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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Rocky IV (1985)



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Rocky IV is a considerable step down from the previous episodes in the series. The writing is shallow and poor, sloughing off too much of the narrative to pop music montages (there are four) and clumsily handling nationalistic issues. The ultimate message of the film is that national rivalry is a bad thing, and we should learn to get along. But the message comes too late, as scenes that hinge on its delivery have already played out. During the first fight, we're pretty much rooting for the Russian. Save for a callous remark at the fight's close, we might be rooting for him through to the end; as it is, Rocky's crusade to beat him in the ring doesn't make a lot of sense.

The climactic fight is a good one, though, I'll say that much. Although Rocky seems to have resumed blocking punches with his face again, forgetting the lessons of the previous film, the fight is directed with confidence and intensity. Sadly, then things get corny again, when Rocky makes a goofy victory speech, and the crowd is unrealistically swayed in his favor. This isn't a boring movie, but it's not a good one, either.

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