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Rocky 4 (DVD)

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    Your dooyooMiles Miles

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      01.08.2011 18:35
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      Fourth film taken to the next level!

      Doing a lot of travelling means that I spend considerable time on trains and planes visiting various areas of the country, of course with cut backs this is soon to become coach travel through National Express! However on a journey of whatever length I always tend to get my head into a book or watch a film on my PSP or laptop, so the collection of UMD's and DVD's that I have are starting to grow and grow. One film that I ensure I take with me is Rocky IV, even though I reviewed this as part of the boxed set some time ago I think the film simply captures a time where politics were used for many plots of many movies.

      After the exploits with the death of Rocky's trainer in the previous film, the story continues shortly after the credits from Rocky III, the story unfolds as Rocky is given a chance to back up his old friend Apollo Creed in a exhibition bout in Las Vegas against a massive unknown Russian called Ivan Drago, whose entry into the sport has come under scrutiny from all parts of the American media. Rocky is devastated when Creed is killed by the fists of Drago in the early part of the bout. The focus is back on Balboa knowing that he has to get into the ring to avenge Creeds unnecessary death in a fight that is simply far more than two men, as its two nations against each other. From the opening titles where you see two boxing gloves, one with the American flag and the other with the Russian flag hit each other head on you know that the mood of the film has been set and the resulting explosion of the impact could lead to anything happening. The film was released in 1985 and the fact the cold war was at its peak shows immensely in the film, this does tend to date the film somewhat and show a completely different era where the Russian block was somewhat cut off from the rest of the world. However Stallone who directed this film has delivered a good film that puts Balboa in a situation. The fight isn't sanctioned and therefore this is one film that he can't lose the title to Drago, and I think because this is a stand alone fight the emphasis has been moved away allowing a freer and open approach to the story. Okay I wouldn't expect to see Balboa doing the action thing(like Rambo) as his war is always going to be in the boxing ring, but this is a far more intense film than and a million miles away from the first three, in fact the last half isn't even set in America as Rocky goes to Moscow to fight!

      The cast that appear in the film are simply a continuation of the previous films, Stallone playing the lead again, only this time the opportunity to really buff up has been taken and the man looks primed for the boxing ring. As he wrote the film as well you can see that the dialogue has been kept to the minimum, yet the characters around him are played in the same way that they have been before. This is a slightly different Rocky compared with the other films, a more lonely character than before due to the circumstances and yet more of fighter towards the end. His opponent is far taller and far more dangerous and played by Dolph Lungren, Ivan Drago is an opponent to be feared. Drago's appearance is solid stone, with a blonde military flat top haircut and a similarly buffed body. In fact Lungren only gets three lines in the whole film as it his co-stars that do all the talking for him, however in the ring it's a different story.

      Co starring in the film is Brigitte Nielsen, she was Stallone's wife at the time. A gorgeous European blonde that again has a role that is locked down in the film, this surprised me give the fact that she is the counterpart of Adrian Balboa and only appears briefly throughout. Although when she does talk at the early scene at the press conference she does tend to come across as slightly wooden in delivery of her dialogue, so maybe it was a good thing!

      Adrian Balboa is played by Talia Shire; she is Rock's wife and backbone in the films. Shire gets the opportunity halfway through the film to seriously let rip about Rocky fighting Drago. She comes across as a force of nature and has to deal with the press head on. I have always liked Shire in these films given the strength of who Adrian Balboa is and what she has come from when Rocky met her in the first film. She is a character that knows what she has come from and is grounded enough to realise that she knows the stakes of what Rocky is could be about to lose.

      I was surprised to watch the character of Apollo Creed get brutally murdered so early in the story, and really this is the catalyst for the whole film. Stallone does carry the emotions of the character well and shows his depression and solitude in a way that shuts him off from the rest of the world and more importantly those around him. Adrian again comes to the rescue in a piece that seems to be rather formulaic and also mandatory to the story to give him his kick he needs, okay I can understand this but this is something that has been prevalent in almost all the films that she gives him some incentive to continue. As this is the eighties the inclusion of pop music that is played over scenes in the story is done in such a way that the film has its own pop video included, there are two such instances of these. Firstly when Balboa leaves home after the funeral of Creed where various flashbacks are done with Creed on the floor and Rocky romancing Adrian from the earlier films, with quick sobering shots of Drago ready to take Rocky on. This scene itself is actually quite chilling as the awesome stature of the Russian does genuinely look frightening to see and this gives some idea of the distress that Rocky is going through. Actually there's a third musical interlude as well... James Brown sings Living in America in full Uncle Sam outfit and turns the stage into 4th July! Real subtle!

