Written by / 12/20/2015 / No comments / , , , , , , , , ,

STALLONE TAKES RUSSIA IN ROCKY IV

year: 1985
When Stu Nahan, an ongoing ROCKY franchise sportscaster, has to admit "The Soviet strength is incredible," referring to Dolph Lundgren's bionic Russian fighter, there's an obvious political Cold War (and at this point, very dated) message going on and alas, a few minutes later, Apollo Creed, one of the great all-time cinematic athletic antagonists (turned friendly fellow), is killed in the ring following the type of sell-out training routine Rocky Balboa went through before getting pummeled in the last, far superior venture... only without dying and sans a James Brown (as opposed to a lounge-lizard Frank Stallone) performance.

The first half of ROCKY IV involves completely banal crap like a robot that talks to (and belongs to) Paulie while playing one of many throwaway soundtrack tunes; a miscast son who looks not one bit Italian; and a collage of memories from our heartbroken hero, seeming like an MTV video and repeating scenes just experienced: For once again, Rocky lost a trainer to the Grim Reaper... Only this time, our main man's decision to get back into the ring, for pure revenge this time, is met with very little reluctance, and the movie goes from glossy-vapid to grainy-legit when Rocky trains in the isolated, snowy region of Russia, getting in shape while helping peasants, dodging the KGB and eventually climbing a mountain... an intentionally progressed homage from that famous outdoor staircase back in hometown Philly...

Cool Poster Art
Thus, Rocky and Drago's opposite training methods are intriguing and highlight the second half... Rocky pulling carts and chopping wood (basically living like a local) while his lethal opponent is practically being oiled (though he does break a sweat) within a million dollar scientific lab of a gymnasium, is a second slice of deja vu, in reverse: again recalling when Rocky lazed around at the casino while Mr. T's Clubber Lang sweated blood in his dingy apartment. This time Rocky's training is primal and tough while corny OVER THE TOP style synthesizer tracks are made up for by the return of Sly's swarthy NIGHTHAWKS beard. And there's a private talk with the underrated Tony Burton, who, as Apollo's former (and Rocky's current) trainer, has been around since the first Oscar Winning classic, and finally has a worthy scene.

As the villain, Dolph is literally the perfect fit for Ivan Drago, and the verbal Bonnie to his silent Clyde is, at that time, Stallone's future heartbreaking girlfriend Brigitte Nielsen. Meanwhile, Burt Young, along for the hellish trip, is a forced comic relief that, while Rocky gets serious in the cold harsh reality, isn't necessary like in the other films. Neither is Adrian, showing up at the last minute when she should have watched from home on TV. But the good parts turn really bad after the big fight, which is actually cool in itself: the 15-round boxing choreography, again fully manned by director Stallone (who staged the action scenes even when John G. Advilsen was behind the lens). But Rocky's awkward "Why don't we all just get along" speech to the Russian people is so hysterical and downright embarrassing, it's best to stop the film right as the crowd cheers Rocky's name instead of Drago's. That's all the triumph you'll need.

RATING: ***
Share This Post :
Tags : , , , , , , , , ,

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Featured Post

QUICK REVIEW & YAPHET KOTTO REFLECTION OF 'BLUE COLLAR'

Yaphet Kotto with Richard Pryor and Harvey Keitel in Paul Schrader's BLUE COLLAR Year: 1978 Rating: **** "The whole thing,"...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Most Popular Last Year

WWW.CULTFILMFREAKS.COM

WWW.CULTFILMFREAKS.COM
Movie Reviews, Interviews, Articles and Pop Culture from White Heat to Blue City

FOR TELEVISION REVIEWS

LIKE US ON FACEBOOK

TOTAL HITS

Popular Trending

FOUNDED BY JAMES M. TATE

FOUNDED BY JAMES M. TATE
RANDOM QUOTE: "George, that's the first time anyone ever thought enough of you to call you a shark. If you were a good lawyer, you'd be flattered." Everette Sloane to Glenn Anders, The Lady from Shanghai

FAVORITES SHORTLIST

1)THE FEARMAKERS 2)JAWS 3)THE CROWDED SKY 4)RAIDERS FROM BENEATH THE SEA 5)ANATOMY OF A MURDER 6)ASH WEDNESDAY 7)SHARKS' TREASURE 8)CANYON PASSAGE 9)THE MAN FROM LARAMIE 10)HOT CARS 11)CURSE OF THE DEMON 12)HARDCORE 13)VIOLENT SATURDAY 14)FALLEN ANGEL 15)DUEL IN THE JUNGLE 16)SWEENEY TWO 17)THE DEFECTOR 18)THE ROARING TWENTIES 19)AIR PATROL 20)THE ONLY GAME IN TOWN 21)THE SERGEANT 22)OTLEY 23)AL CAPONE 24)SWAMP WATER 25)JUDGEMENT AT NUREMBERG 26)THE KILLING 27)COMPULSION 28)MY BLOOD RUNS COLD 29)EASY LIVING 30)WHERE THE SIDEWALK ENDS 31)ATLANTIC CITY 32)WILLIAM CONRAD'S BRAINSTORM 33)CANYON RIVER 34)MADISON AVENUE 35)THE SHARKFIGHTERS 36)DEMETRIUS AND THE GLADIATORS 37)WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS 38)FRENZY 39)THUNDER ISLAND 40)THE DAY THEY ROBBED THE BANK OF ENGLAND

ACTORS 1)DANA ANDREWS 2)JAMES CAGNEY 3)MARLON BRANDO 4)JACK NICHOLSON 5)ORSON WELLES 6)PETER O'TOOLE 7)TOM COURTENAY 8)CHARLES BRONSON 9)GENE HACKMAN 10)VICTOR MATURE ACTRESSES 1)VIRGINIA MAYO 2)SUE LYON 3)GENE TIERNEY 4)MERRY ANDERS 5)FAYE DUNAWAY DIRECTORS 1)JACQUES TOURNEUR 2)RICHARD FLEISCHER 3)STANLEY KUBRICK 4)ORSON WELLES 5)OTTO PREMINGER 6)JOHN CARPENTER 7)MAURY DEXTER 8)JOHN LANDIS 9)MICHAEL WINNER 10)SAM PECKINPAH

RARITIES & EXPLOITATION

Popular This Month

CINEMA OF DANA ANDREWS

TRIPPING INTO THE SIXTIES

WESTERN GENRE REVIEWS

All Time Popular

TARGETING THE SEVENTIES

KICKING IN THE EIGHTIES

TALES AND REFLECTIONS

RETURN TO THE HOMEPAGE