Follow TV Tropes

Following

Film / Rocky V

Go To

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/rocky5_2902.jpg
Go for it.

George Washington Duke: In the ring! In the ring! Tommy Gunn only fights in the ring!
Rocky: My ring's outside.
Advertisement:

The one where Rocky goes all Street Fighter in the end.

Rocky V is a 1990 American sports drama film written by and starring Sylvester Stallone; the fifth film in the Rocky series.

Rocky has fallen on hard times due to combination of suffering from brain damage after his bout with Drago in the previous film and having his fortune stolen by a crooked accountant. He is forced to move back to his old neighborhood, where he starts running the late Mickey's gym. He becomes a trainer to a young boxer named Tommy Gunn. This doesn't sit well with his son and their relationship starts to deteriorate.

Though this was presumed to be the ending of the series, Sylvester Stallone made a sixth film, Rocky Balboa, which was released in 2006.


Advertisement:

This film has the examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Tommy's father use to beat him and his mother until he grew up and left his home. This is where all of his aggression and rage comes from as he pictures his opponents as his father to unleash all of his wrath.
  • Actor Allusion: A double whammy one for Tommy Morrison. His manager's name is George Washington Duke, whose name not only references Tommy's boxing name Tommy "The Duke" Morrison, it references his (supposed) uncle John Wayne whose real name is Marion Morrison and was nicknamed "The Duke".
    • Tommy Gunn hails from Oklahoma, and Tommy Morrison, who portrayed Gunn, was born in Arkansas and grew up in eastern Oklahoma.
  • Always Someone Better/Overshadowed by Awesome: At first Tommy is delighted at being Rocky's pupil and the two become quite friendly, but when he finds Rocky getting more attention than he does and the media always compares the two, he begins to resent Rocky... see also Dude, Where's My Respect? below.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Tommy Gunn has betrayed Rocky's trust, left him in the gutter despite Rocky's genuinely good intentions for him, has demanded a fight live on television, punched his Uncle Paulie, and very nearly beaten his father to death, but Rocky's son wants Rocky to take Tommy down because he took his room. Priorities, kid!
  • Advertisement:
  • Ascended Fanboy: Tommy has been a big fan of Rocky when he was younger. He took a trip to Philadelphia, with risks included, just so he could ask Rocky if he can be trained. He sure is gleeful when he accepts.
  • Attack! Attack! Attack!: Tommy Gunn's boxing style, mimicking Rocky's.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Duke wanted a sanctioned fight between Rocky and Union Cane. When he didn't get that, he tries to get one for Rocky and Tommy Gunn. He got it, but it wasn't sanctioned...
  • The Berserker: Tommy's first time sparring he literally beats the crap out of his sparring partner and his fighting style is extremly aggressive he also goes Unstoppable Rage during his fights. Rocky even compares his fighting style to a street fighter.
  • Big Bad: George Washington Duke, the manipulative, scheming manager who encourages Tommy Gunn to take on Rocky Balboa, since Union Cane never won the title from Rocky.
  • Boxing Lesson: Rocky's son learns how to box in order to deal with the school bully (though, ironically, not from Rocky himself).
  • Career-Ending Injury: Rocky's brain damage keeps him from getting back in the ring.
  • The Chessmaster: Duke has schemes on top of schemes, and there's always a fall back option when one of those schemes doesn't work out. Until his attempts to get Rocky and Tommy so angry at each other that they'll do anything to fight each other winds up in them getting into a street fight rather than a boxing match.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Of the fight promoter variety. George Washington Duke is a greedy boxing promoter, and is notably the only villain in the Rocky series (Creed included) that is genuinely hate-able and lacks any redeeming or sympathetic qualities.
  • Curbstomp Battle: Zigzagged with the street fight against Rocky and Tommy. Round One Rocky quickly knocks down Tommy. Round Two Tommy beats Rocky senseless. Only in Round Three do they brawl evenly.
  • Darker and Edgier: This was an attempt to recapture the grittier feel of the first film after the apogee of over-the-top excess that was Rocky IV, with less appealing results.
  • Determinator: Duke tries everything he can think of to get Rocky back into the ring. Get him to lose all his money? Check. Try to convince him that he doesn't have brain damage? Check. Steals away Tommy Gunn for a more elaborate scheme later? Check. Bribes Rocky and his family with birthday gifts before rubbing in his face that Tommy Gunn is now with him? Check. Finally has Tommy humiliated just so he can personally force Rocky out of retirement? Ccccheck!
