Rocky IV


Rocky IV

Infobox Film
name =Rocky IV


caption =Theatrical Release Poster
writer =Sylvester Stallone
starring =Sylvester Stallone
Talia Shire
Burt Young
Carl Weathers
Tony Burton
Brigitte Nielsen
Dolph Lundgren
director =Sylvester Stallone
producer =Robert Chartoff
Irwin Winkler
cinematography =Bill Butler
editing =John W. Wheeler
Don Zimmerman
distributor =flagicon|United States MGM/UA Entertainment Co.
flagicon|UN United International Pictures (rest of world)
released =November 27, 1985
runtime =91 min
music = Vince DiCola
preceded_by = "Rocky III"
followed_by = "Rocky V"
country =USA
language =English
Russian
budget =$31,000,500
imdb_id = 0089927

"Rocky IV" is a 1985 boxing film, the fourth and most financially successful movie of the "Rocky" franchise. [cite web
url = http://www.boxofficemojo.com/franchises/chart/?id=rocky.htm
title = Rocky Movies
accessdate = 2007-09-17
work = Box Office Mojo
publisher = Box Office Mojo, LLC.
archiveurl = http://web.archive.org/web/20070607221410/http://boxofficemojo.com/franchises/chart/?id=rocky.htm
archivedate = 2007-06-07
quote =
] Rocky Balboa (played again by Sylvester Stallone), plans to retire from boxing after regaining his title from Clubber Lang in "Rocky III". An unknown amateur boxer from the Soviet Union, Ivan Drago (played by Dolph Lundgren), however, makes a bid to enter the US boxing ranks. After an exhibition match with Apollo Creed goes horribly and tragically wrong, Rocky must step in and challenge the Russian boxer himself to avenge the death of his friend.

Plot

The story opens to Eye of the Tiger during the climax of Rocky Balboa's rematch against Clubber Lang, where Rocky defeated Lang with a KO to regain his title. The picture then fades and we see Apollo Creed presenting his favor to Rocky shortly after the Lang fight for helping him train, a friendly sparring match with him for fun, just as their punches connect the camera then fades once again. Rocky returns to his home to celebrate Paulie's birthday and shows evidence of a punch from Creed. It is also Rocky and Adrian Balboa's (almost) 9 year wedding anniversary.

Meanwhile, Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren), a highly intimidating 261 pound Soviet boxer, arrives in America with his wife Ludmilla (Brigitte Nielsen), an Olmypic gold medal swimmer, his manager, Nicolai Koloff (Michael Pataki), and a team of trainers headed by grizzled Russian coach Igor Rimsky (George Rogan), and Manuel Vega (James "Cannonball" Green") to challenge the best American fighters. Koloff takes great pride in showing off the giant's gym to the American press. The training room is spotless and antiseptic, looking more like a laboratory than a place for athletes to get in shape. Koloff goes on at great length at how all of this aids in improving their man's performance, while Drago, hooked to electrodes and computers, waits for an order to be given. When asked what the result of all this is, Koloff replies, "Whatever he hits, he destroys." To illustrate that point Drago throws punches at a machine that measures the it's strength, regularly exceeding 2000 psi per punch.

Seeing Drago on TV, Apollo Creed, motivated by patriotism and a desire to prove himself after five years of retirement, quickly jumps at the chance to step back into the ring in an exhibition bout against Drago. Despite apprehension from Rocky, who eventually agrees to help train him, Apollo sets the match between himself and Drago in Las Vegas. Before the exhibition, Apollo and Drago's camps hold a press conference. When Drago's wife Ludmilla makes a comment about the fight being "a good victory", Apollo is offended and gets into an argument with Koloff, who tells Apollo he is too old to think he can win. After Creed calls Drago a "big chump", the entourages get into a scuffle with Creed taunting Drago, and as a result, Drago showing his power for the first time, shoving Creed full force into Rocky's arms, who is nearly taken off his feet by the momentum. Creed vows to finish it in the ring.

With Rocky in his corner, Apollo flamboyantly makes an even bigger show than when he first fought Rocky, which includes fireworks, James Brown performing "Living in America," and a patriotic theme, including a crowd implacably hostile to the visiting Soviet boxer who is confused by the whole spectacle. Before the match begins, Creed offers to put his gloves up with Drago, only for Drago to ominously mutter "you will lose." Apollo starts the fight in his trademark manner, dancing around the ring and flicking jabs at Drago. Apollo's punches, however, have no effect on the giant Russian, and Drago, after waiting for the perfect moment sustaining his jabs, throws a crippling right hand that catches Apollo off-guard. Drago then batters Apollo with a series of devastating punches, leaving him bloodied and battered at the end of the round.

