After regaining the world boxing championship from Clubber Lang at the end of Rocky III, Mr. Balboa settles into semi-retirement, content to enjoy his life as a wealthy family man. But when a monstrous Russian boxer named Ivan Drago throws his hat into the US boxing ring, Rocky's best friend Apollo Creed will not stand for it. No sir. Creed challenges the young powerhouse to an exhibition fight, things go horribly wrong, and Rocky finds himself in enemy territory, face-to-face with his most intimidating opponent yet.
Like the previous three installments, Rocky IV was a major box office success and everyone remembers it fondly. Everyone except me apparently. There's a lot, repeat, A LOT wrong with this film, and for me it doesn't hold up very well at all compared to the first three. Sooo, let's break this sumbitch down and see what went wrong....
I'm a big fan of the Rocky series (particularly the first three films and Rocky Balboa), so even despite all its flaws it's hard to not want to watch this movie when I get done with III. I also have fond childhood memories of seeing this one in the theater with my parents. We were on vacation in Newport, RI and it was a snowy November evening. We were looking for something to do and my sister and I both lobbied intensely to see Rocky IV. My parents reluctantly obliged, and at the time my sister and I loved this stupid movie.
As absurdly over-the-top as the big Rocky-Drago fight sequence is, it's shot and edited with Stallone's usual slick sensibilities and for the time it made for a pretty epic climax. Drago beats the shit outta Rocky for 15 rounds but can't put him away, Rocky's iron jaw keeps him in the fight and he manages to score the knockout right at the end. It's basically a one-dimensional version of the second Apollo fight but it's well photographed and choreographed.
|I'm thinking he didn't actually connect with that one.|