      One trademark of the film is the training montages, here its awesome although this has become a focal pint of parody in shows like Family Guy due to the retro eighties style it has been shot in. With cut images transferring between Rocky and Drago to show how each man is training, Rocky training outside in Russia in three foot of snow then inside the cabin lifting carts and barrels as weight whilst Drago trains in what looks like PC World with Russian scientists and a controversial scene that depicts how alternate methods. On the whole this is blood pumping stuff with Rocky on a run losing his KGB escort to go and climb a mountain as part of his training regime. These scenes alone are immensely energetic and through slow motion are powerful in their own right, I know the first time I saw this part of the film that my heart was racing and I felt like I had just had a workout. The brutality of the fight itself is at a very high level and even though this last just 20 minutes in length the whole scenario that has been set up is simply charged with energy. Blood and courage is abundance throughout and yet you cant help feeling that this is eighties propaganda at its peak given the setting of Moscow on Christmas Day and the fact the Russian Government is in attendance to watch the fight. Stallone has paid homage to the Russians and throughout the film has taken quite a wide stance in what is shown, in fact the soldiers uniforms and costumes, and the details such as the extras actually looking Russian means that he has had genuine affection for ensuring the look is correct, however every now and then a little thing is shown or said that makes you think that the Americans are saying they are better than the Russians, yet after watching again and again the actions are never returned. However maybe the end scene might restore balance after what has been said and done, although some may think its quite cringing to watch and even bordering on the embarrassing, this was a time when the Berlin Wall was up and wasn't going to come down for years so in some respects I can understand why this was written in this way.

      The quality is great and the colours as well as the transfer to disc is sharp and clear, I always tend to wear head phones on the train when I watch this on my laptop and this gives the film an almighty clarity which is exceedingly impressive, especially noticeable in the fight scenes as the impact sounds and screams of pain are horrifically solid. Thankfully as the full charge of the laptop is three hours, the film is at only 91 minutes in length so it can be watched in theory without the requirement to recharge at any point. Still far shorter than the other five films and interestingly if you take out the musical "interludes" then that would knock out a further 10 minutes! Also as this is the bare bones DVD, expecting extras would lead to dispointment as well as there isn't any to watch.

      Overall it's a good entry to the series as well as the sheer loonacy, but step back for a minute and take away the propaganda aspect and the film would be quite dull and boring, however with this as an ingredient in the mix the film does have a multi facet dimensional "thing" that makes it stand out. It is loud, brash and most of all entertaining and whether its for the right reason has to be determined after its been watched and even some 25 years after it was released then some may look at this as an embarrassing entry into the series when compared to the previous films, obviously the first being the leviathan given the story and what it achieved.

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        23.01.2010 05:22

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        Great rocky film for the 80's

        This is probably my favourite sequel. It's superficial compared to the others with little plot. It's a typical revenge film except it uses boxing as a tool for revenge. This was made during the cold war era so it makes the americans appear to be superior and the heroes of the movie. The fight scenes are great, my favourite of the series and definetely the most brutal. It's the shortest of the Rocky films in terms of running time but the pace flows thick and fast. It also has a great soundtrack with lots of catchy 80's rock songs. Drago is probably the most intimidating villain of the entire series, he's like the terminator and barely says a whole sentence throughout the whole film. It wouldn't surprise me if Stallone got the inspiration from the terminator for the drago character.

        If you are looking for a rocky film that has the drama and slow set up of the original then forget this one but if you are looking for pure action and a superficial plot then watch this.

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        08.01.2010 15:53
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        ok but a bit dated

        Rocky IV is the fourth film in the Rocky series of films and was released in 1986 and was the first film I ever went to without any adults. Rocky IV continues the tale of Rocky Balboa, the Philadelphia heavyweight boxer. Rocky has moved away from his Philadelphia home streets and now lives a nice comfortable existence as a wealthy boxer. However, he is still heavyweight champion of the world, a prize he's held since reclaiming the title from Clubber lang 3 years earlier.

        Rocky is however going to be tested by a Russian heavyweight called Ivan Drago, Ivan has been trained by the soviets best trainers and is all that is wrong about East european sport at the time. Ivan is pumped on drugs, has lost any sense of personality and has become a part of the machine with his only thought boxing and fighting. Ivan is 6'2 and has an amazing physique, he has huge punching power and almost no boxing skills except his huge punching power.

        Ivan comes over to the US and challenges Rocky, but Rocky refuses to fight a Russian and the lines in the film go a bit jingoistic with Rocky and Paulie his brother in law coming out with normal anti-communist rants. As an amateur Ivan cannot demand a fight but his jingoism forces Apollo out of his retirement and he challenges the Russian.

        Apollo recreates his old skills and dances around the russian until Ivan punches him and the fight turns in a second. Apollo then gets a beating and Rocky wants to stop the fight but Apollo stops him and goes out for the second round and is killed by Ivans huge punching power.

