A week ago, I took my boys to see Rocky Balboa. It was terrific--more in the mold of the original 1976 Rocky than III, IV, or V. There were parts of the movie where the theater erupted in spontaneous cheers. I'm sure that it won't get an Oscar, simply because the academy is too highbrow nowadays to admit that a Stallone film could really be "art (although 30 years ago, let's not forget that the original, written by Sly, won best picture). But that's not what's on my mind.
As I watched, I was saddened that this will be the last Rocky. Although the script placed Balboa in his "50s," Stallone is 61. Supposedly they are beginning filming on a new Indiana Jones movie, but Harrison Ford is over 60. Arnold Schwarzenegger is 63. Chuck Norris is 67. Clint Eastwood is near 70. Here's the question: if you were going to make a real kick-butt, testosterone-overload action film today, who the heck would you cast in it? Imagine an updated version of The Predator or Rambo. Who? And it's not about the bodybuilder's physique. I can't think of anybody today who could pull off Indiana Jones, or Death Wish, or Dirty Harry. What passes for modern machismo is a sad shadow of what used to be. That's one reason why my youngest son and I tune in many nights to watch Walker, Texas Ranger. I know, it's cheesier than the velveeta aisle at Bi-Lo. But Walker has a code. He doesn't start trouble, but he darn sure ends it. And right always triumphs over wrong.
I was worried when I heard there would be a new Rocky. I was afraid that an old Sly would tanish the franchise--sort of like Michael Jordan's last "un-retirement." But now I am happy he did it. I'm pleased my sons got to see what a real man's movie looks like.