Thirty years after Sylvester Stallone first introduced the underdog backroom brawler from Philadelphia in the Oscar-winning ROCKY, Rocky Balboa returns for one last dance. Speculation as to whether Balboa, in his prime, would have been able to defeat lacklustre champ Mason The Line Dixon spurs Dixons management to set up an exhibition fight between the two. That Balboa is in his 50s and wouldnt be sanctioned to fight anyone, let alone a man 30 years his junior and in the prime of life, must be left up to the viewers ability to suspend disbelief. To its credit, however, the movie addresses at every turn the insanity of a man approaching 60 getting back into a boxing ring, and Balboas impassioned explanation of his motivations is just believable enough to give all other improbabilities a free pass. The film is very much a love letter to Philadelphia, and Stallone, who wrote and directed the movie, shoots everything with an unflinching eye that humanises the mean streets of the City of Brotherly Love and evokes the gritty dignity of the original film. While Burt Youngs cantankerous Paulie and Tony Burtons Duke both return, Talia Shire, sadly, does not reprise her role as the beloved Adrian. Its revealed early in the film that Adrian has died of cancer, and its the pain of that tragedy that ultimately fuels Rocky. Boxing as a metaphor for life is certainly nothing new, but Stallone makes a legitimate contribution to the tradition with ROCKY BALBOA. Life hits harder than any man can, and ones ability to keep getting up until the final bell rings is the true measure of self.