        Wraked by guilt, Rocky then accepts Ivan's challenge and goes over to Russia to fight the huge Russian.

        The film then becomes rather predictable, Rocky training, Rocky annoying Russians, Rocky avoiding the KGB, Ivan training which basically involves him punching a computer which can measure his punching power - ok we get the point Ivan has a huge punch.

        Rocky through his usual integrity goes into the fight and is the underdog but you know what will happen, Ivan in truth can barely move and is more like a statue with huge swinging arms. Rocky wins the fight in virtually the same manner as against Clubber Lang though the fight goes longer. Rocky then reclaims Americas position in the world and everything is right with the world.

        In truth the film is a little tired, Dolph Lundgren as Ivan can barely move and barely act and makes Sly look polished. Its a little dated and feels of its time and whereas the first two films this is a plus in this film it feels past its time and should have been the end of the franchise.

        Plus sides are the decent fight scenes, and the training scenes in Russia where of course it snows all the time.

        An enjoyable film but not a great one.

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          25.11.2009 19:58
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          A suprrisingly entertaining boxing film

          Released back in 1985 when the Soviet Union was still very much percieved as a threat to the American way of life, Rocky IV is an american propaganda film starring Sylvester Stallone and Dolph Lundgren. Rocky finds himself in the ring once more, except this time he is up against an almost superhuman fighter named Drago (Lundgren) moulded by Soviet scientists to be the most powerful boxer in the world.

          Drago is a truly wonderful pantomime villain, appearing cold and inhuman and oppressively large and powerful: essentially the contemporary American media portrayal of Russia condensed down into a single individual. When Rocky's old opponent and now friend Appollo Creed is killed in the ring by Drago things really get personal, with Drago muttering "If he dies, he dies" just to expel any doubt that he really is a savage and uncaring brute of the highest order.

          The film then turns into a bewilderingly long war of attrition between Rocky and the Russian, with Rocky refusing to give up despite having recieved enough blows to the head to turn his skull to powder, and through iconic use of a montage the audience is left wondering what will ultimately triumph: American resolve or Russian muscle? I wonder....

          Rocky IV is incredibly dumb and patronising, but if seen for the delerious prapaganda exercise that it is then it is actually very entertaining to watch, making it palatable when it would otherwise have been just another brainless sporting film.

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          01.10.2009 09:41
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          Rocky takes on the might of the Russian in revenge for the death of Apollo

          Rocky is living the good life, he still hold the Heavyweight title and is very happy. Things are about the change for Rocky when the Soviet Union announce that they are planning on bringing their prize fighter to fight in America and are after someone to fight against him.

          Their fighter is Ivan Drago who weighs 261 pounds and s over 6 foot tall and is undefeated and built like a brick s**t house! Rocky takes no notice of this and is not prepared to fight this amateur but his friend Apollo Creed jumps at the chance of coming out of retirement and fighting him. Rocky helps Apollo train and is their when the fight starts.

          Apollo is not prepared for the sheer might of Drago and the fight takes a drastic turn for the worst when Apollo actually dies in the ring. Rocky has to live with the guilt of not throwing in the towel as he was abiding by Apollo's wishes but he cannot live with this and see red.

          Rocky makes n known that he is now going to fight Drago but is it for the match or does Rocky want revenge? Just how will Rocky go fighting this monster of a man and how will his family and friends react to the news of the match?

          Now I have to admit that this for me was the best Rocky film which I had seen for some time I found the return of old characters very good and made the story continue from the previous ones easier. I did enjoy the storyline in this film and thought that it was very well throughout and a lot of research was done for it. Sylvester Stallone did a great job with the role of Rocky and I did warm to his character and felt that he came across as a much more mature and wiser man and fighter. He managed to show so many different emotions throughout the film and for me I thought he did a great job of showing an honest and emotional job with his grief for the death of Apollo.

          The supporting actors were all good in this film but the one which I did not warm to as with the other Rocky films was Pauly, he was slightly less annoying in this film but think the damage had been done with the previous times I had seen him. He did seem to be more friendly and helpful with Rocky though. Adrian was a much stronger character in this film and I liked how she grew though the previous films to be the strong woman she was in this one and she was great working with Rocky and their was a good chemistry with them.

          The one person which I did not want to like in this film was the character Drago as he did kill Apollo in the ring but for some reason I was unable to keep my eyes off him, maybe it did have something to do with the fantastic body he had as it certainly was not the way he spoke as he must have only said no more that 10 words throughout the film! He and his group of people were well thought-out character but I did not warm to them and some of the acting seemed very wooden.

