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So as you know, I stopped writing lengthy reviews on this site this year, keeping the blog as more of a film diary of sorts.  Lo and behold,...

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Movie Review - Rocky IV

***Rocky Week -- Day 4***
***Note:  Spoilers may appear in all Rocky Week reviews.***
Rocky IV (1985)
Starring Sylvester Stallone, Talia Shire, Burt Young, Carl Weathers, Brigitte Nielsen, and Dolph Lundgren
Directed by Sylvester Stallone

And Rocky IV is apparently where the already diminishing franchise completely falls apart.  Everything about this movie feels excessive which while admittedly is the point with Rocky (Sylvester Stallone) using his nine years of success to have crafted a great life for wife Adrian (Talia Shire) and son Rocky, Jr.; however it also creates plot points that prove ludicrous.  Writer Stallone goes too far here with the excess and auteur Stallone throws in too many directorial flourishes -- both of which inherently go against the innocence, simplicity, and homely nature of the Rocky series.

There's a new fighter on the scene -- Russian Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren) who after recently been granted fighting privileges in the US has dominated many of the American boxers.  Retired Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) sees Drago as an opportunity to return to the arena, so he agrees to an exhibition match with the Russian.  With James Brown singing "Living in America," scantily clad dancers, and a fancy Las Vegas setting (note: just a few of the examples of the aforementioned excesses), the purported exhibition has disastrous results for Creed which causes Rocky to avenge his friend.  Rocky travels to Russia to take on Drago and we get yet another "Fight of the Century."

The problem with Rocky IV isn't just that it's the worst of the Rocky films, it's that it's a bad movie in general.  From the horrible acting of Dolph Lundgren to the ridiculously silly montage of Rocky training in Russia by chopping wood (set to one of the worst movie montage songs ever) to a robot befriending Rocky's brother-in-law Paulie (Burt Young), Stallone really needed to reel this one in and he fails to do so.  Certainly the low point of the series, the jingoistic Rocky IV signaled the beginning of the end for the franchise...until over two decades later.

The RyMickey Rating:  D

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