IHAO on ... Rocky IV

Rocky ends the Cold War.


I just ...

This ... when I was a kid, this is the one I remembered the most of the bits and pieces I had seen.  I know I had seen the whole in Russia section.  Ivan Drago was super cool.  Now I watch the whole thing and ... I just ...

This movie isn't good.  5 montages.  5 song-segments of radio-play pop/rock songs played throughout, with one repeated (the one isn't "Eye of the Tiger").  Including a whole James Brown concert for "Living in America."  Ivan Drago is the least intimidating opponent Rocky has faced in 4 films.  Because he's the least interesting character.  Yeah, yeah, he SHOULD be intimidating, but he isn't.  At all.  All the good will these films had built up in me is replaced.  Just everything is wrong.  Paulie is now just comic relief, slipping and falling in the snow, a-hyuck!  Adrian doesn't act like Adrian so that there can be conflict that doesn't matter because it isn't given any weight because this movie is about the COLD WAR, DAMNIT!

AND THERE IS AT LEAST ONE HUMAN-SIZED, ANIMATRONIC, A.I. POWERED ROBOT.  I say at least, because there are two voices, and one is referred to as Paulie's and in a different scene a robot is referred to as Rocky Jr.'s.  Could be the same robot.  Doesn't matter, THERE IS A ROBOT!

All the grounded work, all the realism, all the character work is just gone.  The movie even opens with two boxing gloves, each emblazoned with the flags of Russia and the US, punch each other AND EXPLODE INTO A HUGE SHOWER OF SPARKS.  I got so fed up with all the montages and music video sequences.  I was yawning, barely able to pay attention.

Not only that, but all the tropes of the series that aren't montages and Survivor, they are just not there.  The saddest for me was the lack of the scrolling credit.  I loved seeing the credits scroll across the screen in the first 3.  But here, nope.  We need more ROBOT!

Haters gonna hate.

I'm sure that taken alone, without any acknowledgement of any of the other films ... nope, wait, all the characterization requires you to have seen at least Rocky III, if not everything.  I didn't mention it in my Rocky II or III reviews, but I loved that each film COULD standalone, it was strong enough and presented the characters in such a way that you learned who everyone was organically.  But nope, if you don't know about how Paulie is, then that sucks to be you in Rocky IV.  Same holds true for Apollo, his trainer, Adrian, even Rocky himself.  So many corners are cut to tell this story "efficiently" and just boringly.  We don't get any time to be with the characters, we just cut to the next montage to show time going by EVEN FASTER.

If you cannot tell, I am not a fan of this film.  I did not go in, expecting it to be ... this.  I did not go in expecting to be so heartbroken.  I did not go in to see such a ... just a bad movie.  I bet a lot of folks out there can really love it for its camp and ridiculousness.  But even the fights, which I praised in II and III ... they aren't anywhere near as good.  I am so saddened.  Ugh.  Tomorrow, Rocky V (the one considered the worst by most people I've ever talked to about the Rocky films).

Grade: C-

Rocky Movie Review Bank

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