Opening Line: "November 12, 1975. A cold night in Philly."
So, a little known (and completely unnecessary) fact about me is that I’m huge fan of the Rocky movies. That’s right Rocky Balboa is my hero. I couldn’t even tell you how many times I’ve seen the movies over the years but I still cheer along every single time and get all caught up in the struggle, heartbreak, training montages, music, love story and that final 15 round, blood splattered, go for glory, give it all ya got, fight. I’m actually at a loss as to explain why they move me so much? Maybe it’s because I’ve always loved an underdog and this is the story of the ultimate underdog; a man whose whole life centers on a million to one shot. It’s also about going the distance and in the case of the original movie losing but winning the girl anyhow.
When the movie Rocky Balboa came out a few years ago my fan-girl status piqued and I hunted down all the novelizations. I’d been hoping that I might find something new in the novel, some in depth characterization or at least some scenes that weren’t in the movie because honestly just how in depth can Rocky be? He’s a pretty simple character. Anyways there are a few gems here but for the most part this was just an okay, somewhat clunky read that didn’t really add anything to the experience. In fact it often read more like the original screenplay than the novelization it was meant to be. “Adrian was visibly upset. She walked across the room. She turned the light on.”
Rocky’s relationship with Gazzo is better developed here, while his relationship with Micky is less so and there is a great scene with Balboa nervously riding up the elevator to Apollo’s office when he still thinks he’s being sought after as a sparring partner. The final fight scene which is so spectacular in the movie is kind of lack luster here and the actual ending is different with both Rocky and Adrian being carried overhead by exuberant fight fans after the final decision is announced instead of Adrian sneaking under the ropes and telling Rocky she loves him as the decision is announced. The one here felt very awkward and I’m glad Stallone changed it.
Anyways I’m still rockin my Italian Stallion t-shirt on the weekends and have quit questioning why I’m such a fan. One day I’ll make it to the natural history museum in Philadelphia and run up those steps. It’s on the bucket list. Cheers.