MGM/UA Distribution Company | Release Date: November 16, 1990 CRITIC SCORE DISTRIBUTION
Mixed or average reviews based on 16 Critics
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San Francisco ChronicleStaff (Not Credited)
I didn't think there was a drop left in this formula, but Sylvester Stallone has reached down, gone into the well, pulled himself up from the mat and found the strength within to come back with one last Rocky movie that's better than all the other sequels and almost as good as the original. [16 Nov 1990, p.E1]
What is undeniably good about Rocky V is that our working-class hero returns to the grimy neighborhood from which he sprang. Seeing a more slender, "street" Rocky is a refreshing change of pace from the muscle-bound champ of Parts 3 and 4. [16 Nov 1990, p.C]
In Rocky V, the fifth and presumably last episode of Sylvester Stallone's Rocky Balboa saga, the writer-star once again contrives a way to make his hulking, sad-eyed gladiator the underdog. And we get whiffs of funkiness and humanity stirring around for the first time since the original Rocky. [16 Nov 1990, p.1]
The old formula is showing its age. The movie just doesn't deliver the emotional highs that addicted millions to the Rocky cycle. For the first time, one does not leave the theater floating on air. [16 Nov 1990, p.8]
Rocky V, for all its faults, is not awful. It is inferior to the charmingly naive, Cinderella-in-sweat-pants opener of 14 years ago, but it's far superior to every other overdetermined installment. [21 Nov 1990, p.C1]
Though a tacked-on fisticuffs finale has its charms, it rather contradicts the preceding. Mere subtleties are beyond Stallone and returning Rocky I director John G. Avildsen. [16 Nov 1990, p.4D]
Chicago Sun-TimesStaff (Not Credited)
But the later Rocky movies have been low on inspiration and eager to repeat the same formula, in which everything leads up to a climactic fight scene and a triumphant fadeout. Stallone is smart enough that he could have made this series into a meditation on sports celebrity in America, but that theme has always been at the edge of the stories; the formula takes center ring. If Rocky seems to be running on autopilot, that's also the case for the other characters. [16 Nov 1990, p.49]
By now, Rocky of the drooping eyes and damaged brain has turned guru, emphasizing heart, soul and family ties when the evil promoter starts goading him and playing mind games with his protege. Stallone, said to be following Arnold Schwarzenegger into comedy, is starting earlier than anyone realized. [16 Nov 1990, p.78]