When the Soviet Union is allowed to participate in professional boxing matches, their first competitor is Ivan Drago (Dolph Ludgren). Wanting to prove Drago isn’t a worthy competitor, Apollo (Carl Weathers) steps up as his first opponent. Drago mercilessly defeats Apollo. To avenge his friend’s defeat, Rocky (Sylvester Stallone), travels to the Soviet Union to train and fight Drago on his home turf.
The Rocky series’ strength is its character development. At the expense of watching boxers fight in the ring, the audience has gotten to know Rocky, Adrian, and Paulie. Rocky IV puts much more focus on the characters inside the ring, which is something I have mentioned in my previous reviews I thought was missing from the earlier movies, but this movie feels uneven. It has a shorter run times than its predecessors so it moved with a quicker pace, which may have hurt it rather than helped.
However, since it did spend more time during the boxing matches, the match between Rocky and Drago has been my favorite in the series so far. Although Rocky didn’t appear to use what he learned from Apollo in Rocky III, which feels inconsistent, especially since Apollo’s trainer is now acting as Rocky’s trainer. Rocky’s training in the mountains was a fun twist on his normal regiment. I did enjoy the soundtrack quite a bit, too. Just listening to the soundtrack made me feel like I was in the 1980s. It was pure 80s rock, right up my alley. Even though I did like the music, I did miss Bill Conti’s traditional score from the other movies. The main theme showed up once or twice but not as often as before. Rocky IV has been the most exciting of the Rocky films so far, but it missed much of the characterization that has defined the series up to this point.
Cast & Crew
Sylvester Stallone – Director / Writer
Bill Conti – Composer
Sylvester Stallone – Rocky Balboa
Talia Shire – Adrian
Burt Young – Paulie
Carl Weathers – Apollo Creed
Tony Burton – Duke
Dolph Lundgren – Drago
Brigitte Nielsen – Ludmilla
Michael Pataki – Nicoli Koloff
Rocky Krakoff – Rocky, Jr.