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Tommy Gunn's reason for challenging Rocky at the end of the movie largely stems from this. He's upset about first only getting attention as the student of the famous champion Rocky, and then later for being derided for betraying Rocky and only being a "paper champion". Add on Tommy's Daddy Issues and Duke encouraging his anger at substitute father figure Rocky, and you have a time bomb waiting to go off.
  • Fallen-on-Hard-Times Job: Rocky's making ends meet at Mickey's old gym and Adrian is back to working at a pet store.
  • Flat Character: If you thought Ivan Drago was a flat character, just see Union Cane. The guy barely has any screen time or characteristics shown.
  • Freudian Excuse: Tommy definitely has Daddy issues, as he elaborates early on. He may have projected some of them onto Rocky by the end of the movie.
    "My dad was the first guy I punched out. Every time I go into the ring, I see him again."
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Tommy goes from a poor kid with daddy issues alone on the streets of an unfamiliar city to World Heavyweight Champion to a crazy aggressive punk willing to attack his former father figure, (and anybody that tries to help said father figure) in public.
  • Fur and Loathing: The only furs are worn by the corrupt manager and a woman who seemed to be a gold digger.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: Mentioned; despite being a trained boxer, Rocky was also a former mob-enforcer and knew how to act as a street fighter. Tommy Gunn's new manager even berates him for expecting to use the same skills in a street fight.
    Rocky (to Tommy): My ring's outside...
  • Historical In-Joke:
    • When trying to recruit Rocky to come out of retirement and fight current champ Union Cane, George Washington Duke (a Don King Captain Ersatz) mentions that he wants to set the fight in Tokyo. In real life, Mike Tyson's first defeat at the hands of Buster Douglas came in a bout promoted by Don King and took place in the Tokyo Dome a mere 10 months before the film opened.
    • This might be as well a smart reference to Muhammad Ali's fight against pro wrestler Antonio Inoki at the Tokyo Dome. Just like Inoki, Rocky also beats a world heavyweight champion by using non-boxing techniques (including a few literal pro wrestling moves) at the end of the movie.
  • Immediate Sequel: The film begins minutes after Rocky IV, with Rocky suffering the effects of Drago's blows. Though do note that while muddled, the story eventually works its way up to Christmas of 1990; it wouldn't be so noticeable if not for Rocky's son aging about five to ten years between films, despite them being ostensibly days apart.
  • It's Personal: After declining Tommy's challenges several times, Tommy crosses the line when he attacks Rocky's brother-in-law Paulie, which finally prompts Rocky to take on Tommy in a street fight.
  • Karma Houdini:
    • Duke's punishment for turning Tommy against Rocky and ruining Tommy's career is... to be punched by Rocky onto the front of a car. Though this feeling is somewhat softened by the fact that he has presumably also lost Tommy's trust and respect. Also Rocky and Tommy having the street fight at the end of the climax ruined Duke's chance of making money off a boxing match between the two which had been his primary motive through out the second half of the movie.
    • Rocky's crooked accountant (unseen in the movie) who squandered all his fortune on bad business deals, disappeared, and left him broke. It's mentioned that eight criminal acts were filed against him, but it is not seen if these had any effect.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Duke is willing to ruin the lives and careers of fighters by ignoring pesky issues like "health risks". At the end of the movie he gets a little taste of what fighters go through, and all his wealth and legal maneuvering didn't help him much. Doubly so if you believe the theory that he was responsible for Rocky losing his fortune, which is exactly what makes his threat to sue Rocky ineffective.
    Duke: Touch me and I'll sue.
    Rocky: *uppercuts Duke, launching him onto his car* Sue me for what?!
  • Lonely at the Top: This is the ultimate fate of Tommy Gunn. He's made it to the top, became world heavyweight champion, and got all the money he could have asked for, including a hot girl. Unfortunately for him, nobody really respects the guy, especially after he chose to dump and forget about Rocky Balboa (the man who trained him into the talented boxer he was), was criticized for not having a real challenge since his opponent got the title without a fight since Rocky lost it due to fighting an unsanctioned match against Drago, and he practically sold his soul to GW Duke, who was only using him to hopefully profit off of a match between him and Balboa, which Gunn himself destroyed any hope of that with a punch at Rocky's friend, Paulie. After the fight, he was disowned by GW Duke (who warned him that he's finished if he lost) is seen getting arrested after a humiliating defeat, and will likely lose it all over again.
