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Fourth instalment in the 'Rocky' saga. Rocky (Sylvester Stallone) heads to the Soviet Union after Russian boxer Drago (Dolph Lundgren) beats his friend and trainer Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) to death in the ring. However, will the Italian Stallion be able to vanquish a fighter whose punches can deliver a one tonne-per-square inch impact?
Wow! This is a trully gripping film. My favourite of the Rocky films. Yes he does get smacked about a bit (apparently sometimes a lot of the punches were connecting on Stallone) as Rocky always does. But its not quite as painful to watch as Rocky I and Rocky II.
Rocky feels compelled to get into the ring after his friend dies after being horrifying mauled in the ring by a Russian fighter - Drago. There's some mumbo jumbo about US and USSR cold war stuff, but that very much takes a backseat to the intense training scenes and nail-biting final fight between Rocky and Drago.
Just looking at the the size and height of Drago [Lundgren] who is supposedly computer-trained, steroid-enhanced muscle that "destroys" what he touches and comparing to Stallone [Rocky] ranks it up a notch.
There is some amazing 80's music from Survivor for the "actors" to really go full out on their training to. These guys are just going for it with barbells, speedballs, rope, skipping ropes, tracks, elevated treadmills, climbing machines, sparring, lifting wagons, wood chopping, frozen river fording, mountain climbing, crazy looking "no pain... no pain..." isometrics training and wagon wheel fitting. The actors really are althetes but still manage to turn in a competent performance (so don't be put off!).
If you look at the cover with Stallone squaring up to Lundgren you know this is going to be one hard fought battle. Really, there is no way Rocky should win and Burt Young turns in an heart felt peformance as his corner man and injects that bit of a common man feel which grounds the training and final fight scenes well.
If you haven't seen this film I cannot recommend it enough. If you have seen it why not snap it up on widescreen and Dolby 5.1 stereo.... That's why I bought it.Read more ›
i dint wanna watch this film being a girl but as soon it came on i was gripped. this is without a doubt a great film to watch who ever you are, james brown puts on a good show that show that seems to irritate ivan drago so much so that he feels the need to punch apollo creed to death (literally). When asked what he thinks of this he chillingly responds "if he dies he dies" when i watched this part of this movie my heart goes out to james brown and apollos family (let it be noted that james brown does not make a 2nd appearance at the match between drago and rocky) may be this is what keeps rocky alive. this film should be watched whilst wearing boxing gloves as you feel the need to start punching people around you.
ROCKY IV, billed as East meets West, is a pretty good action film from the 1980s. That doesn't mean it's a good Rocky movie as far as dramatic or Oscar worthy issues go, but it is one of those films you think of when you think of classic 1980s movies.
This time around, Rocky must fight Ivan Drago, a fighter from the USSR. Not only that, he must fight Drago in Russia itself for the climactic fight.
Ivan Drago comes to fight for the pride of Russia. He has an intense training schedule, and his charecteriation is over-the-top, catoonish, more fantasy than reality. Drago is unstoppable it appears. Apollo fights him (in attempts to regain something of a career) and is killed. So when Rocky decides to fight him, he must fight for not only his own national pride, but for his life and the honour of his friend as well.
The film very much focuses the differing contrast between Russia and America. Prime examples of this is the opening sequences for the two main fights that occur in the film.
The first fight features Apollo Creed, reprised again by Carl Weathers, against Drago. Now Creed is pretty desperate to get back into the spotlight, and he takes an exhibition match against Drago to help propel his fighting career and to get his name out there again among the fans. To start the fight, Drago is alone on the stage in an underground area. The stage is then raised up from the lower pit into the ground floor of the arena. Then James Brown (the king of soul) begins to sing an over-the-top number called "Living in America", and Apollo Creed enters the arena from high above. The whole sequence is an exercise in how gaudy and excessive Americans can get.... There are backup singers, dancers, big lights, and Apollo in his rather tacky red, white, and blue themed suit with a large hat. The whole sequence leaves one with a bad taste of the worst of Las Vegas. Very tacky.
Now, contrast that too the fight in Russia, where every one is reserved, and the fight is before Russian national leaders who are in attendance, as wella s the general crowd. A large billboard or flag is unfurled with Drago's image, but everyone is respectiful. It's a totally different atmosphere.
The second is the training. Drago is treated like a machine. All of his training is closely monitored via machinery and state-of-the-art monitoring equipment. Rocky, on the other hand, trains naturally in the Russian mountains. The training montage in this film is probably my favorite of the six Rocky films, as Drago's training is just so over the top compared to Rocky's. Then we get the immortal scene in which Rocky climbs a mountain ridge, and in an impressive panoramic shot of him high up on this mountain change he yells "DRAGO!!!!!", like he's ready to fight right then and there.
I can understand why people who are fans of the first two films (which are quite similar enough to be regard as two halves, almost) express disappointment in ROCKY III and IV. III is classic 1980s cheese, especially the fight with "Thunderlips" Hulk Hogan. Still, there is some dramatic tension in III (most of these scenes, tellingly enough, involve Burgess Meredith as Mickey).