          The film was made and set in the 1980's and this was very apparent from the clothes and the sets which were used. I think even though it did look very dated then just from the strength of the story this film is still great now. The scenery which we were treated to when Rocky went aboard was lovely, we got to see some great shots over snow covered mountains and this was very enjoyable. The music in the film was very much like the other Rocky films and a lot of the tracks were repeated from them. The one surprise which I thoroughly enjoyed was James brown singing at the opening of the boxing match. He looked and sounded amazing and he sang the great lively song, 'Living In America'

          The biggest and best bit of this film for both me and hubby had to be the fight scenes, these were so well made that at times I was wincing when they were punching each other. I thought that a lot of time and money was put into making them look so realistic. The actors really did give their all to these and my god they must have been fit to keep going and getting the action and punches just right.

          The DVD which we have does not have any bonus material but this was no great loss for me as I am not a fan of it anyway. The running time of the film is 87 minutes and I found this to be a good length as the story moved at a good pace from the start right to the very end. The certificate on this is a PG, there are some scenes of fighting but nothing to harsh. I managed to get this DVD for just £3 n Tesco which I felt to be a great price.

          Overall I am going to recommend this film as it follows on very well from the previous ones, we see a lot more from the character Rocky and the fights are amazing.

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            16.09.2009 01:04
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            It's a great no-brains boxing adventure that will remain a guilty yet highly enjoyable pleasure

            Rocky IV was the most commercially successful entry in the entire cannon. Stallone was on a fast ascent having scored massively with Rocky III and First Blood. He had defied conventions with Rocky III, making a third film that was actually more commercially successful than the first one. This was even more amazing, considering that Rocky II made over $30,000 less than the original. Stallone's change of tactic in opting for a more style over substance approach to his series had paid off. He would do the same with his Rambo character, taking it to extremes by turning the troubled by-product of the Vietnam War into a type of superhero. It seemed, going by what seemed to be happening in Rocky III, that his "no hope" boxer was destined to go the same way. Nevertheless, as a kid, I recall feeling the anticipation when I first saw the teaser trailer on a rental copy of Gremlins. A fearsomely tall Russian boxer (played by then newcomer Danish actor, Dolph Lundgren) stood alone, as the camera panned up his body and he delivered perhaps the longest monologue in English his character would ever utter: "My name is Drago, I am a fighter from the Soviet Union. I fight all my life and I never lose. Soon I will fight Rocky Balboa and the world will see his defeat. Soon the world will know my name!" Was the world ready for fourth helping of Rocky? It seemed like it couldn't wait.

            On the surface Time Out magazine described Rocky IV as a three act play. Act one was all about Apollo Creed's fateful match with the aforementioned Ivan Drago. Act two featured a recollecting Rocky driving his Lamborghini around to the track "No Easy Way Out" whilst we view a montage of the previous three Rocky films. Act three sees Rocky in Russia preparing to fight and then taking on Drago. It all seems quite cynical and shallow, but Rocky IV despite being loved by all Rocky fans as a guilty pleasure, including me, is technically the weakest of the entire series. Stallone, it appears, saw what worked in Rocky III and cranked it up for this picture.

            Once again, we see the death of a much loved character in the franchise. Once again, Rocky and Adrian face-off and it is Adrian's support at the end that matters the most to the Italian Stallion. Rocky III had a bad boy Mr T - Rocky IV gives us an even colder and more menacing opponent in Ivan Drago. Both these films present Rocky with less ambiguous opponents. Rocky III had "Eye of the Tiger", so Rocky IV gives us a host of destined-to-be classic '80s pop music. Rocky, once again, seems to be less of the unsophisticated slugger with a heart this time and waxes philosophically with Apollo Creed at the beginning and delivers a political message to the Russian premier and the rest of the world after a 15 round slug fest. If all this simplistic playing to the macho gallery isn't enough, the whole film is wrapped in the Cold War to make sure the Reagan era US patriots were on side. The aforementioned political message is perhaps the most embarrassing part of the whole picture.

            Having said all this, Rocky IV is easy entertainment and there are few people involved combat sports who don't love it. It's a straight revenge action adventure with imaginative training montages and plenty of all-American 1980s pomp and spectacle.

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            13.07.2009 17:16
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            A decent enough effort but definately not a knock out!

            Rocky IV is the fourth instalment in the Rocky franchise written and directed by the lead Sylvester Stallone, and it can't be denied that the film is a lot of fun to watch. However, i believe that's all it is. The previous Rocky's had more drama elements and more scenes where the pace was slowed down allowing for character development. Rocky IV, on the other hand blasts through the film a high speed which although provides an easy watching popcorn film, it also lacks the depth and emotion from the previous films.

            The story is Russian boxer Ivan Drago challenges the aging Apollo Creed to an 'exhibition', to which Rocky fails to persuade Apollo not to accept. Drago destroys Apollo in the ring which results in his death, leaving Rocky feeling responsible. The Italian Stallion then feels the only way he can make up for it, is to beat the Russian giant himself.

