To some people, the Rocky movies are likely just a testosterone filled series of battles featuring a roided-up Russian, an absurdly pissed off Mr. T, and a red white and blue Carl Weathers pounding the snot out of Sylvester Stallone. Granted, some of the sequels varied in quality (we’re looking at you Rocky V) however, the series as a whole has grown to be quite a phenomenon. A sweaty, bloody, chicken chasing, meat pounding, catchphrase spewing, million dollar phenomenon. In fact, the original 1976 film is highly regarded for eating lightning, crapping thunder and winning three damn Academy Awards.
At any rate, we here at Weirdworm figured it would be interesting to discuss some of the peculiar continuity issues within the six films. Fortunately for us, consistency wasn’t exactly the strongest point as the series unfolded over the course of thirty plus years.
Paulie’s Instant Weight Loss in Rocky II
Throughout all of the Rocky flicks, the character of Paulie (as played by Burt Young) entertained the hell out of us with his “f**k you” attitude and his sleazy one-liners. He was like that shady uncle that most everyone has, the one that is sort of cool to hang out with, but who will sell your family dog for beer money.
Paulie was never much to look at but his unhealthy appearance fit his sloppy, perpetually pissed character like a glove. Throughout almost all of the Rocky films Paulie remained appropriately pudgy. However, Rocky II was the odd exception. In that particular flick Paulie suddenly appeared trim and fit. Check out the difference below...
The fact that he miraculously dropped a ton of flab from the end of the previous movie was overlooked in the opening of the sequel. Ideally, he should have appeared the same since Rocky II picked up immediately where the last one left off. Well apparently Burt Young was too damn good to wear a fat suit just for the sake of “consistency”. To be fair, in the film they did briefly acknowledge his weight loss (later in the movie a casual comment was made about him looking slimmer). Thankfully, by the time Rocky III rolled around, Paulie was back to his normal fat-a** self, boozing it up and raising hell for the Balboa family.
Rocky’s Varying Intelligence
Rocky Balboa, as initially played by Stallone in the first and second movies, clearly wasn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer. But his slow and “punchy” quality fit his character and made him all the more endearing. In Rocky II, we saw him try and fail miserably at attaining desk jobs and shooting a simple tv commercial (he was far from hooked on phonics). Also, his resume apparently consisted of boxing, boxing, boxing, boxing and chasing down local lowlifes for debt.
Later we saw his wife Adrian patiently helping him with his reading skills. Turns out, she must have been one hell of a teacher. During a montage in part III, Rocky somehow filmed numerous commercials, effortlessly performed in various TV appearances and even seemed to be a relatively competent businessman. It was as if he grew a brain between movies. Furthermore, in Rocky IV he was even the initial voice of reason when his close friend Apollo decided to go out and square off against Ivan Drago.
Interestingly, parts V and VI saw Rocky return to his roots and become “punchy” again. In short, Rocky’s intelligence inexplicably varied depending on the movies. Perhaps another way to look at it is that Apollo Creed knocked some sense into him, but then Ivan Drago knocked it back out.
Forgotten Injury Plots
Throughout the six movies, Rocky took many a beating and suffered many injuries. In Rocky II, more than half of the movie was spent dealing with the fact that a rematch against Apollo Creed could have potentially led to “permanent blindness”. This was due to a detached retina from his first fight. Spoiler alert - Rocky fought in the rematch anyway, won the heavyweight title and we never again heard about his horrible eye injury in any of the sequels. A similar situation occurred in the sixth film, when an aging Rocky was surprisingly given a clean bill of health and the go ahead to fight. However, in the previous film after returning from his battle in Russia, Rocky’s doctors diagnosed him with brain damage and he was forced to retire. Nothing about that critical plot point was remotely mentioned in the sequel. Stallone attempted to comment on that specific issue in the following quote…
"When Rocky was diagnosed with brain damage, it must be noted that many athletes have a form of brain damage including football players, soccer players, and other individuals in contact sports such as rugby, etc. Rocky never went for a second opinion and yielded to his wife's wishes to stop. So with the advent of new research techniques into brain damage, Rocky was found to be normal among fighters, and he was suffering the results of a severe concussion. By today's standards Rocky Balboa would be given a clean bill of health for fighters."So you see it all makes sense! We think.