Movie Review: Rocky IV

posterTo do a classic review of a movie that is as old as Rocky IV seems silly. Instead, take a quick trip down memory lane with me and enjoy Rocky IV as if I were watching it with you.

My notes do cover the plot and even elaborate on a few things I never noticed before, but I think contribute a great amount of unintentional comedy and political metaphor to a movie that subsidized most of the script with steroids, montages and sight gags. So lets enjoy Rocky IV – The Musical1

-If you tuned in to hear Eye of Tiger, you are getting it right now and only right now, very briefly. Enjoy! This is our first musical montage!

gloves-This musical montage opening is bad graphics even for 1985 and is just a US Flag boxing glove and then a USSR Flag boxing glove in different positions, that eventually hit each other and explode into a flash of light bringing us back to the end of Rocky III. I love Mr. T, but other than to fill screen time, what the fuck is the point of seeing this scene AFTER seeing the USSR boxing gloves?

-Rocky and Apollo are walking into the gym with the obvious intention of sparing as they continually trash talk and trash talk and trash talk. But why are they so sweaty already? I mean mother fuckers are glistening!

-Rocky, “mumble, mumble bell?”, Apollo, “Ding, Ding.”

rockyapollo-How many times in the span of these 4 movies are we going to see a freeze frame of Rocky and Apollo just as they are about to hit each other?

-Rocky’s kid’s movie camera is quite the set up for 1985, but most of the very little exposition isn’t spoken so you just have to realize that the Balboa’s live with crazy extravagance even for 1985.

-I hope Jersey Shore’s Paulie D is named for Rocky’s brother in law. It just makes sense right?


paulie d                                                                                                   -Who gives a grown man a robot as a birthday gift? He isn’t even a nerdy guy. Its not like he is Edward Stratton the Third from Silver Spoons. You don’t know who that is do you? Ok, fine, a more contemporary reference, Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory. Happy?

edward stratton the 3


                                                            -Of the 3 movie reviews I’ve done for Hooking Foul Talia Shire has been in 2 of them. Is my subconscious trying to tell me something?

-So at the height of the Cold War all the reporters only want to ask the Russian contingent about boxing because the guy wearing a USSR uniform is a boxer. There is surely an intrepid reporter who would ask something about nuclear bombs or communism or Sputnik!

-So the Russian’s call out Rocky’s nationalism, but in doing so don’t piss off Rocky, but piss off Apollo, in his pool, while he is getting amazing reception without an antenna. Does this mean Apollo has cable at his pool side table? Why does Apollo even need to be in the pool? Did his contract call for X number of shirtless scenes before he dies? Oh, yeah, Apollo dies.2

-In 1985 how is it possible that the Zack Morris cell phone that is attached to the robot functions with the house phone that the maid wearing headphones somehow heard.

-How many Russians did we allow into the country at the height of the Cold War? Especially scientists we were trying to keep secrets from? Who came into the country wanting only to show off how great their science is. You are telling me at least one of those mother fuckers isn’t the KGB version of Jason Bourne?

-How many steroids was Ivan Drago taking? and was he taking them in between takes?

-Apollo is trying to explain to Rocky and Talia why he insists on fighting Drago. But why is he so jacked up with this national pride? Is he summoning his character from Predator?

-Why does Talia’s accent go in and out based on how she is reacting emotionally?

-Rocky plays philosopher to Apollo, “Maybe its you against [pause] you?”

brigetteflav-Brigitte Nielsen is yelling at someone other than Flava-Flav, that’s fucking amazing.

-Pre-fight Pre-fight Apollo is totally in a lets fuck up Russia mood. Good thing he doesn’t have the nuke codes.

-The super live James Brown entrance show for Apollo is complete with the dancing girls from Captain America’s USO tour and the back up band from Coming to America.

-What is an 80’s movie without product placement, Hugo Boss checks in, dressing Apollo’s ring crew in red, white and blue sweatshirts.

james brown-Why is Drago so pissed at James Brown? He is singing “Living in America”, which is just a geography lesson with a whole lot of pomp and circumstance.

-A live James Brown version of “Living in America” is how Obama dreamed Obama Care would roll out.

-During the fighter introductions, why is Rocky introduced?

-Drago is the red corner, and I thought I was a cliched writer.

ApolloSam-So Apollo Creed in red, white and blue striped coat and top hat screams and points at Drago, “I want you” over and over. Its totally a recruiting poster.

-Drago’s first line was too Apollo is, “You will lose”.

-Why couldn’t Apollo give us a “Here we go!” as the fight starts? Oh right because he wasn’t endorsing Bud Light yet.

-The way Apollo gets his ass killed is how Obama Care actually rolled out.

-”If he dies, he dies”, I quote this line all the time, usually referring to bugs.

-And now all that foreshadowing bull shit that Apollo was preaching to Rocky almost makes some sense as Rocky mumbles a lot of it during his eulogy at Apollo’s funeral.

-Rocky agrees to fight Drago is Russia, on Christmas and tells the press before he talks about it with his wife.

slybirdgette-Brigitte Nielsen gets a  monologue at the press conference because in real life she was sleeping with Sylvester Stallone.

-This whole movie is really just 1 big Cold War stereotyping metaphor.

-Cru Jones mom is pissed and Cru Jones hasn’t even skipped the SATs yet. Whoops, sorry wrong movie, same angry Talia Shire.