            The highlights of the film include the Hearts on Fire montage, Rocky and Apollo watching themselves fight in Rocky II and the ultimate David and Goliath fight at the end of the film; but the film has a lot of problems too. Firstly, it hasn't aged well. There's too many 'music montages' packed with eighties synths (The original Rocky composer, Bill Conti, isn't around for this film), there's too many 'cartoony' moments, and there's also an excruciating scene where Rocky decides to buy a robot for his Brother-in-law.

            The lack of Burgess Meredith (Mickey) and the city of Philadelphia also makes this 3rd sequel seem much more separated from its predecessors then it should. Looking back on it, you can't help but think it was made on the wave of the cold war, even though Sly has denied such claims.

            Overall, it's a good, enjoyable film that if you excuse a few bits is a great motivational film to watch, however because of the reasons stated I think it's probably the weakest Rocky of the series.

            The DVD itself also features no deleted scenes, commentary or featurettes...something that needs to be changed when the series gets inevitably released on blu-ray.

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            06.07.2009 00:52
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            A disappointing sequel

            As if three instalments wasn't quite enough for you, Rocky IV delivers more family drama, more boxing, but the heart of the series has by this point sadly diminished. The third film was entertaining but showed a series about to flag, and this pretty hokey instalment cements that sentiment.

            After winning the title back from Clubber Lang in the third instalment, Rocky Balboa is preparing for retirement, yet when old pal Apollo Creed takes on Russian superfighter Ivan Drago, he is killed during the fight, leading Rocky to enter the ring to face Drago in his home country of Russia. Unfortunately, a lot of the film is mired by a ridiculously jingoistic, nationalistic sentiment, wherein the Russians are represented as somewhat uncouth "others", and Drago in particular is essentially depicted as an affectionless machine, compared to Rocky, who, as we know, is a very human, sympathetic figure.

            In fact, the only fronts where the film delivers is performance wise, where everyone is on top form once again, and also the actual fighting scenes themselves, which are again well directed by Stallone himself. Other than that, it's a pretty dated and absurd little film that has some cheesy charm, but is mostly just a letdown that lacks the heart of the previous films.

            A weak entry into the Rocky series that's nowhere near as good the first three, Rocky IV just doesn't pack the emotional punch of the previous films, and the jingoistic tone becomes irksome very quickly. It has also dated rather badly given how America's relations with Russia changed substantially during the film's production.

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              10.06.2009 14:45
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              Rocky fans will enjoy this sequel

              A new foe emerges in the boxing world, Drago (Dolph Lungren), from the Soviet Union. He is a 6 ft 4 inch, 261 pound fighter who has the entire Soviet Union nation behind him. In a cold war theme, Drago and his entourage visit the U.S.A. to organise an "exhibition" fight and show to the world that the Soviet Union can produce world class athletes using state of the art training methods.

              Rocky Balboa, the first choice opponent has kept his promise to Adrian and has retired from boxing to spend some well earned time with the family. However, Apollo Creed, nemesis turned friend of Rocky feels he has a point to prove to the boxing world and is keen to step back into the ring. However, the over confident and underprepared Creed is savagely beaten to death by Drago in the exhibition fight, with Drago showing no remorse for his actions. Rocky feels compelled to fight Drago to avenge the death of his friend. He prepares for his toughest encounter yet in the heart of Moscow with a brutal training routine in the bitterly cold climate of Siberia.

              This film has had many mixed reviews; the plot is fairly weak and some of the acting by Sylvester Stallone (Rocky) in places is quite wooden. Also, the training methods used by Drago and his team look somewhat dated compared to current technology.

              However, the film is fairly unique compared to previous Rocky films in that Rocky has step out of his comfort zone and train and box overseas in an environment completely alien to him. The music and soundtrack are also excellent, particularly for the fight scenes in Moscow. Dolph Lundgren also puts in a good performance as the surly and unforgiving Drago. Overall, Rocky fans will enjoy this sequel.

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                28.01.2009 09:22
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                The best Rocky movie of all time.

                Rocky IV, the single best Rocky movie of all time and possibly the best sports movie of all time. Some would argue that, for sheer nostalgia and the beginning of the story, that Rocky I is the best in the series of 4 (we all know that Rocky V and Rocky VI should never have been made so I don't count them), but I would counter that argument with a run through of the emotion and excitement caused by this great movie.

                Rocky IV sees the emergence of a new threat in the boxing world and that threat comes in the form of Russian power house, to put it mildly, Ivan Drago (played by Dolph Lundgrun). Drago basically defeats all comes including the tragic demolition job on Rocky's former nemesis and now close friend Apollo Creed.

