Likely the most famous “Rocky” movie other than the original, this third sequel eschews most of what made the franchise’s previous entries superior, like well developed characters, effective use of music, and a surprisingly tender sensitivity. Here, the focus shifts away from character motivation and heads straight into “USA! USA!” territory complete with the requisite evil Russians, and it’s all so simplistically earnest that it almost distracts from the rushed plot. As Rocky’s genetically superior Russian foe, Dolph Lundgren makes for a striking screen presence, and luckily star-writer-director Sylvester Stallone keeps Lundgren’s dialogue down to a minimum and manages to make the most out of his imposing physique without distracting the audience with Lundgren’s limited acting ability. It’s all pretty vanilla and predictable, and it works here and there but mostly it’s a little on the thin, silly side.
Rating: ★★ (out of 5)