Rocky Balboa: Reverent Edition

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Rocky Balboa: Reverent Edition
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Many, many small lines of dialogue have been removed throughout, mostly without shortening scenes at all. I felt Rocky was just not respected in the theatrical version and I wanted to remedy that.
To create a version of Rocky Balboa that gives proper reverence to the title character while expanding scenes that should have been left in and eliminating a lot of dialogue that began to bother me on subsequent viewings.
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Rocky Balboa was a good film, but a couple of things have become issues for me as I've rewatched it in the last few years. The first - and most major - problem I have is the constant disrespect Rocky gets from sports announcers. I mean, this is a man who was one of the absolute greats in boxing history. Yet at every turn we hear the announcers talking about how he's basically some has-been loser who stands no chance in a "real" fight. How many times did we hear this in earlier Rocky films, only to have those criticisms silenced by Rocky doing the impossible? By this point, I felt that he really deserved more respect. It makes sense for Dixon's manager to talk him up, and for some of the commentators to agree that Dixon would win, but why the insults?

My version focuses on Rocky's desire to prove something to himself, not to people pointlessly insulting his legacy. The talk he has with his son later testifies to how you have to go out and get what you're worth, and not care what other people say. So why shoehorn in that motivation for him to fight? The second problem for me is the cutting to Marie constantly during the final fight, cheering him on. This didn't stand out to me as a problem the first time I watched the movie, but it's gotten more and more cheesy every time I've watched it since, to the point that I began to cringe every time they cut to her. The flow of the fight is so much better now. I've also added back in the three deleted scenes, and color-graded them to better match the rest of the movie. These were all great character moments, and they deserved to be in the film.

Lastly, I've removed the grave site coda. It was a decent way to end the movie, but I've thought since the very first time I saw it that it should end instead as Rocky leaves the stadium. It's also a great bookend this way to the first film which ended with Rocky holding Adrian - the love of his life. This one now ends with him holding the hand of a fan - the only love he has left.
Cuts and Additions:
- Added deleted scene: Rocky talks with Steps about fathers.
- Removed lines: "Skip, how do you think Balboa would've done against Dixon"? "Badly. Personally, I think Balboa was completely overrated. You know he owns a little restaurant in South Philly. What's his specialty, pounded chicken"?
- Removed Paulie's line: "Hey, hey, hey, cheer up. Free advertisement" (since the line no longer makes sense without the prior line).
- Added deleted scene: Paulie's remorse in the alley.
- Removed line: Robert's last "do you?!" line to Rocky. This was a bit over-acted in my opinion.
- Added deleted scene: Sparring match.
- Removed lines: "Larry, why is this billed as an exhibition"? "Wild guess. So they wouldn't have to call it an execution". "Woo hoo".
- Removed line: "Or the last supper, perhaps, with him as the main course".
- Removed lines: " about wishful thinking". "Or maybe 'no hopes' is more like it. Anyway, the crowd likes it".
- Removed line: "Two whole rounds? We have a cock-eyed optimist in the house".
- Removed word: "old" from describing Rocky during the George Foreman analogy.
- Removed line: "It looks like a speed bag against a punching bag".
- Removed line: "Apparently he forgot his arthritis meds this morning".
- Removed line: Marie's "yes"! when Rocky knocks Dixon down.
- Removed line: Marie's "all right!" and clapping after second round.
- Removed line: "Target practice for Dixon".
- Removed lines: Marie's chants of "Rocky" that are louder than everyone else's.
- Removed line: Marie's "Come on, Rocky, come on"!
- Removed line: Marie's "Win it, win it"!
- Removed line: Marie's "Yes!" immediately after last punch.
- Removed entire last scene at grave site. Movie now fades to black on freeze-frame of Rocky holding the fan's hand.
- Removed people climbing the stairs in Philly. It was cute, but it really took away from the emotion of the ending.

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I already loved this movie but this edit made me love it even more. The changes made here are not too drastic but they are crucial in representing the best version of this film possible. Everything I did hate in the official release is gone, namely the way the sports media relentlessly insults and demeans Rocky leading up to his comeback fight. He feels more like the boxing legend he is supposed to be in this cut. The flow of the final fight really is so much better without Marie shouting over the rest of the crowd. She's a fine character but her presence was an imposition in that fight and distracted from it a lot, so I'm glad the editor agreed. I also appreciated the deleted footage that has been added back in because it gives important context to the development of the characters. For those reasons, I'm considering this version of the film canon. This is the best way to edit movies that are already good.

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