Plot Holes in Rocky III

Last year, I pointed out some plot holes in the movie Ghostbusters.  Today, I’ll take a look at another one of my favorite movies: Rocky III.

While not the best in the series (I’ll give the edge to the original), Rocky III is my favorite of the series.

It has everything: A bad guy turning good, a surprising death, Hulk Hogan, Mr. T, a Jewish funeral, closeup shots of mens’ crotches, and an awkward man hug.

And yet, there are a few plot holes or inconsistencies throughout the movie.  Some of these relate to events in other movies from the series, so you might argue that I was nitpicking a little.  But I felt that the characters and events should have some continuity from movie to movie.  (Here is where you might mention that Rocky’s son ages 10 years while he was away in the Soviet Union in Rocky V.  But really,  that movie has its own set of problems)

The move starts out with a replay from Rocky II where Rocky barely defeats Apollo Creed for the title.  He only won because both men were knocked down, and he was able to get to his feet at the count of 9.

We know that Apollo was a proud champion.  And yet, after losing the title in such a fluky manner, he never asks for a rematch?  In Rocky II, Apollo was so angry that he didn’t decisively beat Rocky in the first match that he goads him into a rematch.  But after losing the title, he doesn’t try to get it back?  This doesn’t fit in with Apollo’s character at all.

I can't imagine that Apollo would have gracefully retired.

I can’t imagine that Apollo would have gracefully retired.

Is it possible that Apollo wanted the rematch, but Rocky wouldn’t agree to it?  After all, before Rocky’s fight against Clubber Lang, Mickey revealed that he had been ducking him because he didn’t think Rocky could win.  So were they avoiding Apollo too?

I’m guessing no, because Apollo wasn’t the type to suffer that kind of thing quietly.  He would have called a press conference to announce that Rocky wouldn’t give him his rematch.  He would have constantly hounded Rocky about it.  And he certainly wouldn’t have gone on to become his trainer and friend.

Maybe Rocky just didn’t believe in offering rematches.  Unless they just didn’t show it, Rocky never gave Clubber a rematch either.  He simply retired from boxing after facing Ivan Drago.

I realize that in Rocky V his health was poor, but considering he was pretty much broke, there’s almost no way he wouldn’t have agreed to another fight.  Wouldn’t Balboa-Lang III have been one of the biggest drawing fights of all time?  He could have pretty much mailed it in, collected the big payday, and left his family financially secure.

Balboa-Lang III would have been a huge money maker.

Balboa-Lang III would have been a huge money maker.

Another plot inconsistency comes after Rocky defeats Apollo.  He then goes on a lengthy championship run leading to his becoming a celebrity.

We see that he films a few commercials.  Which would be fine, except in Rocky II, a key plot point was that Rocky was too stupid to learn his lines and act in commercials.  I guess he somehow got a lot smarter between movies?

Actually, Rocky’s intelligence seems to waver a lot depending on the movie.  In II and V, he was portrayed as being a bit punchy if not outright stupid.  Yet in other movies, he comes off as having a subtlely high intelligence.

While not a plot hole, there was something else quite surprising in this movie.  Right before Rocky’s fight with Clubber Lang, his trainer Mickey has a heart attack and dies.  And Mickey has a Jewish funeral!  Mickey was Jewish???  I think everyone assumed that he was Irish.

I guess there are a lot of unexpectedly Jewish Mickeys

I guess there are a lot of unexpectedly Jewish Mickeys

The most prominent plot inconsistency involves the climatic fight against Clubber Lang.  The focus of the movie was that Apollo trained Rocky to take down Lang.  Apollo said that Rocky would need to change up his style of fighting since up until this point, Rocky was just a brawling style fighter who didn’t rely on much speed or quickness.  And that approach led to his defeat in the first fight against Lang.

Naturally, you’d think that after spending all this time learning a new fighting style, that  would carry Rocky to victory, right?  Wrong.

While the different style puts Clubber off guard for a while, eventually he catches on and starts to win the fight.  So instead of continuing with his new style, Rocky decides to let Clubber beat on him until he tried himself out, and then Rocky struck back.  So basically, Rocky abandoned everything his new trainer taught him, went back to his old style which didn’t work before, but this time, it was somehow more successful.

While you might argue that changing his fighting style wasn’t as important as helping Rocky regain “the eye of the tiger” you have to wonder why Apollo went to all the trouble of teaching him a new style when Rocky was just going to say “screw it, I’ll just go back to what I did before.”

Oh well.  Despite all of the flaws, this is still a great movie.

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8 Responses to Plot Holes in Rocky III

  1. Adam says:

    Rocky didn’t necessarily abandon his old style, nor did he go back to his own style. His main problem the first fight was the he didn’t take training seriously at all. In the middle of the fight he doesn’t go back to his old style, he just goes to Ali’s Rope-a-dope, knowing Clubber has no endurance

  2. While not the best in the series (I’ll give the edge to the original), Rocky III is my favorite of the series. It has everything: A bad guy turning good, a surprising death, Hulk Hogan, Mr. T, a Jewish funeral, closeup shots of mens’ crotches, and an awkward man hug.

    LOL!!!

    I just liveblogged IV and noted how the “friendly fire” rematch at the end of III was so traumatic it caused Rocky to pull a “Han Solo” and gain 20 lbs, a new hair cut and time warp three years in the future (based on the technology and hairstyles) all on the way home! If we’re to believe that the events of IV take place immediately after the friendly fire thing in IIM, which is what the writing suggests happens.

    awful Rocky jr: What happened to that eye?

  3. Pingback: The Cutter (and his iPod) Write a Guest Blog – Hilarity Ensues? | Stuphblog

  4. ALEX says:

    AJAJAJJA PRETTY GOOD , I THINK REGARDING THE 2ND FIGHT ROCKY VS CLUBBER , ROCKY DID EXACTLY WHAT ALI DID WITH FOREMAN TIRE HIM UP TO ATACK , EVERYBODY KNOWS THE MAIN PROBLEM WITH LANG WAS HIS CARDIO , AND IS NOT THAT ROCKY “ABANDON” HIS OLD STYLE , BUT HE MIXED UP WITH WHAT CREED TEACH HIM , IF YOU THINK APOLLO DIDNT HAVE WHAT ROCKY HAS A STRONG JAW AND THE ABILITY TO TAKE A BITTING , IF YOU THINK IN ROCKY IV , ROCKY DIDN’T FIGHT DRAGO LIKE HE DID WITH LANG IT WAS A FIGHT OF WILL NO TECHNIC ONLY HEART THAT WAS WHAT MADE ROCKY WHO HE WAS. THAT’S WHY HE BEAT APOLLO , LANG AND DRAGO BECAUSE OF HIS HEART AND WILL , TO WIN , HOWEVER , I ALWAYS WONDERING WHAT HAPPEN WITH LANG AFTER HIS LOSS , DID HE RETIRED?? HE WAS ONLY 23 YEARS OLD IF IM NOT MISTAKE OR SOME LIKE THAT , TOO YOUNG I COULD RESTART HIS RUN FOR THE BELT GETTING BACK STRONGER , AND YEAH I AGREE APOLLO WAS THE BEST OF ALL ,, HE LOST BECAUSE OF HIS PROUD AND COCKYNESS , , JUST MY OPINION!!

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  7. yitzi says:

    Judaism is a religion, and Irish is a nationality, someone could be both.

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