Rocky pleads with Apollo to quit the fight, but Creed refuses to give up, telling Rocky to not stop the fight no matter what happens. The match ends in tragedy in the second round as Drago pounds Creed without mercy. Tony "Duke" Evers begs Rocky to throw in the towel, but Creed refuses to let him, diving rashly back into combat. Even as Creed stands limp, dazed and unable to defend himself, Rocky does not throw in the towel. Drago continues launching blow after blow to the head of his defenseless foe, and following one final hard punch, Creed drops to the canvas and dies in the ring.

After Apollo's funeral, feeling wracked with grief over not stopping the fight, and incensed by Drago's cold indifference to Apollo, ("If he dies, he dies.") Rocky decides he must avenge Apollo's death and sets a match with the Russian, for Christmas Day, in Moscow, but neither Rocky's world heavyweight title is on the line nor is there any purse, for the boxing commission refused to sanction the fight.

Finally, Balboa decides to get away from everything by training in the USSR. Adrian tries to talk Rocky out of it, fearing for his life, but Rocky is undeterred, realizing that Apollo was right, that fighters are a breed apart and there are certain things they have to do. After saying goodbye to his son, Robert, Rocky flies with Duke and Paulie to a remote and rustic part of the Soviet Union to train.

Serious training begins in earnest for the two warriors, although their methods differ wildly. Drago, often attached to electrodes and constantly monitored by computers, works out with ultra hi-tech equipment. Like a machine responding to the flick of a switch, he snaps out punches at blinding speed whenever ordered, coupled with regular injections of what are implied to be anabolic steroids. Rocky, on the other hand, uses only whatever material is available. He climbs rope, does pull-ups on wooden beams, jogs past Russian peasants, chops wood, runs up snowy embankments, lifts huge rocks, and struggles mightily with a rock-filled sled, dragging it up the side of a mountain. KGB agents observe Rocky's movements wherever he goes from a distance. He is almost ready, but he's missing one thing. When Adrian shows up unexpectedly, to support him emotionally, providing more reason to succeed, Rocky begins to train harder than ever before. His heart is restored, and he is once again at his physical and emotional best, so much so, the day before the fight, he outruns the KGB agents in the car, and finds the strength to climb a mountain, throwing his arms up in victory and shouting Drago's name.

After intense preparation for both fighters, the two men finally meet in the ring. Rocky once more dons Apollo's stars and stripes shorts as he did against Clubber Lang. The match is set in Moscow, before the Politburo, and is broadcast across the globe. Much like Apollo did in the previous fight, the Soviets introduce Drago with an elaborate, patriotic ceremony that puts the attending audience squarely on the side of Drago, leaving Rocky to be fiercely booed, much like the American crowd cheered Creed and booed Drago in Las Vegas.

After the ring introductions, an impassive Drago tells Rocky, "I must break you." After a pulverising first round, with Drago easily winning, Rocky comes back toward the end of the second and lands a shot that cuts Drago just below his eye. With Drago's confidence shaken by the injury and Rocky's apparently limitless endurance and resilience, this is a turning point as Rocky and Duke see that Drago is not superhuman as he appears, conversely while Drago describes Rocky as not a human but a "piece of iron." After scoring the devastating punch against Drago, Rocky violently pummels Drago to the extent where (after the bell has been rung numerous times) Balboa has to be physically pulled off Drago. Drago, in turn, punches Balboa in the face, to which Rocky grabs Drago, lifts him up, throws him to the ground, and the duo brawl until they are separated by their respective managers.

The fight degenerates into a brutal battle of stamina and will across all fifteen rounds. Towards the end, the Soviet crowd has been won over by Rocky's determination and endurance, and have begun chanting his name. Koloff, angered by the crowd's change in mood and fearful of retribution from the Soviet premier, gets up from the premier's box and goes to Drago's corner to berate his performance, throwing Rimsky aside. Drago clutches Koloff by the throat, lifts him off the ground, and tosses him aside, saying "I fight to win ... for me ... FOR ME ....!!" (the last part directed at the premier) The bell rings for the last time and Rocky, all but dead on his feet, takes one crushing blow after another from Drago. The crowd starts chanting, "Rocky, Rocky..." and suddenly, Balboa comes alive and smashes away at the Soviet, eventually knocking him down and out of the ring as Drago's endurance finally runs out. Even the Soviet premier (who strongly resembles real-life Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev) and his aides respectfully stand and applaud Rocky.

Following his victory, Rocky gives an impassioned speech to the crowd, acknowledging their initial and mutual disdain for each other, and how they've come to respect and admire each other during the fight. Saying that the brutal battle between him and Drago in the ring was better than war between their two countries, he brings the crowd, including the Politburo, to its feet in applause, by claiming that "if I can change... and you can change... everybody can change!"

