Irwin Winkler Says "Rocky Balboa" Works

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"Home of the Brave" director Irwin Winkler, who produced all of the Rocky movies, made a pretty convincing sales pitch for this holiday's Rocky Balboa. Though it may seem like a last gasp for an aging action star, Winkler promises a worthwhile film experience.

"It's basically Rocky 30 years later," said Winkler. "Now he's 30 years older. His life has changed dramatically. He's lost his wife, he's alienated from his son, he doesn't have any friends and basically he still feels he has something to give. Those of us that are over 15 probably feel we still have a lot to give and a lot of people won't quite accept that. That's what the story's about, is somebody who really feels he's got something to give, a lot to give. And he gets an opportunity to do it. It has the same sense of family and underdog that the original had."


Sly Stallone dukes it out with pro boxer Antonio Tarver in "Rocky Balboa"


This is not just a money man hyping his wares. Winkler admitted that he shared many of our preconceptions. "I was very skeptical myself by the way. I was skeptical for 18 years when Stallone wanted to make another Rocky and I kept saying, 'No, no, we'll be laughed at. People are going to be very cynical about it. He finally wrote a script that I thought was really, really terrific."

Being self-critical about some of his own sequels, Winkler can tell that Rocky Balboa has more to offer. "Usually when you have a sequel, the character always stays the same and that's true basically of Rocky III, IV and V. He didn't really change. When James Bond gets old, you get rid of him and bring a new James Bond in. Can't do that with Rocky because Stallone is so identified with Rocky."

"Rocky Balboa" opens December 22 and is written, directed by and stars Sylvester Stallone.

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