Hollywood and the Cold War's ultimate love child: Rocky IV
TODAY'S RETRO-REVIEW: Continuing our look at the Rocky franchise in honor of the newly released Creed, here's guest blogger Jim "Dr. Dim" Fitzsimons with a review of Rocky IV (1985). Don't forget to listen to our brand-new Rocky podcast.
THE PLOT: Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) comes out of retirement for an exhibition fight against the scientifically trained and enhanced Soviet fighting machine Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren). Rocky (Sylvester Stallone) acts as Creed's trainer for the fight that ends tragically with the former champ beaten to death. Rocky steps up and agrees to fight Drago in the Soviet Union to avenge his friend's death and single-handedly wins the Cold War.
MAYBE YOU REMEMBER: As the film's director, Stallone decided that he and Lundgren should actually hit each other while filming the fight scenes. This led to Stallone being hospitalized after having been hit so hard in the chest his heart was injured.
SURELY YOU DIDN'T FORGET: The montages! This film is a montage lover's dream. There are at least three training montages in the film plus one with Rocky reflecting on what had happened in the first three films.
THE TUNES: Survivor's Burning Heart and John Cafferty's Heart's On Fire (Burning? On fire? Hearts? Is there some kind of theme here?) provide stirring montage music. There are also tunes by Kenny Loggins and Gladys Knight; Go West; and, of course, James Brown's flamboyant Living In America.
WHAT CRITICS SAID: Bucking the trend with a positive review... "But, come on, this is just a movie, and whereas Stallone with Rambo is messing with real places and real events, in Rocky IV we all know this is pure Hollywood. Pure fantasy. And very well made Hollywood fantasy, indeed." Gene Siskel, Chicago Tribune
WHY WE STILL LOVE IT: Who couldn't love the spectacle of Apollo Creed dancing with James Brown and a bevy of Vegas showgirls? Now ain't that America?
THE "WHAT THE HELL" MOMENT: I created this category just for this movie, because... The still drunken, bigoted, whining, completely unpleasant Paulie (Burt Young) has a birthday and for a gift from Rocky he receives (not the sports car he was hoping for) a robot. A ROBOT! What the hell?!
TOP 5 MEMORABLE LINES FROM ROCKY IV:
5. "I guess what I'm trying to say is, if I can change, and you can change, everybody can change."
4. "Going in one more round when you don't think you can - that's what makes all the difference in your life."
3. "If he dies, he dies."
2. "I feel good!"
1. "I must break you."