                Rocky, portraying the devastation he feels at not throwing in the towel, feels he has to get his revenge, despite pleas not to by all who love him. Just taking on Drago is not enough for Rocky though, he has to do it in Russia just to make it twice as hard.

                This sets the scene for not only the best Rocky fight in my opinion, but also the training and musical montage to end them all. Anyone who can sit there and watch Rocky running up the mountain in Russia to "Hearts on fire" and not want to go out for a jog themselves may not still be alive.

                Without revealing any of the plot it is difficult to describe the emotional rollercoaster that is this movie. There are so many highs and lows and I really do think I could watch this over and over and over again.

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                  02.01.2009 19:02
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                  Great Movie You Will Have A Blast

                  I have seen this movie numerous times and this part is second on my list of all the Rocky sequels.Apollo Creed is Rocky's best friend and is killed in a fight between him and a Russian boxer.Rocky is set back by this incident and decides to fight the russian boxer.Russian boxer gets all the modern facilities to train and even takes steroids to boost his performance while rocky goes to Russia to train,he uses all the natural means to train.His fight is scheduled to take place in Russia where everybody is against him.The fight is outstanding and in the end everybody starts to support Rocky.The direction is superb and Sylvester Stallone has acted superbly in the movie,it is a legendary movie and has two more sequels after it which are equally good,personally I find part 5 the best,this movie is a must watch and I surely recommend you this product,you wont be disappointed.

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                    05.12.2008 21:00
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                    A return to form on the whole for the Rocky series

                    In the mid-1980s, another Rocky sequel hit our screens. Rocky 4 came after a string of hits starring Sylvester Stallone, including 2 Rambo movies since the last Rocky film. Rocky 4 has had mixed reviews, with some slating it for the lack of acting betweent he two leads, Stallone and Dolph Lundgren, but others have hailed it as one of the most powerful Rocky films in terms of emotional drama and political statement.

                    Rocky Balboa's (Sly Stallone) former adversary and true friend, Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers), accepts a challenge from Russian boxer, military Captain Ivan Drago (Dolph LUndgren). Sadly, Creed dies during the fight from a vicious barrage of blows from the Russian, and following Drago's complete lack of care as to whether Creed lives or dies, Rocky is furious and vows to avenge the death by beating the Russian in the ring. Despite the usual begging from long-suffering partner Adrian (Talia Shire) and her brother Pauly (Burt Young), Rocky goes ahead with the fight.

                    The film was very emotional, and there are some scenes with Rocky training in extreme cold conditions where Stallone exudes an emotion that seems very real in his character's determination. The infamous flat performance ability from Lundgren is right at home in this film as he has to remain as cold and calculating as a robot, something he used to great effect in Universal Soldier, wher he actually played a robot! Stallone and Lundgren don't really pick the acting up at all, and with Weathers and Burgess Meredith as Rocky's old trainer not featuring as much in the film, the charisma is lacking throughout.

                    The film carried a bit of a political statement, with the advertising displaying the American Flag, and with the film being released with the Cold War heading potentially for a horrible conclusion as nuclear firepower continued to build, it provided the regular Joes in the street with at least a cinematic fight between the two superpowers. The politics showed US to be the good guys and the USSR to be the villains, but no less than any other film in tgime of conflict, however much the element of detente came into it.

                    I enjoyed this film, although the acting was rather dire and I didn't really get into it until near the end. The film has received mixed reviews, and it is nowhere near as good as the first two were, but it still holds its own and is a lot better than Rocky 3, which proved a disappointment with Mr T playing the villain.

                    The DVD for Rocky 4 is available from amazon.co.uk for £4.98.

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                      09.08.2008 22:52
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                      Rocky keep on punching....

                      Director: Sylvester Stallone
                      Producers: Robert Chartoff and Irwin Winkler
                      Writer: Sylvester Stallone
                      Stars: Sylvester Stallone, Talia Shire, Burt Young, Carl Weathers, Tony Burton, Brigitte Nielson and Dolph Lundgren.

                      Released in late 1985 this fourth in the line of Rocky's take the movie and the audience to the cold world of the Russia.


                      **BRIEF PLOT**

                      With Rocky retaining his title of heavyweight champion of the world he is again on the verge of retiring...until another unknown fighter wants a chance at taking away his belt.
                      This time the contender, Ivan Drago, (played by Dolph Lungdren) is from the Soviet Union and is an unbelievable size compared to Rocky.
                      Ivan visit the US with his wife Ludmilla, (played by Brigitte Neilson) and his team to challenge Rocky.
                      Meanwhile, Apollo Creed, (played again by Carl Weathers) decides to challenge the mighty Ivan to a charity boxing match instead.... Unfortunately this doesn't quite go to plan and the result leaves Rocky in no doubt but to take the big Russians request for fight.... only to have the entire thing staged in the cold depths of Moscow on Christmas day.

