Thursday, December 26, 2013

ROCKY IV (1985)

USA!  USA!  USA!!!  That's right comrades, this is the Rocky where those dirty Russians send their top athlete, Ivan Drago, over to America to pound every last drop of patriotic blood out of anybody who's stupid enough to step into the ring with him.  And because he's such a badass he initially wants to skip all the preliminary stuff and go directly into a championship bout with Rocky.  That's out of the question so instead Apollo Creed agrees to an exhibition match to see what this Ruskie's got.  And apparently he's got a lot because within just a few rounds he beats Creed to death!!

Fueled by revenge and patriotic fervor, Rocky agrees to fight Drago...in Russia!!!  One advantage that Rocky has over Drago is his ghetto workout area.  Ever since Part II whoever has the most rundown shitty-looking workout area wins the big fight.  So while Drago is over here using computers and high fangled equipment to train with Rocky is working out in a functioning barn complete with a cow, rocks, ropes and a fire!

1985 was a great year for Sylvester Stallone.  Not only did he make the greatest Rambo movie of all time, but he also made what is arguably the greatest Rocky movie of all time.  Even in 1985 money ROCKY IV still made nearly double what ROCKY BALBOA did in 2006 money!  Yeah, it's just formulaic propaganda, but it's so awesomely 80's you can't help but get all pumped up while watching it and look back nostalgically at how simple the 80's seemed.  Highly recommended.

Part 1 - Rocky
Part 2 - Rocky II
Part 3 - Rocky III
Part 5 - Rocky V
Part 6 - Rocky Balboa

ROCKY III (1982)

This is the one with Mr. T in it.

After winning the championship at the end of Part II Rocky goes on to defend his crown numerous times.  At the same time, a brutal up-and-comer (Mr. T as Clubber Lang) has been climbing the ranks.  With tons of money in the bank and some serious health issues  Rocky decides to retire.  This doesn't site well with the new top contender: Lang.  Lang starts talking so much shit that Rocky agrees to fight him.  Stuff happens and who else but Apollo Creed comes to help Rocky train for the big showdown with Mr. T.

Artistically it might not be up the the standards of the first Rocky film, but as far as entertainment goes III is a lot of fun.  Mr. T plays a great bad guy, the charity match with wrestler Hulk Hogan is awesome, the training with Apollo makes you wanna dropkick the TV and go run up and down the beach until your lungs explode and that ending ohhh shiiiiitttt!!!  This movie has the eye of the tiger like a motherfucker!

Part 1 - Rocky
Part 2 - Rocky II
Part 4 - Rocky IV
Part 5 - Rocky V
Part 6 - Rocky Balboa

Saturday, December 21, 2013

ROCKY II (1979)

ROCKY II takes off immediately where the original left off.  After recovering in the hospital Rocky decides to retire from boxing because Adrian is very concerned about his health.  Rocky and Adrian get married and with the prize money they buy a small place to call home, but soon the money has run out and Rocky has to get a job.  Adrian even gets a part-time back at the pet store despite the fact that she's pregnant.

Fuel by mountains of hate mail and sports commentators talking shit about his poor performance in the last fight, Apollo Creed has become obsessed with getting a rematch with Balboa.  He turns away more lucrative matches and refuses to fight anybody until he can clear his name and prove to the world that the last fight was just a fluke.  Despite his financial troubles Balboa turns down repeated offers for a rematch.  Finally he can't take it anymore and agrees to fight.  Adrian is not happy.

Whenever I watch ROCKY I usually just toss in Part II and look at it as one continuous film.  And it's easy to do since they are hooked together so seamlessly.  Sometimes I get all crazy and just watch the first four all in one giant megapump.  Back to Part II though, it's a great film.  I have no idea if Stallone ever intended for the story to continue on and that's why he ended the original at the exact moment that he did, but II seems like a very natural progression of the story.  Burgess Meredith is even greater in this film than he was in the original, the music is back, all of the original cast appear to be back, the workout montages are back, in fighting to overcome the odds are back, pretty much it's just a lot of old shit from the first film all over again, but it works and it's a great movie.  Highly recommended.

Part 1 - Rocky
Part 3 - Rocky III
Part 4 - Rocky IV
Part 5 - Rocky V
Part 6 - Rocky Balboa