IV, however, is so far removed from the gritty street drama of the first two films as to be unrecognizable. The characters are not nearly as narrowly defined as they are here. There's a lot of character and heart in ROCKY. In ROCKY IV, Stallone changes Rocky from being a very real, good hearted guy to being little more than the latest action movie hero. The characterization isn't nearly as strong in this movie as in the other Rocky films, and they're much more simplified. It also has the whole aging question where Rocky questions if he's too old to fight (strangely enough this question has been debated by Rocky since the very first film). And the robot that Paulie gets is really over the top. Who the hell wrote that into the script, Stallone?
The worst part about ROCKY IV is the very end. Even though Drago is apparently unstoppable, a superhuman god, and even killed Apollo pretty easily, somehow he beats the hell out of Rocky but Rocky still comes out victorious.
And then we get to the most heinous, ridiculous moment in Stallone's career. The "We can change" speech.
Now remember, ROCKY IV came out in 1985, when Russina/US relationships were at a breaking point. There was trouble on the international front. And then we get this piece of tripe.
During the course of the fight, the Russian people go from actively hostile toward Rocky to chanting his name. Rather ridiculous, given the political climate of the time, but whatever. Then the Russian leaders give Rocky a standing ovation. Then we get to the most sentimental tripe Stallone ever had the bad graces to write.
Basically, Rocky says that he's changed, and so did the Russians in their attitude toward him. Then, in one big feel good moment, he yells "We can all change!" Yeah, like a single fight between Rocky and Drago will change international politics forever.
As gaudy and tacky as the Las Vegas intro of Apollo Creed is in comparison to the Russian fight at the end of the movie, the same analogy could be said of ROCKY IV in comparison to ROCKY. ROCKY deserves an Oscar. ROCKY IV is nothing but an action flick with cartoon fighters.
That being said, don't think I don't like the movie. It's a great movie. Lots of fun, very 1980s. Watching it just takes you back to earlier times in your life. It's not nearly dramatically compelling or nearly good as the original ROCKY. But then again, it doesn't have to be. It's a much different film from the first. It can get cheesy at times, but it's one of those essential movies anyone who grew up in the 1980s must see.Read more ›
Rocky IV has been dismissed as both an exercise in cold war, pro-American propaganda and an aesthetically impoversished film. I disagree on both counts. In terms of its propaganda status, the film's ideological standpoint is far from straightforwardly pro-American. The fight takes place in Russia because Drago has received death threats whilst staying in the USA. So much for the land of the free! Despite the flag coloured boxing gloves at the film's intro, and Apollo's patriotic stance towards his ill-fated fight with Drago, Rocky's approach to the fight is couched in individualistic, nation-free terms. For him it seems to be more about avenging and honouring a friend's memory rather than regaining injured national pride. But then again Rocky's motivation for the fight is presented as itself highly ambiguous. At the start there is a clash of values as Apollo has to persuade Rocky to back him in his fight with the Ruissian. Apollo asserts his warrior-like 'killer instinct' by stating that 'you can't change what you really are'. This is against Rocky's assertion that 'everybody changes at some time', that both him and Apollo are slowly losing their fighting skills and killer instincts, that they are 'changing into regular people'. Rocky feels a duty to avenge a fight that he never supported in the first place. He feels guilty for obeying Apollo's wishes and refusing to throw in the towel 'no matter what'. In taking the fight with the Russian Rocky abandons his own values and his world title (and, at least temporarily, his family)in order to stand up for Apollo's beliefs that he found unconvincing anyway. Rocky is less a hero with a goal to achieve than someone with a dilemma to live through.... Achieving his goal and beating Drago appears at least in the middle of the film to mean very little, as Adrienne tells him, 'even if you win, what have you won, Apollo's still gone'. This ambiguous motivation is indeed one of the qualities that critics claim belongs to European art cinema. This may also be to some extent true of the use of montage and parallel editing in the training sequences too. Indeed there may be the influence of the French new wave in the use of jump cuts and the classical scoring being replaced with a pulsating rock soundtrack. I would not want to suggest that Rocky 4 is an art movie. I merely want to point out that if it is dismissed as mere popular culture, it is easy to reverse this argument and make a case for it as 'high culture'. For me, Rocky 4 is a fabulous movie because it offers a very visceral viewing experience. On its firat release, it was accused of being like a 90 minute session of MTV. This is not necessarily a bad thing. I see the film as emblematic of an aesthetic style that reached fruition from the 1960s through to the 1980s: the narrativisation of the rock music aesthetic. Finally, for me the movie works because I still find it emotionally engaging on repeat viewings. Despite knowing that Rocky wins (an inevitability even on first viewing) I am still drawn into the suspense of the fight build up, of Adrienne's 'you can't win' speech, and shed a tear at Paulie telling Rocky how he wishes he could be more like him, and at Rocky's speech after the fight. In that sense it may be akin to the 'women's pictures' and Sirkian melodramas, whose emotional power was also dismissed as mindless, 'effeminate' pop culture. If Rocky IV is to be attacked maybe it ought not to be because of its style, its status as a money-grabbing sequel, or because it is supposed to be propaganda. I think it is important to rethink the criteria by which supposedly high-brow critics judge movies. Rocky 4 works because I find it emotionally engaging and stylistically compelling: hence the 5 stars. But don't trust my judgment because what works for me will not work for everybody. I'm sure there are many reasons why audiences hate this movie: but let's actually hear them, rather than the usual cliched and unsubstantiated complaints from elitist film critics!Read more ›