Production

Wyoming doubled for the frozen expanse of the Soviet Union. The small farm where Rocky lived and trained was located in Jackson Hole, and the Grand Teton National Park was used for filming many of the outdoor sequences in Russia. The PNE Forum at Hastings Park in Vancouver, British Columbia, served as the location of Rocky's Soviet bout. The site would later house production of another U.S.-Soviet sports film, " Miracle".

Sylvester Stallone has stated that the punching between him and Dolph Lundgren in the first portion of the fight is completely authentic. One particularly forceful punch to Stallone's chest slammed his heart against his breastbone, causing the heart to swell and his breathing to become labored. Stallone, suffering from labored breathing and a blood pressure over 200, was flown from the set in Canada to St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica and was kept in intensive care for eight days. [cite web | url=http://www.aintitcool.com/node/30932 | title=Stallone Interview With Ain't It Cool News | publisher=AICN |accessdate=2007-01-25]

Additionally, Stallone claims that Lundgren nearly forced Carl Weathers to quit in the middle of filming the Apollo versus Drago exhibition fight. Lundgren tossed Weathers into the corner of the boxing ring, prompting Weathers to leave the ring and announce that he was quitting and calling his agent. [cite web | url=http://www.aintitcool.com/node/30932 | title=Stallone Interview With Ain't It Cool News | publisher=AICN |accessdate=2007-01-25]

Casting

Sportscaster Stu Nahan makes his fourth appearance in the series as commentator for the Apollo/Drago fight. Warner Wolf replaces Bill Baldwin (who had died in 1982) as co-commentator. Apollo Creed's wife Mary Anne (Sylvia Meals) made her second of two appearances in the series, the first being in "Rocky II". Stallone's then-wife, Brigitte Nielsen, appeared as Drago's wife, Ludmilla.

The Soviet premier in the sky box during the Rocky-Drago match strongly resembles contemporary Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. Actor David Lloyd Austin later played Gorbachev in "The Naked Gun" and played Russian characters in other films.

Music

The soundtrack for the movie included "Living in America" by James Brown; the film's music was composed by Vince DiCola, and also included songs by John Cafferty and The Beaver Brown Band, Survivor, Europe, Kenny Loggins, and Robert Tepper. Go West wrote "One Way Street" for the movie by request of Sylvester Stallone.

Vince DiCola replaced Bill Conti as the film's composer. Bill Conti would return for "Rocky V" and "Rocky Balboa". "Rocky IV" is the only film in the series not to feature original music by Conti. However, it does features arrangements of themes composed by Conti from the previous film in the series such as "The Final Bell."

Reception

Critical response

"Rocky IV" received mixed reviews from critics. It has a 44% "rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes, giving it a average rating of 4.7/10. It has a low 29% "cream of the crop" rating. Roger Ebert gave the film a rating of 2 stars, stating "Even Sylvester Stallone seems to be getting tired of the series; as the writer and director, as well as the star, he puts himself through the same old paces.". However, many fans have come to accept this fourth entry as a guilty pleasure, and it has solidified itself as a piece of 80's pop culture.

The film was the subject of a landmark case in copyright law, Anderson v. Stallone. The court held that when an author appropriates characters from another author's copyrighted works (in this case, the earlier "Rocky" films), he has no copyright interest in any part of the new work, even the original parts (meaning Stallone won the case).

U.S. Box Office

When compared to the other "Rocky" installments, "Rocky IV" is the most successful in terms of non-adjusted box office gross. [cite web | url=http://www.boxofficemojo.com/franchises/chart/?id=rocky.htm | title=Box Office gross |publisher=BoxOfficeMojo.com |accessdate=2007-01-01]

*"Rocky": US $117.3 million
*"Rocky II": US $85 million
*"Rocky III": US $125 million
*"Rocky IV": US $127.8 million
*"Rocky V": US $40.9 million
*"Rocky Balboa": US $70.3 million

These figures only reflect movie theater ticket sales in the United States. The most profitable of the films by far was the original "Rocky", which only spent a production budget of US$1,100,000

Worldwide box office performance

"Rocky IV" made $175 million outside of the U.S., grossing an overall $300 million worldwide, the most out of any "Rocky" film. Considered a milestone in the capabilities of action cinema, "Rocky IV" is the most financially successful sports film of all-time. Fact|date=June 2008

References

External links

* [http://www.rocky.com/flash.html Official Rocky Anthology Site]
*imdb title|id=0089927|title=Rocky IV
*mojo title|id=rocky4|title=Rocky IV
* [http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/rocky_iv "Rocky IV" @ Rotten Tomatoes]


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