Rocky IV (1985)

Movie Title: Rocky IV

Year Released: 1985

Rated: PG

Runtime: 1h 31min

Genre: Sports, Drama

Director: Sylvester Stallone

Writer: Sylvester Stallone

Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Talia Shire, Burt Young, Carl Weathers, Brigitte Nielsen, Dolph Lundgren

Review: After reclaiming the boxing championship title, Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) plans to retire and live with his wife, Adrian (Talia Shire). However, during an exhibition match, Rocky's friend Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) is mercilessly beaten to death by hulking Russian newcomer Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren). Rocky vows payback against Drago and flies to Russia to train for a Christmas Day fight. Despite their different training methods, Rocky and Drago both wage a long and intense match. Rocky IV lacks a lot of substance compared to its predecessors in the Rocky series. So much so that a wide majority of this film is a series of montages. It's almost as if there wasn't enough content to fill an entire script for this film, so Stallone replaced the "white space" with iconic clips from previous films and a few pieces of real acting sprinkled in on occasion.

On the bright side, this movie does still offer some entertainment value. Montages aren't necessarily a bad thing when used appropriately, and after all, what's a Rocky movie without a montage? Rocky training in Siberia, chopping wood, and running up a giant mountain is a great training scene. Dolph Lundgren is fantastic as the reticent, mutant Soviet fighter. Lundgren's on-screen presence is terrifying, as Ivan Drago physically looks like someone who you would want to avoid at all costs, especially inside a boxing ring. Despite its obvious flaws, I will always enjoy Rocky IV for staying true to the Rocky film series while also offering one of the series' most formidable foes. This movie is entertaining with every watch, and I can't help but get a kick out of the idea that Rocky Balboa somehow had a hand in ending the Cold War...or something like that. If you're a fan of the Rocky films, don't forget about this one, as it's a movie that definitely deserves your attention. I highly recommend this movie with the caveat that other installments in the series are without a doubt, better films.

Stars (out of 4):

Fun Fact: Rocky IV was the highest grossing film in the Rocky series, taking in just over 300 million dollars worldwide.


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