Why Five? From a narrative standpoint, it’s hard to say, really. While the first four Rocky movies had their bumpy spots, they were all feel-good stories about faith and redemption — the increasingly over-the-top saga of a guy from the streets who fought his way to the top — while the fifth installment managed to be darker and more depressing while also finding a way to be cheesier. It really all boiled down to money; as Sylvester Stallone put it a few years ago when asked about Rocky V, “I’m greedy, what can I tell you?”
Franchise Changes: Rocky V picks up at the end of Rocky IV, with the Italian Stallion going from defeating the Soviet champ, Ivan Drago, to discovering he has brain damage — and that his accountant has bankrupted him. Rocky’s new shot at redemption turns out to be managing a younger boxer (Tommy Morrison), but their relationship is complicated by the advances of a Don King-esque promoter (Richard Gant), and the whole thing culminates in a poorly staged street brawl.
The End? For a long time, it seemed that way, but to Stallone’s credit, Rocky V nagged at him for years, until he finally gave his most famous character the sendoff he deserved with 2006’s warmly received Rocky Balboa.