Rocky IV (1985)
September 21, 2014 10:34 AM - Subscribe

After iron man Drago, a highly intimidating 6-foot-5, 261-pound Soviet athlete, literally destroys Apollo Creed in an exhibition match, Rocky comes to the heart of Russia for 15 pile-driving boxing rounds of revenge.

If Rocky III was where the franchise "shredded any last vestige of realism or nuance for superheroism and uplift" then Rocky IV goes beyond that to put Rocky in the middle of the Cold War while "every trace of rationality goes out the window."

The Nostalgia Critic calls it the "biggest and the weirdest of the Rocky sequels".

The Deeper Meaning of Rocky IV tries to dig beyond the surface of the film:
The fictitious story of Rocky IV is just one of many examples that sports represent more than athletes, losses, and victories; sports can teach and communicate powerful messages. Rocky, in this movie, was a symbol of change. Culminating in his powerful speech, Rocky communicates that despite years of Cold War antagonism, competition, and bloodshed, it is still possible to make amends and to change.
Continuing a theme from Rocky III: Stallone reveals that a co-star - in this case, Dolph Lundgren, put him in the hospital during filming

Roger Ebert's Review

You Will Lose: Apollo Vs. Drago
Heart's On Fire: The Training Montage
I Must Break You:Rocky Vs. Drago
posted by nubs (9 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

Yes he did. The whole thing kinda feels like a montage of music videos, doesn't it?
posted by nubs at 6:22 PM on September 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

posted by Chrysostom at 6:35 PM on September 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

I watched this recently as part of a first-time-viewing of all the Rocky films in a row. I was struck by how much the series changed, especially after Part 2. The first two films were an intricate character study of a flawed but inspirational everyman. Part 3 changed the tone to action/sports flick. And this one, part 4, continued that, with a healthy dose of cold war propoganda.

I especially loved how SPOILERS! Drago told the Russian military guys to basically fuck off at the end and they were all like "yeah, we deserve that." In reality, Drago would be spending the rest of his life in the closest gulag after that public display of defiance.
posted by Effigy2000 at 4:16 AM on September 22, 2014 [2 favorites]

Ah, but it's the magic of Rocky - he wins over the hostile crowd and the politburo!

Yes, the series has a huge shift in tone between 2 and 3 - I'm fond of the notion that Rocky goes from everyman to superhero (though I would put it as 3 = action hero, 4 = superhero) in the series.

I'm hoping I have the internal fortitude to get through Rocky V this week, and then on to Rocky Balboa - which, if I remember it correctly, has some nice touches that bring back echoes of the first Rocky.
posted by nubs at 9:50 AM on September 22, 2014

Yeah, I'm looking forward to the Rocky Balboa discussion too. It's very much in the spirit of the original, and brings it all home really well.
posted by jbickers at 1:11 PM on September 22, 2014

As I told my Facebook friends when I finished watching all six of them, "Rocky Balboa is the best one, but that's not a recommendation."
posted by Effigy2000 at 5:06 PM on September 22, 2014

I said in the Rocky III discussion, "It's practically a parody of the first one.", and nubs responded "But if you thought this was a parody...wait until Rocky IV!"

Rocky III was a parody of Rocky (and of sports movie generally). Rocky IV is a parody of the entire 1980s. Music video montages, overblown endings, cartoonish villains, Russians-vs-Americans, colors so bright you could sharpen a knife on them... And, perhaps fittingly in that vein, it has the biggest domestic box office total of the series at $127M (III made $125M) -- just over II and V combined.
posted by Etrigan at 9:05 AM on September 23, 2014

I'm sure I heard somewhere, back then, that this was like Stallone thought he was making another sequel to First Blood (Rambo: First Blood Part II came out the same year) rather than Rocky.
posted by dhartung at 11:55 PM on September 23, 2014

« Older Mad Men: Seven Twenty Three...   |  Red Band Society: Pilot... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments