something left to give.” despite his aging body, we are urged to look within ourselves and find the courage to fight our own personal struggles through perseverance, support, and prayer.
“If you don’t have a great relationship with God, you can go off the deep end,” Stallone states. “The Christian foundation of life is really the perfect ideal which one should base every decision they make on, because it comes from a sense of kindness, a sense of giving, a sense of fairness, and it avoids everything which I’m exposed to every day in my particular industry which is greed, and avarice and jealousy and bitterness…”
Building on these themes, Motive Entertainment, the company which has spearheading the most significant faith-based marketing initiatives for Hollywood blockbusters, including The Passion and The Chronicles of Narnia, has decided to turn its attention to Rocky.
Paul Lauer, President of Motive Entertainment says, “Rocky Balboa is a beautiful film –one that all Rocky fans should see, especially people of faith, because it’s a powerful parable of our spiritual lives, our victories, our falls, and the importance of getting back up and persevering to the end.”
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