Rocky Balboa proudly holds the world heavyweight boxing championship, but a new challenger has stepped forward: Drago, a six-foot-four, 261-pound fighter who has the backing of the Soviet Un... Read allRocky Balboa proudly holds the world heavyweight boxing championship, but a new challenger has stepped forward: Drago, a six-foot-four, 261-pound fighter who has the backing of the Soviet Union.Rocky Balboa proudly holds the world heavyweight boxing championship, but a new challenger has stepped forward: Drago, a six-foot-four, 261-pound fighter who has the backing of the Soviet Union.
Rocky is still riding high of the success of the world championship and is enjoying life with his wife Adrian (Talia Shire), Rocky's friend and Adrian's brother Paulie (Burt Young), and trainer and former adversary turned friend Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers). Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren) has arrived from the Soviet Union along with his team of trainers and managers as well as his wife Ludmilla (Bridgette Neilson) to announce their intentions of entering professional boxing and promoting Drago's superior athleticism. Apollo Creed steps out of retirement to challenge Drago in an exhibition match in Las Vegas despite Rocky's misgivings. Things go tragically wrong when the former world champion underestimates the Soviet powerhouse as he ruthlessly receives a pummeling and is later killed when Drago lands a fatal blow. Drago emotionlessly responds, "If he dies, he dies", during his victory interview as Rocky cradles a bloodied Creed. Ridden with guilt for not throwing in the towel and enraged by Drago's lack of remorse, Rocky Balboa vows to avenge Creed's death with the help of Creed's former manager Duke (the late Tony Burton) by taking on Drago in an unsanctioned boxing match where Rocky surrenders the championship and the fight will take place in the Soviet Union on Christmas Day.
The events from Rocky IV would later form the backstory of Creed II (2018) where Apollo's son Adonis Creed takes on Ivan Drago's son Viktor Drago in the ring, and also sees the return of an embittered Ivan Drago.
Sylvester Stallone who also returns to the director's chair is still a delight as Rocky Balboa, the former underdog turned world champion and is also in peak physical condition too. Dolph Lundgren is memorable as Ivan Drago in his first movie role. Also returning to the sequel is Tahlia Shire as Adrian, Carl Weathers as Apollo Creed, Burt Young as Paulie and the late Tony Burton as Duke. Bridgette Neilson also stars as Drago's wife Ludmilla and James Brown appears as himself performing the song "Living in America" during the exhibition match as Apollo Creed makes his entrance.
It's a visual experience seeing Rocky Balboa go back to unconventional methods of training in a secluded village in the middle of the Siberian mountains by chopping down trees, lifting logs, running in the deep snow, carrying carts, and culminating in running up a mountain alongside Vince DiCola's inspirational soundtrack (who has replaced Bill Conti). Meanwhile, Ivan Drago receives state of the art training with advanced equipment recorded by computers, as well as and steroid injections to maintain his powerful strength.
Rocky IV was a big hit at the box office despite a mixed critical reception and was one of the highest grossing films of 1985. Its hard to believe that Rocky IV is now 35 years old. It's still a popular movie especially amongst Sylvester Stallone fans and fans of the Rocky saga. I still enjoy it, and it's certainly a welcome addition to the Rocky saga. It's also a movie that used to psych me up before a gym session or before a long run 10 years ago. That aside, forget all the negative criticisms and enjoy Rocky IV.
- Nov 28, 2020