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.
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.
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.
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.