Rocky IV Reviews
Series veteran Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) comes out of retirement to take on the Soviet (played by Dolph Lundgren) in a typically camp US exhibition fight. Drago uses his powers to the max. and kills Creed in the process.
Heavyweight champion and Creed friend Rocky Balboa must take on Drago in an unsanctioned fight in the USSR on Dec. 25th! Balboa faces the arctic Russian conditions to train for the bout in Moscow in front of a partisan crowed and members of the Soviet politburo!
The training scenes are great but the final fight is a farce! The sound effects of each punch are worse than WWE. Balboa takes so much punishment from Drago throughout the fight he would be dead in reality.
Anyway as the fight wears on the partisan Moscow crowd start to warm to Balboa much to the annoyance of the Soviet high command. Drago becomes frustrated as Balboa starts to make some impact on the fight cutting Drago in the process and refusing to be defeated. Eventually Balboa somehow knocks Drago out and wins the fight.
In his victory address which is really corny and typically American, Balboa (Stallone) tells the crowd that they have changed, he has changed, everybody can change!
Some issues that annoyed me on watching the film. Why is Balboa's brother in law Pauley (Young) allowed to sit at press conferences and in the corner team. He is a useless peripheral character.
Creeds old trainer Duke doesnt age throughout the series including Rocky Balboa.
When watching the end credits it is revealed that the Russia scenes in reality were filmed in snowy British Columbia, Canada.
The film is relatively short for an action film so is a good time waster if you're bored. Not a bad entry. Certainly better than Rocky V. Stallone should have ended the series on a high here.
The soundtrack is excellent and has some excellent energized anthems throughout.
As a result of this strange storytelling choice, Rocky IV completely lacks the one thing that defines the franchise: the character moments and growth of the protagonist. This is the first time Rocky has really gone nowhere as a character. In the past, he's dealt with overcoming the odds and living up to his personal goals, living in a world he wasn't truly prepared for, and having to find his passion when it's lost, but despite a major plot point at the film's midpoint, Rocky IV lacks a similar theme. His only goal here is to defeat another seemingly unbeatable heavyweight opponent, and that's disappointing. If there's one thing that keeps this from being a complete flop for the series, it's the thing the series has always handled well: the final fight. Dolph Lundgren's Ivan Drago makes for a compelling opponent for Balboa, and seeing him endure round after round has that Rocky spirit that the rest of the film lacks.
BUT, I do think this is a much better film than III. Drago says barely anything, but is a million times more intimidating than frickin Clubber Lang (those feather earrings -_-). "If he dies - he dies" and "I must break you" are among the most bad ass lines ever uttered on screen.
And when he kills Apollo Creed, arguably the best actor in this series, I was genuinely affected - especially having already seen the incredible 2015 Creed film.
So f*ck it - Rocky IV is dumb fun, and - in my opinion - only the third worst in the series.
"YOU WILL LOSE !!!"
PS: I love Paulie's Robot, it was so CHEESE & this film is 33% montage!
Somewhere in the middle of the montages, the cold war scare, and this fucking robot that was gifted to a middle aged man, there's some actual drama.
I think about the scene with Apollo and Rocky. Rocky basically asks him why he is fighting Drago. Apollo says, "I'm a fighter, that's what I do. I fight" but Rocky is aware of his mortality. He rebukes something to the effect of "You aren't as good as you used to be. You need to find something else."
Basically you are an old dog and your old way of life is not sustainable. Rocky also is struggling with this realization. If you take out the weird robot in the beginning of the movie and just looked at this scene, you would probably think this was something more akin to the first 3 Rockies.
The biggest issue this movie has is that there is no second act. It has a clearly defined 1st act (robot and pauly / living in america / apollo dies) and it has a 3rd act (montages / Rocky fights with Drago). Where's the second act?
Second act would and should have been Rocky debating whether or not to take the fight. In the movie, he immediately, I mean IMMEDIATELY took the fight. Jump cut immediately. Why? Doesn't it seem like that was pretty abrupt?
Yes, a Russian did just kill his best friend. But he just had a conversation with this friend that fighting wasn't really for Rocky anymore. So what we had is that he immediately accepted the fight and we are transported to Russia 40 minutes in the movie that still have 50 minutes to go. What do you do? TRAIN. TRAIN. TRAIN.
2nd act could have consisted of: Rocky mulling the decision to fight / thoughtful montage if you wanted to keep that theme going / Drago could bait Rocky into fighting (you are puny weak American, you drink Mike's Hard Lemonade like girly man) / Tearful scene with Adrian about his decision to go and you must stay here faithful wife (which then would have been a moment when she just randomly shows up to Russia) / eventually makes a decision to fight (broadcast on television, big deal maybe / Drago smiles and Rocky has fallen for the trap).
But this is all conjecture. That robot thing fucking kills any drama. How the fuck can you take this movie seriously with that shit in there? What the fuck even was that?
Luckily, this movie still have all the Nationalism you want. It's good to watch every 4th of July, especially for "living in America" and for the two matches. Skip the montages, you know how it ends.