The problem with Rocky V is the ending.
Rocky IV was iconic when I was young, and for decades I’ve heard what a let-down Rocky V was. I finally got around to watching it tonight (while cleaning the kitchen, lest you think I’m a couch potato or something). It actually wasn’t bad, and I think the promo summary has done it harm all these years by emphasizing the “Rocky the streetfighter” angle, which really only came in at the end. Had the movie ended better, it could have been iconic, in its way, back in 1990.[SPOILER ALERT!] I don’t know what possessed the people who made the movie to think that Rocky had to win an actual fight as the closing scene. Early in the movie, the punk kid he taught to fight said that he always felt like he was hitting his father when he was in the ring. That was the perfect setup for Rocky not to fight him at the end, thus learning from his touchy relationship with his own son.
As it is, the ending feels so tacked on that one suspects some know-nothing suit must have insisted that it end with a fight scene. That would have made Rocky Balboa (which was Rocky VI) fit better in the series, too, as the proof that the champ could still hold his own, if it mattered.