Welcome to this blog of my film reviews. Some have been drafted carefully on paper, others I have sat and typed. I'm going to make it clear right now that I don't expect you to agree with my (re)views, or to like my style of writing. However, I want my views to be just out there and open, as a person who wishes to express himself from deep within. Feel free to comment and debate with me, but I do ask that you are civil and not harsh, as any comments which are basically swear words and insults will automatically be deleted. Also any text that is in orange (and often bold) is a Hyperlink to either a source, or a previous post for background reference.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Rocky IV


When superhuman, cold-hearted Soviet boxer Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren) beats Apollo (Carl Weathers) to death in an exhibiton match, Rocky (Sylvester Stallone) swears to avenge his once rival turned brother figure, so travels to Russia, where he trains hard in order to defeat Drago in the ring on Christmas Day.

Again, we have a ridiculously rehashed sequel offered to us. Rocky has an opponent he just has to face, he's seriously outmatched, so he trains his a**e off so that he will triumph. It's overly predictable, we've already seen it twice with Rocky II (1979) and Rocky III (1982), and having no development and nothing new to work with results in some truly poor performances - two of which won Golden Raspberries, another two of which were nominated. The actors are bland, wooden and very dull, giving truly one-sided performances of stupid, even pathetic characters, although never as poor as the screenplay. Everything is written to be over the top and very unrealistic - the realism was what made Rocky (1976) so wonderfully powerful. For his training Rocky axes trees and pretty much sprints up a mountain. I mean, are we seriously meant to believe that this 38 year old boxer who barely ways 200lbs is Superman or something?

On, the upside Lundgren makes Drago an exceptionally intimidating and brutal fighter. Almost two metres tall, with superhuman strength - although use of steroids is implied - you can't help but watch this beast with a slight sense of nervousness as you just picture yourself getting slaughtered in the ring by this brute. That's why the climactic fight scene with Rocky is about the only very good scene in the film, because they are both brutal - in Lundgren's case brutal enough to make Mr. T look tame - and they fight with such brutal passion you can't help but get drawn in. At the same time, however, this makes you look at the film as being even more unrealistic than you were throughout. Rocky wins, despite being about 180lbs lighter than Drago. So are we meant to believe that a solid brick wall can be taken down by a sturdy, though ultimately pitiful plank of wood? Because that is what this scene is saying.

A couple of intense scenes don't stop this film from simply being a case of overkill and you can't help but now look at the franchise as being all in all not that good now. Had they just left it at the end of Rocky II it would be fine. Rocky's Heavyweight Champion of the World, his goal is fulfilled, and it would have been a two-part film series ending on a high note. Shame on you, Stallone, shame on you, for tarnishing everyone's fond memories of the original.

Sylvester Stallone, Burt Young, Talia Shire, Dolph Lundgren, Brigitte Nielsen, Tony Burton, Carl Weathers, Michael Pataki, George Rogan, James "Cannonball" Green, Rocky Krakoff.

Golden Raspberries: Worst Director (Sylvester Stallone), Worst Actor (Sylvester Stallone), Worst New Star (Brigitte Nielsen), Worst Supporting Actress (Brigitte Nielsen), Worst Musical Score (Vince DiCola).
Golden Raspberry nominations: Worst Picture (Irwin Winkler, Robert Chartoff), Worst Screenplay (Sylvester Stallone), Worst Supporting Actor (Burt Young), Worst Supporting Actress (Talia Shire).

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