-When Talia is finally told by Rocky about the big ole fight in Russia her accent is gone and she is amazingly supportive, telling him emphatically he can’t win.

-Rocky mumbles some bull shit speech about how to beat the Russian is to test his heart. It makes no sense.

-Music montage of clips from EVERY Rocky movie and the death of Apollo. The death of Apollo which happened about 10 minutes ago.

-Same montage, going on forever, and it is really just ripping scenes from EVERY Rocky movie, with far too many short shorts beach shots.

-This must be the cheapest scene ever made in movie history, the only new shots were Rocky driving.

-Paulie has plaid luggage! I love it!

-Does any Rocky speech ever make sense to anyone? Between the mumbling and the poor grammar who knows what this guy is talking about?

-Why doesn’t Rocky say goodbye to his wife after spending like 10 minutes mumbling to his son?

-Welcome to Russia and see every Russian stereotype in a musical montage. Russia is also completely covered in snow everywhere except where the Winter Olympics will be held in 2014, Sochi.

-Why is a KGB agent picking up Rocky and crew? I’m not even kidding, that mother fucked is as KGB as anyone in ANY Bond film.

-Paulie is wearing a revolutionary war era “Don’t tread on me” patch on his coat. What the fuck does that have to do with the Cold War?

-Every single character speaks more clearly and eloquently than Rocky. Even Paulie and every Russian for whom English is supposed to be a 2nd language!

-Rocky starts running and we get our third musical montage in 15 minutes of actual screen time. This is a back and forth montage between Drago’s sophisticated training techniques and Rocky’s backwoods man of the land training methods.

-WAIT, maybe that is why Paulie is wearing the “Don’t tread on me”. Its a loose allusion to the rebel American’s taking on the sophisticated British Empire during the American Revolution. So are the movie makers telling us that the USSR was in a better place than the USA in 1985?

-Talia Shire shows up in Russia, even after not getting a goodbye. Barely made it to Helltrack to see her son race, but navigates the globe and paperwork necessary to get into communist Russia with apparent ease. I think I mixed up some movies there.

-Rocky grew a beard to show his devotion to the 2013 Boston Red Sox.

Rocky IV – The Musical continues with the 4th musical montage in 25 minutes.

-I get it. The reason there are so many musical montages was because the entire script budget went to steroids.

-When Rocky gets to the top of the mountain, how did he know to mimic the “I’m on top of the world” yell from Titanic before James Cameron even made the movie? That’s what he yelled right? Sounded like it. Although it also sounded like Boston Mayor Tom Menino speaking about anything.



-It’s Christmas! Yes, this is the 2nd best Christmas movie in existence, 2nd to Die Hard.

-As the door opens to reveal Drago the sound effect is eerily similar to the THX sound. Then the entrance song is eerily similar to Lord Vader’s “Imperial March” that debuted in The Empire Strikes Back.

-I wonder if during the Russian National Anthem Rocky is looking up into the rafters at Bobby Orr’s retired number the way Larry Bird used to. Oh, this isn’t in the Boston Garden, sadly not everything takes place in Boston.

-The announcers are really, really nailing home how much the crowd is against Rocky, but now allude to Rocky’s underdog status calling it a battle of David versus Goliath.

budlight-Too bad Apollo can’t jump in and say, “Here we go!”, but he’s dead.

-Dargo is killing Rocky from the start. To the point I’m wondering how Rocky is still standing. At this point Drago had Apollo bloody as shit.

-More rowdy against Rocky crowd references.

templeofdoom-Rocky and his corner man make a bunch more weird heart references. Many more and I think that the witch doctor from Temple of Doom is going to show up and rip Drago’s heart out of his chest.

-Maybe those heart references would make sense if instead of 25 minutes of musical montages there was some actual scripted dialogue.

-Apollo would have died twice at this point.

drago cut-Drago is cut! Rocky starts making it a fight!

-Out of everyone, Drago, the guy with the fewest lines in the movie, explains why Rocky won’t go down, comparing him to a piece of iron.

-Rounds 3-14 of the match are a musical montage. Surprising no one.

-Moscow is cheering for Rocky without any real cause or explanation because we are in the middle of a montage that has very little dialogue.

-According to the announcers Rocky’s resolve and determination is what has won over every Russian civilian in attendance. Did they take a poll? They don’t even have a sideline reporter Joe Namath can make out with or be the voice of the people.

-The Russian politicians are pissed and tell Drago he needs to win for mother Russia. Drago yells to everyone that he fights “for me”. That makes so little sense it doesn’t deserve a punch line.

-No way Rocky can win this match on points. So he has to knock him out in round 15 or he loses.

-Rocky knocks Drago down! He’s fallen and he can’t get up!

-Rocky wins!

-Moscow cheers!

-Rocky’s mumbled and punch drunk speech about how if the crowd could change and he could change, everyone can change and it inspires peace!

-The Berlin Wall comes down!

-The USSR dissolves!

-Democracy defeats Communism!

-Rocky ends the Cold War!

-And as John Cafferty belts out “Hearts on Fire” we wrap up the Rocky movie franchise with a Christmas bow after Rocky has affected great political and social change.



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  1. That’s my title, not the official title. []
  2. Spoiler alert. []

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