Rocky IV (1985)
Reviewed on 2011 January 17
Completely silly (not that that’s a bad thing) entry in the Rocky franchise, which I caught on On Demand one night when I was in a bad mood and wanted the catharsis of watching things blow up or seeing someone just beat the snot out of a villain for a few minutes. Apart from the gloves in the opening credits nothing ’splodes here, but the brawling vengeance match makes up for that.
Rocky Balboa (Stallone) is alarmed when his friend Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) wants to take on the new kid in the classroom. The Soviet Union unveils their new toy, Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren), who was apparently kept in a cave in Siberia and fed bowls of steroids until he could chew his way out. Drago just says pull-my-string stuff like “I must break you” and other threatening simple phrases; his wife Ludmilla (Brigitte Nielsen) is a chatterbox assuring us that a fight with Drago will be a goodwill match heralding the Soviet Union’s entry into the world of boxing. Apollo Creed takes up the challenge and the match, set in ’80s greed-soaked Vegas, goes horribly wrong. Rocky decides to take on Drago on his turf, at Christmas no less.
I think they could have subtitled this “The Montage”. There’s a lot of Stallone pouting, thinking, and flash-backing here, but then we see the training and things get moving again. Dolph doesn’t say much here but he’s quite interesting to look at, from a gym-rat viewpoint alone. When he’s backlit before entering the ring for the final match check out the V silhouette; I can only imagine how hard that was to get and I’m impressed by the fact that Dolph did it. There’s lots of turgid ’80s power-ballads and excess too.
Two chocolate morsels (in red foil, of course). Ridiculous as it is, you can’t help but love it.