  • Made of Iron: Paulie takes a blow to the head from the Heavyweight Champion of the World and shrugs it off like it was nothing.
  • Manipulative Bastard: G.W. Duke, who encourages Tommy Gunn to step out of Rocky's shadow for a more lucrative career, and then urges Tommy to take on Rocky himself when it is learned that Union Cane never defeated Rocky Balboa.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!:
    • Paulie seemed to have been tricked into signing power of attorney over to their accountant.
    • Rocky nearly tore his family apart thanks to his obsession with training and managing Tommy Gunn.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: George Washington Duke wanted Tommy Gunn to get Rocky out of retirement and into a fight so he can profit off Rocky's name. To do this he first seduced Tommy away from Rocky then stroked and fueled Tommy's resentments and anger issues towards Rocky until Tommy would do anything to fight Rocky. Tommy got so mad that he got into a street fight with Rocky, where Rocky had the advantage and Duke couldn't profit from it. Oh, and Tommy assaulted other people along the way too, leading to him getting arrested. So much for that plan, Duke.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: George Washington Duke, the film's true Big Bad, is one of boxing promoter Don King. He even says King's Catchphrase "Only In America".
  • Numbered Sequels: the last of the franchise to be numbered until Creed II, 28 years later.
  • Oh, Crap!: George Washington Duke pulls this towards the end:
    Duke: Touch me and I'll sue.
    Rocky smirks, then punches the lights out of Duke.
    Rocky: Sue me for what?
  • Old Master: Rocky, now Older and Wiser himself, attempts to be this to Tommy Gunn, but it doesn't go nearly as well through little fault of Rocky's. He gave his best effort, but the sport, and particularly the corruption at its top levels, had passed him by since he stepped out of the ring. On top of that Gunn didn't have the sense to realize that Rocky ,unlike George Washington Duke, sincerely had his best interests in mind.
  • Only in It for the Money: Duke doesn't care if one match with Rocky could possibly disable him, or even kill him. What matters to him is that he profits from the match, and he'll do anything to make that happen. Sometimes, he's so open about his greed and the pursuit of money that he sounds like a Card-Carrying Villain.
  • Paper Tiger: Union Crane becomes a top contender for the world championship before Rocky retires and became champion once Rocky was no longer in the way, so you'd think he'd be able to put up a fight. Tommy Gunn floors him in the first round after dominating him. (This could be a bonus intended for boxing fans, as Duke's real life counterpart Don King frequently used his influence to get his fighters titles and spots as contenders ahead of more deserving fighters.) The reporters lampshade this when they're deriding Tommy's achievements in the ring.
    "The guy's a paper champion!"
  • Passing the Torch: Rocky provides Tommy the same shorts Apollo gave him later in his career.
  • Punny Name: Tommy Gunn. Paulie even lampshaded it.
  • A Pupil of Mine, Until He Turned to Evil: Tommy starts the film pleading with Rocky to have Rocky train and teach him, eventually sells out and throws Rocky aside. He even refused to thank Balboa for his success at getting the title belt.
  • Pyrrhic Villainy: Tommy casting Rocky aside in favor of sleazy promoter George Washington Duke gets him fame, the heavyweight title, and presumably money, (although considering that the man Duke is an analogue of is absolutely notorious for cheating and ripping off his fighters, that last one probably shouldn't be automatically assumed) but Tommy's fame is short lived, because he betrayed Rocky. The press and fans alike turn on him telling him that he'll never be the champ that Rocky ever was, and getting arrested after losing to an aging Rocky in a street fight probably means that Tommy won't profit from his actions nearly as much as he expected to, if at all.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Seemed to be the mission statement during the production of the film. Of course Rocky's crappy defense and countless headshots would result in brain damage. Of course his lousy bum of a brother-in-law would screw things up if left in control of his savings. Of course his criminal record would come back and bite him as it prevents him from doing endorsements.
