Rocky IV ⭐️⭐️½
Before getting to the topic of this post, happy Valentine’s Day to all who celebrate. Hope you can spend at least some of it with the ones you love today.
Sylvester Stallone has been working on a director’s cut of Rocky IV for some time now, with the only real news is the minor controversial removal of Pauly’s robot (see: Sico The Robot’s Owner Cries Foul On Being Cut From Rocky IV Director Cut)
A spoiler alert. If you haven’t seen Rocky IV, yet, this post contains spoilers, so might want to exit at this point.
… you’ve been warned, SPOILERS ahead …
The original plan seemed to have been to have it ready in time for the 35th anniversary. Since that has come and gone, no release date has been announced. Cinemablend ponders a deeper question, that maybe the director’s cut will be worse than the original theatrical cut.
A Rocky IV new cut is most interesting because it’s something that i don’t think a lot of people were really looking for. Frequently, Director’s Cuts end up existing because the director had a problem with the final version of the film. The movie that we got was not the one that the director wanted to present. Yet, there’s been no indication that’s the case with Rocky IV. Everybody seems to love that movie, so the idea of changing could actually do more harm than good. We’ll find out very soon.Sylvester Stallone Shares An Update On His Rocky IV Director’s Cut – CINEMABLEND
First off, have to take exception with the idea that “everybody seems to love that movie” — um, no. It’s one of the more mediocre Rocky movies in the series (see: Ranking Stallone’s Rocky and Creed Films). It’s full of 80s shlock and cold war politics stupidity. Ivan Drago is a comically, steroids-infused opponent and it’s got two very, very long training montages. That said, it has some great dramatic moments involving Apollo Creed, awesome music (Robert Tepper, see: Rocky 4 Director’s Cut Will Not Have Paulie’s Funky Robot) and an epic, if cartoonish final fight that leaves Rocky brain battered.
This all got me thinking again (see: Sylvester Stallone Confirms Rocky IV Director’s Cut will be “amazing” – What would make it better?), but instead of what would make it better, if anything Stallone could cut to make it better? Removing Pauly’s rather pointless robot, Sico, is a start, but the cutting doesn’t end there. Do we need the James Brown “Living In America” concert performance before the exhibition fight between Apollo and Drago? Do we need the Rocky flashback video to Robert Tepper’s “No Easy Way Out”? Do we need to have multiple training montages in Russia? If all of that were cut, the runtime would be less than hour.
The bottom line, the actual storyline for Rocky IV is pretty bare bones. If you take out the extraneous stuff that makes it almost like an MTV video movie — again, good music, not bashing that — what’s left? A story about Rocky in revenge mode in Russia? Yeah, that’s about it.
The more I think about a director’s cut of Rocky IV, the less interested it all seems. It’s a chance to refresh the movie for others to watch, but honestly in retrospect, it’s not a very good movie, except perhaps providing a dramatic arc to the evolving relationship between Apollo and Rocky. What does it do for Adrian and Rocky? Nothing. They have a fight about Russia and loss. Pauly is shoehorned into the story with no real purpose. No Mick, he’s already gone, but we get Apollo’s main trainer, Duke, that again doesn’t do much. In fact, he mostly steps aside so Rocky can mostly train himself.
It’s funny how rewatching some movies, revisiting them, can sometimes ruin the original viewing experience. This is a movie I thought was entertaining, but weak, in the 80s, now 35+ years later, it feels even weaker.
Can Stallone’s director’s cut make it worse? Maybe it can. What do you think?