                      With Rocky again fighting with his emotions, regarding his wife Adrian's, (played by Talia Shire) fear over his safety, as well as training for the fight of his life he heads of to the Soviet Union to train, taking Paulie, (played by Burt Young) and Apollo's trainer, (played by Tony Burton).

                      With much training coming from both parties, in totally different ways, the fight is on...with Rocky being the definite underdog against the giant Russian.

                      **SOUNDTRACK**

                      1- Burning Hearts (by Survivor)
                      2- Hearts on fire (by John Caffery and the beaver Brown Band)
                      3- Double or nothing (by Kenny Loggins/Gladys Knight)
                      4- Eye of the Tiger (by Survivor)
                      5- War (by Vince DiCola)
                      6- Living in America (by James Brown)
                      7- No easy way out (by Robert Tepper)
                      8- One way street (by Go West)
                      9- Sweetest Victory (by The Touch)
                      10- Training Montage (by Vince DiCola)


                      **IN CONCLUSION**

                      Another great movie in the Rocky sequels.

                      Although the story is again the same format as the previous 3 Rocky's it still doesn't spoil the enjoyment of the movie.

                      This fourth Rocky is by far the best storyline with half the movie taking us to Russia as we watch Rocky train in a Neanderthal type of way, involving using rocks in a sling as weights and lifting a cart full of people....meanwhile, Drago is being trained in the most up to date gymnasium known to man...

                      The total difference in the way the men are training is a short story in itself, showing how you don't need to have the best equipment in the world to become a fine athlete, (which is what these two men are).

                      When Stallone steps into the ring after his unique way of training he looks fitter and more toned than ever before, like a solid mass of muscle and flesh.... And when he stands next to the gigantic figure of Dolph Lungdren it is like seeing two warriors ready for battle.

                      This movie really does roll along at a good speed and with the soundtrack playing in the right places it leads to a very viewable movie indeed....you will be tapping your toes to the upbeat soundtrack as you enjoy the good tempo of this one....



                      *Would I recommend this...?

                      Hell YES... I certainly would.

                      It is, in my opinion, the best of the Rocky movie to date, (which is rare indeed considering not many movie sequels are better than the first)... so to have the fourth movie in the set being as good as, or even better than the first is not often heard of...

                      Looking back to the first Rocky film, made in 1976, and comparing it to this brilliant sequel of sequels is a real eye opener, noticing the way in which Stallone character and life has risen, albeit fictitious.

                      Go on... add it to your collection... you can get a copy from www.amazon.co.uk for around £5.00 today....

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                        12.05.2008 17:47
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                        Great addition to the Rocky franchise, but still doesn't beat the first

                        The fourth installment of the popular Rocky series sees Stallone take Rocky to Russia to fight a cold war battle against their engineered top fighter.

                        The story begins with Rocky living in a luxury house and happy with what he has got in life. He is contemplating giving up his career in boxing and retiring with his wife and child, however events cause him to reconsider. A young, powerful Russian boxer named Ivan Drago finds himself thrust into a boxing ring with the ex-champion and friend of Rocky Apollo Creed. The fight is a brutal mismatch and ends in Ivan Drago causing the death of Apollo through the sheer strength of his punches. Rocky finds himself needing revenge on the Russian and against the advice of Adrian, his wife, and doctors he agrees to an America versus Russia match up on Russian soil. After a brutal training regime in the outskirts of Russia, Adrian revives her support for her husband, giving him the support he needs to fight the superior Drago. Drago is trained using the latest technological methods, but in the ring will the pressure of the occasion be too much for his inexperience.

                        The film is fairly short, which is not a bad thing as the film never drags on and there is always something happening. The high tech training methods of Dragon against the standard training of Rocky make for a message that there is more to winning than being technically superior and that heart comes into the equation aswell. Again the acting is great and the soundtrack fitting the film like a glove with the big themes and motivating scores.

                        This film like the previous two doesn't touch the heights of the first, but is a good film in its own right and the America versus Russia theme of the film gives it an added kick. Overall this a film well worth picking up, but I would recommend at least watching the first film before it so you will understand the characters and personalities which make these films so great.

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                          31.01.2007 18:14
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                          A guilty pleasure: you know you should hate it, but...

                          (film only review)

                          What’s it about?
                          ---------------------
                          America’s hold on the World Title is at risk when a Russian boxer enters the ring, threatening to destroy any fighter put before him.

                          Who’s in it?
                          ---------------
                          Once again, Sylvester Stallone reprises his role as Rocky, whilst Talia Shire crops up as his wife Adrian. Sadly, all traces of the nuanced performances from the original film are long gone. Instead, the actors simply rely on the fact that, since we’ve seen them three times before, we have enough invested in them emotionally. It’s sad to see what were originally very human characters become one-dimensional cardboard cut-outs.

