REVIEW: Rocky IV
He is all things to all people. Hero. Scourge. Punching bag. Chicken wrangler. Beloved pupil. Doting father. He even tries his hand as a lumberjack. Rocky is an everyman, a lover AND a fighter. Friend to animals, robots, angry Soviets, even black people.
Those wise old sayings people attribute to Jesus? He got those from Rocky.
Let's get this out of the way right now. Rocky IV is the greatest movie of all time. This is not just opinion here. It is scientific fact. The movie has been proven to increase testosterone levels up to 355% in any human or animal that watches it. (This is potentially an unfortunate side-effect for any female forced to watch but really, if she has to be forced to watch Rocky IV doesn't she deserve whatever the fates decree?)
The movie, like it's namesake, is a multifaceted work of art. Don't let all those pansy, socialists film critics get it twisted. Most of those hacks are busy writing their reviews in their parents basement and in between studying for their options trading education online and crying over their wasted lives. Rocky IV has a little bit of everything. It is simultaneously a sports film, a romance (um, I guess) a revenge tale, a meditation on geopolitics during the height of the Cold War, a comedy (those Russian accents are funny) Hell, it even plays like a musical set to the defiant, spirit-lifting tunes of uh, Survivor and um, a few other guys.
Simply put, this movie kicks ass. More precisely it dons a pair of red, white and blue boxing gloves and beats the ass which is normally kicked into a swollen, bloody pulp while the crowd goes wild and Pat chants "Dolph! Dolph!" (even though Dolph is the one who gets his ass beat in the finale)
Our story begins -as so many did in the blissful eighties- with those evil Russians daring to tread upon American soil, this time with the intent of beating up one of our African-American citizens (a task normally relegated to cops... and Rocky) in front of an internationally televised audience.
Enter Apollo Creed. Apollo is about four parts Muhammed Ali and...wait. Add another eight parts (but leave out all the rhyming and boxing skills) Anyhow Apollo agrees to an exhibition fight between himself and the monstrous Ivan Drago. He does so against the sage advice of Rocky, who feels that Apollo is a little too far past his prime to take on the mysterious Russian, but nevertheless agrees to serve as the Count of Monte Fisto's ring man.
The fight gets out of hand early and Apollo suffers a royal ass-beating from the machine-like Drago, who reduces him to a staggering pile of jello in just one round. Rocky refrains from forfeiting in the second round (even though Apollo's face resembles a bloody, ruptured football at that point) and in so doing throws the towel in on Apollo's life instead. Oh well. The King of Sting dies in Rocky's arms and - oh shit! Now it's on Russian!
After being told by his bitch wife Adrian that there's no way he can hang with Drago in the ring and that he should basically just bend over and take it from the godless Communists Rocky travels to Russia where he chops wood and runs through the snow while Drago works out on state of the art equipment and shoots state of the art steroids (sneaky Russian) One of the greatest training montages in the history of inspirational sports films builds up to a savage final confrontation inside the boxing ring where Rocky is faced with the daunting task of going toe to toe with Drago in front of a hostile Russian audience who shout (presumably. i don't speak Russian.) not very nice things at him. Even the Soviet Premiere is on hand for this important moment because, as we all know, nothing lends credence to your political ideology like having one of your native sons put a serious ass-whipping on a member of the enemy's citizenry.
So what we get follows the tradition of pretty much every Rocky fight, with the exception of his first fight with Clubber Lang (where he got his ass handed to him in fairly short order) that being a grueling fifteen round slugfest in which the art of blocking the opponents punch is conspicuously absent. Unless you count blocking with your face. Rocky excels at this strategy.
In the end Balboa triumphs over Drago and in so doing proves to the (former) Soviet Union and the rest of the world that not only is barbaric savagery a viable solution to cultural and ideological differences, but that the USA is the undisputed King in this regard. There's some business after the fight about how we can all change and, you know, i guess come together and stuff but by that point in the movie you're so jacked you can't sit still anymore. You feel invigorated. Inspired. You've just felt the rekindling of those old dusty dreams that once seemed down for the count.
And if you're like me that means you're ready to get back to work forming that dance troupe for the Rocky IV musical that you and Pat have been talking about...
I'm with you Pat... no matter what.
No matter what?
No matter what.
Everything you ever loved will be sodomized by Michael Bay,