Rocky III (1982)
This may be the guiltiest of all the big budget guilty pleasure sports movies made in the 1980s. In the 1980s the Rocky movies became pretty much an extended music video. This time around the hit song of the “album” was Eye of the Tiger by Survivor, a song that has become the universal anthem for boxing training, tied perhaps only with the original Rocky theme itself. Compared to the first two movies this is a complete comic book cartoon level romp. Now that said, as many real boxers have pointed out there were plenty of holes to pick apart in the first two movies, but from here on out, the absurdity gets turned up to eleven. In this movie instead of a beat down up and comer off the streets the club fighter Rocky Balboa is a defending heavyweight champion who has reached the point in his career where his home town has built a statue in his honor. He opens the movie in a charity match against Hulk “Thunderlips” Hogan in a role that was a huge part in the wrestler’s eventually becoming the big WWF attraction he later became. He now lives in an enormous mansion with his wife Adrian and his brother in law played by Burt Young. The big bad guy this time around is Clubber Lang, as played by Mr. T, and in a stunning role reversal Apollo Creed has now turned good guy and helps train Rocky for the second match with Lang, after the soft Balboa gets clubbered (pun most intended) in the first match. There’s so many silly cliché moments here, but this movie is impossible for me to dislike.