Rocky IV

After Rocky III was released in 1982, Sylvester Stallone worked in notable films such “First Blood” the first installment of the Rambo series which came out around the same time as Rocky III, Staying Alive, (directed only) a sequel to Saturday Night Fever, unlike the original, it was critically panned & last but not least, working with Dolly Parton in the musical comedy, Rhinestone which earned him a Razzie Award for “Worst Actor.” Although he each film he worked on (minus First Blood) ended as a stinker, Sly was one of the highest paid actors of The 80’s and he remains as one of Hollywood’s most identified A-List stars.

Sly worked on a script based on his real life experiences as one the highest paid actors of The 80’s and the general public’s attitude towards his filmography.

Rocky IV was released in 1985. (same year Rambo: First Blood II came out) Unlike the first three films, the fourth entry received mixed reviews from critics. Guys & gals I’m totally not making this up, Rocky IV won five Razzies for “Worst Actor,” (Sly Stallone) “Worsting Director,” Sly duh) “Worst Supporting Actress,” (Brigitte Nielsen) “Worst New Star,” (Brigitte duh) & “Worst Musical Score.” In the words of the late Chris Farley in Tommy Boy, “HOLY SCHNIKES!”

With the anticipated sequel to Creed coming out during Thanksgiving week, I have decided to look back at each installment of the Rocky franchise to prepare for the eighth film. Dolph Lundgren will reprise his role as Ivan Drago. This time, his son will fight Rocky’s protege, Adonis Creed.

I’ll have you know that the following review contains one big fat SPOILER, due to around the fact the seventh installment of Rocky mentioned a main character’s death. If you’ve never ever ever seen Rocky IV, read at your very own risk.

Victory & Defeat Aspects

Victory: Sylvester Stallone reprises his role as The Italian Stallion. He did an outstanding job for his performance. Besides headlining the series, he wrote the script and directed the fourth installment.

Returning Cast Members from previous entries including Carl Weathers, Talia Shire & Bury Young all did a great job for their respective performances.

Dolph Lundgren did a decent job for his portrayal as Ivan Drago.

The best line is arguably Drago’s “I must break you.” I’m giving this line Bonus Points for predating Bane’s “I will break you.”

Cinematography looked ok without camera issues.

Similar to Clubber Lang, Drago is a possible inspiration for Batman foe, Bane. Both Drago & Bane inject a special drug to make themselves stronger in an attempt to defeat the hero. Maybe Christopher & Jonathan Nolan are fans of the Rocky series by incorporating Clubber Lang & Drago as inspirations for Tom Hardy’s portrayal as Bane in The Dark Knight Rises.

Paulie’s birthday present” cracked me up. Nostalgia Critic/Doug Walker, if you’re reading this article, take a chill pill, it was intended to be a funny moment.

Apollo’s fatal flaw is both his patriotism & pride.

The fourth film reflects Sly’s career choices by appearing in stickers as critics and movie goers can no longer take him seriously as a gifted actor.

It’s very difficult to say now that we all know about Creed’s shocking death is mentioned in Creed and its upcoming sequel. As a result of training with Apollo to fight Clubber Lang from the third entry’s storyline, Rocky’s Character Development fleshes out his friendship with Apollo. This time he’s willing to take a risk to avenge his best friend’s death.

Late singer, James Brown makes a small appearance singing “Living In America.” To put the cherry on top he shouts, “I FEEL GOOD!” A reference to his song.

Despite a training montage or two lookin’ like an old MTV music video, it looked pretty cool to see Rocky & Ivan prepping up for their upcoming match.

The song, “Hearts On Fire” is perhaps the best training song in the franchise. I’m giving this an Extra Point. If I feel like working out, I’ll always play this song first or writing a very long review/editorial to get in the mood.

Near the end of the film, Rocky delivers a powerful speech. Unlike Rose Tico from Star Wars: The Last Jedi, it’s not actually shoving social commentary in your face.

Rocky IV’s storyline is connected to Creed II.

Defeat: Survivor’s “Eye Of The Tiger” is played during a recap of Rocky III. As a reminder, I hate that song because every time the song is played in a movie or TV show, it irritates me like a merry go round moving in a constant loop. I’ll give it a pass, because Eye Of The Tiger was still relevant at the time.

I don’t mean no disrespect to The Godfather Of Soul, there’s a dance number resembling a music video with Apollo dancing towards the ring. To quote Shrek, James Brown’s “Living In America” flows “FOR FIVE MINUTES!” EGADS! This predates pointless dance numbers from Harry Potter & The Goblet Of Fire, Spider-Man 3 & Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer! I have no choice but to Double Down this con. Random Dance Numbers are one of the worst movie cliches I dislike!

Freeze-Frames are often hokey. I tend to make fun of this cliche by pretending to act like a narrator from any television crime drama.

The tone for the film unintentionally felt silly. Rather than taking the story seriously. Did Sly purposely make the fourth film to reflect Staying Alive & Rhinestone as subtle metaphors?

Product Placement featuring brands such as JVC, Sports Illustrated, Panasonic, Sony, Newsweek, Rolling Stone Magazine & Adidas. I will give this flaw a pass, because anything sports related sponsors brands just like they do in real life.

The Final Verdict: B-

Rocky IV is an average entry to the series. It’s not really a bad film. It has redeeming qualities to keep you entertained. If you’re eager to see Creed II, I recommend the fourth film along with the rest of the Rocky films.

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