The first three "Rocky" films made perfect sense as a complete trilogy of the famous pugilist's life so it was going to take a remarkable new twist to drag the saga into a fourth instalment.
Ignoring the dramatic elements that had made the previous films so strong, Stallone chose to use the enemies that helped make "Rambo: First Blood Part II" such a success - the Soviet Union.
The opponent this time is the hulking 'Drago' (Dolph Lundgren) who at 6'6" and 240 pounds is quite within his rights to deliver such lines as "I defeat all man" after slaying the wisecracking Apollo Creed. With his best friend dead, Rocky forces himself out of retirement to go and give Drago a whipping in his home country of Russia.
The inevitable two-tone training sequence follows, but with a great new slant. While Drago trains-up in a scientific Soviet Gym (actually a real Californian gym) turning him into a near machine, Rocky takes to the Siberian wilderness (Wyoming in reality) and pretty damn near conquers nature as he smashes logs, drags rocks and runs up a mountain. In terms of entertainment this flashy, visceral training sequence beats them all.
With Rocky now representing not only America but nature too the scene is set for a superbly choreographed fight sequence against the evil Soviet boy Drago. And while this derivative and shallow sequel might weaken the credibility of the series, there's no denying the satisfaction of watching a fight of such seemingly impossible odds.
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