There’s big news on Rocky VI today in the pages of Variety – the film is greenlit at Sony, and it is being called Rocky Balboa. Stallone has given some hints about the plot, which will have a widowed, old Rocky climbing back into the ring for one last fight.
"There’s a computer fight between the reigning world champion and Balboa, and Balboa wins," he said. He doesn’t specify if the computer fight is ref-ed by Paulie’s robot. "The champion’s management says let’s do this for real, for charity. Rocky says no but decides to be true to himself even though he’s going to be berated by everyone. Just to compete, not to win."
Stallone says that this film will be partially autobiographical, just like the previous Rocky films, which reflect his real life – he was a chump who became a champ and he defeated the Soviet Union. "I am drawing on a lot of my feelings that are in synch with many people’s feelings about facing the last chapter of their lives and how they want it to be written. Rocky goes through the skepticism of trying to go against the tide, to go against common sense."
Stallone is pursuing Roy Jones Jr, a real boxer, to play the champ, who is named Mason Dixon. Between that and Apollo Creed you have to wonder about Stallone’s thoughts on how black families name their children.
Rocky Balboa begins production at the end of the year in Philly and Vegas. Burt Young, aka Paulie, is back, as is Bill Conti, who wrote the immortal Rocky theme. I’m hoping for a good film here, for Stallone to pick up his writing career where he left it off so many decades ago. But if it’s going to be bad, I hope it’s amazingly bad, just completely ill-advised on every single level.