Rocky IV | Chicago Reader

Rocky IV

As anticommie agitprop, there hadn't been anything this demented since Jack Webb's Red Nightmare. Every trace of rationality goes out the window as Sylvester Stallone imagines his Philadelphia pug battling for the honor of America in front of a Moscow audience that includes frothing look-alikes for Gorbachev and Gromyko. Rocky's opponent is a hulking, murderous product of Soviet steroids and high-tech exercise equipment (though the actor who plays him, Dolph Lundgren, sports an incongruous East Village haircut); on his side, our hero has only all-American wholesomeness and grit. The film runs through most of Leni Riefenstahl's bag of tricks as it builds up a patriotic frenzy, yet the crazed flag-waving would be a lot easier to take if it weren't so clearly a commercial calculation meant to salvage what is otherwise a crass, careless, shamelessly padded film (1985). With Talia Shire, Burt Young, Carl Weathers, and Brigitte Nielsen; Stallone directed. 91 min.

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