"Rocky Balboa" asks the questions on everyone’s mind since Sylvester Stallone announced his sixth boxing film. Isn’t Sly, let alone Rocky, too old to get in the ring? Well, it’s just an exhibition in the film, but even Stallone was surprised how hard it was to get back in shape.
"The training for this was extremely difficult and riddled with a lot of injury," he said. "Things that worked 30 years ago are a little rusty. I kind of felt like the tin man before he got his can of oil, very, very stiff, but you know with the help of a handful of Advil every morning I got through it, but there were a lot of injuries."
Rocky gets an exhibition with the current champ, Mason "The Line" Dixon (Antonio Tarver) after an ESPN hypothetical suggests he could have beaten Dixon in his prime. Even the real boxer got hurt fighting the movie star.
"The champ broke his knuckle sparring with me, and I broke my foot. I’m in a cast hobbling around the ring, so we looked like two mummies, and I swear to you it was like slow motion. Does it hurt? Yes, it hurts. Does it hurt? Yes, it hurts."
Rocky has always taken a beating and weathered through, but now Stallone is rethinking his classic cinematic device. "The gloves were a little worked so they had a little extra padding, but it hurt because I got dropped at least three times badly. The second knockout when I’m trying to struggle to get up, that’s real. It is. Now I get it. I wanted Rocky to just bounce right up like, ‘Yeah, it didn’t hurt,’ and like the third time he knocked me down I went ‘Wow, now I get it, It’s called stunned.’ I was stunned. So there’s more realistic fighting in this."
When the DVD comes out, you can hold Stallone to his word. "We worked in the editing room that if you freeze frame anywhere you’ll see the contact. There’s none of that like the other films where you miss by [four inches]. No, this is on the money, unfortunately."
"Rocky Balboa" opens December 22.