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Saturday, June 16, 2012

It Ain't About How Hard You Can Hit

When I was a teenager, I saw Rocky in the movie theatre. Over the years, I didn't catch the sequels, and to an extent, Rocky slipped away from my consciousness. Then, one day recently, I happened to see an interview of Sylvester Stallone. I discovered that he had not only stared in Rocky, but also written the screenplay. As an author, I perked up. He spoke of all those things of which authors speak: characterization, motivation, etc.

During the interview, Mr. Stallone discussed his disappointment with Rocky V (the final Rocky sequel), and his determination to create a new final sequel that would satisfy fans. Out of his determination came Rocky Balboa. He stirred my curiosity. I had to see what he'd done with Rocky thirty years later. I watched Rocky Balboa, and I so loved it that I went back and watched Rocky for the first time in years, then Rocky Balboa for a second time.

In Rocky Balboa, Rocky, who is now 59, decides to fight the current world heavyweight champion in an exhibition bout to rid himself of his inner beast (his grief over the loss of his wife). Robert, Rocky’s son, tries to dissuade him from returning to the ring, not because he fears for his father’s safety, but because he blames his own failings on his father's success. Rocky replies that, to succeed in life, "it ain't about how hard you hit; it's about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward."

I think the scene between Rocky and Robert is profound, but whether because Rocky’s words are so true to his character, or whether because they reflect my own personal philosophy, I couldn't say.

Click HERE to watch the scene.

After the ten-round bout, when Robert embraces a bloody and battered, but still standing, Rocky, he says, "That was the greatest thing I’ve ever seen, Pop." Rocky's lines are deeply moving, whereas Robert's line is emotionally satisfying. Moments later, fans are asked to say goodbye to Rocky...forever.

Rocky Balboa takes us full circle to Rocky.

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