After iron man Drago, a highly intimidating 6-foot-5, 261-pound Soviet athlete, kills Apollo Creed in an exhibition match, Rocky comes to the heart of Russia for 15 pile-driving boxing rounds of revenge.
Rocky has been holding the title as the heavyweight champion until he is defeated by a brutal challenger, and now must regain his fighting spirit through a big rematch, trained by an unlikely ally: his old nemesis Apollo Creed.
Lincoln Hawk (Stallone) is a struggling trucker who arm wrestles on the side to make extra cash while trying to rebuild his life. After the death of his wife, he tries to make amends with ... See full summary »
Rocky Balboa, heavyweight champion of the world, is the trainer for Apollo Creed in an exhibition match against Ivan Drago, a "superman" boxer from the Soviet Union. When Apollo is killed in the ring by the brutal Drago, Balboa blames himself and promises to avenge his friend's death in the ring. Written by
Murray Chapman <email@example.com>
This is the first film in which Gonna Fly Now is not sung, although a few bars of the song are incorporated into Vince DiCola's score. Rocky V (1990) also only features part of the song in instrumental form. It wouldn't be until Rocky Balboa (2006) that the song, lyrics and all, would reappear. See more »
Rocky somehow ends up with an incredible tan when he fights Drago, despite having spent months training, completely covered up, in the snow. See more »
The plot of Rocky IV" is very simple. It's basically the same plot as in "Rocky 3" with small changes (Apollo instead of Mick , Ivan Drago instead of Clubber Lang). Unlike other movies in the series "Rocky IV" isn't a sport drama it's too silly for that , too cheesy to take itself seriously. It's more of an unusual action movie with boxing in it. It's more like "Commando" than original "Rocky" . If you're ready to accept it , prepare yourself for fun. The movie was a huge success "Rocky IV" was the highest grossing film in the Rocky series, taking some $300 million worldwide. After watching the movie it's not strange to see why. It's a product of it's times , but still very entertaining today.
Yes , the Russians are portrayed stereotypical here and in reality, Soviet Heavyweights were not allowed to box professional fighters during the Cold War , but who really cares (except for Russians of course). "Rocky IV" is largely a metaphor for the tensions between America and Russia which existed in the Cold War. Drago is Soviet Union stronger and cruel , while Balboa is America weaker, but with more heart and stamina. The famous line "it's better to watch two people trying to kill each other than twenty millions" actually has meaning here. Communist and Nazis did use the sports for their propaganda and very often in real life politics and sport were entwined. "Rocky IV" has a strong anti-communist message, which I appreciate unlike other viewers. Communism was a terrifying system that treated people like puppets for the needs of communist party (Drago here is no exception). "Rocky IV" also has got a simple , but honest (at least to me ) message that people should look past their political beliefs and try to find peace on Earth. There is also some interesting commentary here on man vs machine and dehumanization of society because of technology (Paulie's robot).
The movie is far from being realistic , but I have to defend it a little. First of all it IS possible for a boxer to die during boxing match ( Benny Paret vs Emile Griffith in 1962) . Second , it is possible for a crowd to cheer for the opponent when he wins their respect ( in football/soccer when a player of the opposite team shoot 4 goals in one match the crowd gave him a standing ovation). Third , Rocky's unconventional techniques have a logic behind them. Rocky isn't using technology or steroids , because he doesn't think that's honorable . He makes it harder for himself intentionally and he succeeds . It's not the technology and money , but heart and talent what really count. The training sequences are top notch , great to watch and inspiring. The training techniques and technology that Drago has in this movie were considered science fiction in 1985 , but now they are a standard . And it's true that in communist countries steroids were often used.
Stallone was in great physical shape in 1985 as he made both "Rambo 2" and "Rocky 4". That's all you remember from his performance . Talia Shire , Carl Weathers and Burt Young gave good performances as their repeated their roles from previous movies. Brigitte Nielsen (Stallone's future wife) is OK as the wife of Drago. The real star here is however Dolph Lundgren ("The Punisher") as Ivan Drago. He was a perfect choice. His physically incredibly intimidating and definitely one of greatest cinema villains.
This is the only Rocky film where the music is not composed by Bill Conti. James Brown "Living in America" , Robert Trepper "No easy way out" ( one of the best montage songs ever ) , Survivor " Burning heart" , John Cafferty "Hearts on fire" the soundtrack here is just fantastic. Stallone's makes a great use of the songs and Vince DiCola's music ("Training montage" is incredibly catchy) . He shows a talent worthy of great music video director here. When the music appears it's incredibly inspiring and powerful. The fights scenes are appropriately brutal and unrealistic , but that's what they are so fun. It's an ultimate David versus Goliat fight.
The movie is full of memorable , if not silly dialogues and one liners. Who could forget "If I can change , then you can change then everybody can change" . Other famous lines : "If he dies, he dies" , "Hit the one in the middle" , "I will break you". The "hit the one in the middle" exchange, actually did happen in real life fight during the Max Baer-Max Schmeling heavyweight fight in June 1933 .
It's definitely a classic movie and a symbol of the 80's over the top , but wonderfully entertaining. If I had to rate it for it's pure entertainment value I would give it 10/10. However since this is an odd entry in a solid series of sport dramas I give it 6/10.
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