                          Also returning is Burt Young as Rocky’s brother-in-law Paulie. Throughout the series, Paulie has always been a rough diamond – deeply protective of Adrian (though not always in a good way), jealous and insecure. By Rocky IV, however, he has been reduced to little more than comedy value. It’s a shame because, as shown in the original, when he’s given some proper acting to do, he’s more than up to the task.

                          Finally, you know how low a film has sunk when you find yourself typing the following sentence: Dolph Lundgren is probably the best actor in the film. This isn’t because he’s suddenly become a potential Oscar winner, but rather, because he’s not required to do a great deal, other than stand there and look good, speaking broken English. All of which play perfectly to Mr Lundgren’s “strengths.” Lundgren manages to look suitably aggressive, confused and vulnerable as the script requires and you can’t ask for any more than that!

                          Is it any good?
                          ------------------
                          By the time Rocky IV came around, the series had moved about as far away from its roots as was possible. The careful pacing and slow build up of the original have long since given way to all-out, over the top action fights. This may perhaps be more appealing to action fans, but for those of us ancient enough to remember Rocky, it’s a stain on the memory.

                          The shadowed, nuanced writing of the first film has also given way to over-simplistic stereotypes. Written at the height of the Cold War, the film has an unpleasant and slightly disturbing jingoism to it, which basically boils down to one thing: Everything American is good (hooray!), everything Russian is bad (boo!). Just in case you’re too stupid to get this message, the (late) Godfather of Soul, James Brown, even pops up in a cameo to perform “Living in America”, which tells everyone how great the U S of A is.

                          Attempts to give the film some sort of depth fail miserably. Any emotional impact some scenes might have had are diluted by the jingoism mentioned above. By the time of this film, Rocky has become has become just another all American action hero. He deserves better.

                          The directing (Sylvester Stallone again) also leaves a bit to be desired. In the fight scenes – so good in previous movies – there are some bits where it is obvious there has been no physical contact whatsoever, yet you get a meaty “thwack” sound as the punch “hits home.” Similarly, Stallone seems to have been reading the manual of his camera and discovered the extra functions like slo-mo, freeze frame and split screen. Whilst some of the other Rocky films have featured these, their use was limited and generally effective. Here, however, there are enough special effects to make Jack Bauer go home with a headache! Subtle, it ain’t.

                          Worse still, the fight scenes, such a crucial part of previous Rocky films, have now reached almost pantomime levels, certain parts of them being so ludicrous that you’ll be cringing in your seat. The (relative) realism of the previous fights has gone out of the window.

                          Oh yes, it also has the cheesiest, most vomit-inducing ending of all the Rocky films. In which our man becomes a leader in international diplomacy. No, seriously!

                          And yet…

                          I can’t help but like this film in an incredibly naff, bad, cheesy way. The story is rubbish, the characters simplistic and one-dimensional. Yet, there’s also a real sense of fun behind it too. Of course, you have to switch off from the fact that it is (at least in name) a Rocky film and just watch it as a piece of disposable entertainment.

                          For a start, there’s the music. This is the first film in the series which doesn’t rely totally on the excellent music from Bill Conti, and it’s surprisingly good. Featuring an array of different music from a variety of artists does actually add something to the film. Some of the music (particularly the training montage and the fight scene music) are superb and, whilst they don’t quite capture the same sense of exhilaration as Conti’s “Flying Harder”, they do come close.

                          Similarly, the training sequences are as good as ever. In fact, in some ways, Rocky IV is the closest to Rocky in this sense. Rocky is back to being the underdog, forced to improvise his training schedule with whatever comes to hand, whilst his opponent is surrounded by hi-tec equipment, monitoring and evaluating his every move. Once again, the training sequences prove to be one of the most entertaining and exhilarating parts of the film.

                          Conclusion
                          --------------
                          Rocky IV is a million miles away from its roots and is, in so many ways, a bad film. Yet, it’s not wholly beyond redemption, and there are parts which enjoyable. If you can get past the simplistic story and cardboard cut-out characters, past the jingoism and flag-waving, there’s a film here that falls into the “so bad it’s good” category. Definitely a guilty pleasure!

                          Basic Information
                          -----------------------
                          Rocky IV
                          1985
                          Director: Sylvester Stallone
                          Running Time: approximately 91 minutes
                          Certificate: PG

                          Trivia
                          -------
                          The strain on Stallone’s hands of playing Rocky was so great that he has flattened and misshapen knuckles today! Much of the damage was caused by punching the frozen meat carcasses in the original film.

                          © copyright SWSt 2007

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