    • Rocky's inexperience as a trainer causes his relationship with Tommy to drift so far that Tommy ended up siding with a more experienced fight promoter in Duke to help get him a championship opportunity.
  • Revised Ending: The script originally ended with Rocky dying after the final fight. An alternate climax—not the originally-envisioned one—can be seen here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GH8bQ9rF1k4.
  • Revisiting the Roots: The film was an attempt at returning to the tone of the first two movies rather than that of the third and fourth installments.
  • Ripped from the Headlines:
    • Real life: Mike Tyson, a young delinquent from a broken home, shows boxing talent and is taken in by legendary trainer Cus D'Amato, who eventually goes so far to adopt Tyson. Tyson begins cutting a swath through professional boxing, gaining notice because of how quickly and brutally he knocks out his competition, but D'Amato dies before Tyson captures the heavyweight title. After D'Amato's death, sleazy and unprincipled promoter Don King gets Tyson to break with the management team D'Amato left behind to look after Tyson by convincing Tyson that he'd make more money with King and that Tyson's management team was stealing from him. (They weren't, they were investing for his retirement.) This begins leading Tyson down a road to ruin.
    • Rocky V: Tommy Gunn, a young delinquent from a broken home, seeks out legendary retired boxer Rocky Balboa, and eventually gets Rocky to be his trainer. Eventually, Tommy is taken in like a member of the family. Tommy soon gains media attention by cutting a swath through the heavyweight ranks with quick knockouts, but he also gains the attention of sleazy and unprincipled boxing promoter George Washington Duke. Tommy, frustrated that Rocky insists on progressing Tommy's career at a slow and steady pace rather than going for the title shot, is seduced away by Duke, who promises him a title shot and more money than Rocky could get him. This sets Tommy up to go down the wrong path.
    • Just compare these speeches from Cus D'Amato, Mike Tyson's trainer, and adoptive father, (link) and Rocky's flashback of Mickey from Rocky V. (Link)
  • The Scrappy: In-universe, the press and the crowds do not like Tommy Gunn, especially after he dumped Rocky for GW Duke.
  • Sequel Reset: All the wealth made by Rocky as a world famous heavyweight champion in the past sequels has been lost due to a crooked accountant and Rocky is left as poor as he was in the first movie.
  • Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome: Rocky Jr. (Robert) was nine in Rocky IV when Rocky went to Russia to fight Drago. When he and Adrian return home at the beginning of the film, his son is now in early adolescence. Child actor Rocky Krakoff was originally meant to play Rocky Jr. in early scenes and Sage would play him in the later ones (set in 1990), but when Krakoff proved unavailable, it was decided just to flat use Sage for the whole movie. While not especially convincing, Sage looks far more youthful and fresh-faced at the beginning of the movie than he does in later parts where he's older and harder.
  • The Starscream: Tommy Gunn, who is talked into a more lucrative career at the urging of George Washington Duke, who offers him a more lucrative career if Tommy makes G.W. Duke his manager, and gets furious when people say that he will never be half the champion that Rocky was.
  • Take That, Scrappy!: invoked Everyone in the audience was quite happy when Rocky takes Tommy Gunn out in a street fight.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: Tommy's natural approach is to simply brute force his way through fights, though he gets a bit more skilled after Rocky starts training and managing him.
  • Unstoppable Rage: The first time we see Tommy fight, he is shown as overly aggressive and give a sparring partner a nasty beating. Thanks to Rocky, he's managed to control it until the street fight scene where the press, GW Duke's speech to him, and Paulie calling him off all lead to him wanting to draw Rocky's blood.
  • Villainous BSoD: Duke's one humanizing moment in the whole thing is when the aged Rocky makes a comeback against his champ in the street, and while everyone else is cheering, he reacts with a stunned, "God-damn... only in America." For once, he sounds like he means it.
  • Villain Has a Point: Tommy should have listened to Duke when he warned that Rocky has more experience in street fighting than him.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Adrian called Rocky out on how his continuous attempts at reliving his career through Tommy has alienated his son from him.
  • Wrestler in All of Us: During his street fight with Tommy, Rocky lands a picture perfect drop toehold and a pair of German suplex-like takedowns.

Top

Example of:

/

Feedback