Just before Christmas Rocky IV was on cable yet again, and I watched the last hour of it with my wife and kids. While it was never what anyone would call a ‘good’ movie, certainly not like the original Rocky, it has often been a guilty pleasure because it executes perfectly on the whole built-up feel-good emotional roller-coaster motif.
But watching it with kids who were born after the memory of the Soviet era had exited the cultural mainstream brought just how out-of-date all of the Cold War jingoism has become. I would have to put Rocky IV into the category of things that have aged prematurely and are cemented forever in time …but unlike something like Saturday Night Fever, Rocky IV has little in the way of depth or quality to attract new viewers or keep interest except as a curiosity. Stallone has kept his career alive, and even pulled Dolph Lungren into his recent action-hero flick, but most of the rest of the cast has long since disappeared from view – with Brigette Neilson’s latest appearance being as a wacko on Surreal Life! Heck, even the legacy of James Brown is tainted by his years of spousal abuse …
Back to Rocky IV: who can forget the theme of the underdog Rocky against the mechanized wonder Drago, and how it echoed many feelings about how the Russian Olympic teams had become more and more a product of massive infrastructure and drug-enhancement, and less about the passions of the athletes? The final scenes of the fight before the Politburu with the obvious Gorbachev-alike? The imagery is so heavy-handed that it is often unintentionally hilarious.
But all that aside, it remains fun to take a quiz based on the movie to see how well you remember this dated, mediocre, celebration of jingoistic pugilism!
So … how did you do? I don’t know if I am proud or embarrassed, but … here is my score: