Yeah, I loved it as a kid. Most kids I knew did as well.
You get older, though, and it becomes glaringly obvious:
– COMMUNISM IS THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL
(so says, Rocky IV).
Die-hard Communists/anyone with the slightest bit of political knowledge/film critics/the not-so-easily-led will already be aware of this if they’ve seen Rocky IV, of course.
Take away the film’s simple revenge story, emphasis on music and montage, lectures about family values and the odd laugh from Uncle Paulie, and the film is nothing more than an overblown boast about the values of Capitalism and how one’s love for a nation will inspire just-rewards.
Some fan-boys have a tendency to rate Rocky IV as one of the greatest action spectacles of all time, overruling the ridiculousness of its politics.
That passes for entertainment, of course, but my fascination with Rocky IV now is not the same as it was back when I was young.
I’ll say it again: I loved this film as a kid (I think I was 6/7 when I first saw it). But there’s more here than Stallone’s ripped body and brightly-coloured shorts; and the more I see that housemaid robot in the Balboa mansion, the more I think his kid/family are all spoilt-rotten shits.
Rocky IV represents a time when Capitalist America was still trying to get one over on Soviet Russia during the Cold War-Reagan era.
Drago (Dolph Lundgren) – the antagonist – is portrayed as a state-aligned killing machine. He has big hair and doesn’t speak much out of fear of being called a traitor (grabbing his “owner” towards the end he screams, “I fight for me! For ME!!!”)
Rocky (Stallone) – the protagonist- of course, is a proud, grafting American. He relies on traditional methods, like chopping wood, lifting horse carts and running up big mountains for training (as opposed to the Russians who like to beef themselves up on steroids and take full advantage of their advanced machinery).
When the 2 fighters clash, Rocky is seen as the back-against-the-wall underdog (in stars n stripes); while Drago has the backing of a “warped” zombie-like Communist dictatorship (all the suits stand and salute in time to the Soviet anthems blaring out as the mountain-of-muscle makes his way to the ring to seal his fate).
By the time it’s all over, even Drago’s “people” are cheering for Rocky and America. Hoisted up in the middle of the ring with the red, white and blue draped over his shoulders, Rocky gives an inspiring speech of how we should all you unite and live in harmony.
Paulie’s comments at the press conference probably sum up the film best:
“Hey, least WE don’t keep our people behind a wall with machine guns!”
America: land of the free…
(conquering the world 1 film at a time).