Review- Rocky IV (Remake)

In adding to the Rocky canon, there are two obvious choices: make another sequel, (which was done as recently as four years ago with Rocky Balboa), or remake the original 1976 film. What nobody saw coming was a remake of the culturally dated 1985 sequel Rocky IV.

By skipping a reboot of the entire franchise and going straight for a specific chapter, writer/director David Cox-Arquette parodies Hollywood’s self-professed “remake hysteria”  with zaniness and bat-shit irony. The brilliant casting of  Mr. T as Rocky prevents further directors from following in his foot steps by insuring that a Rocky III remake is all but impossible. Additionally, Cox-Arquette’s other casting choices are sure to amuse and confuse anyone nostalgic about the original cold war classic. Dolph Lundgren dons black-face make-up to play Apollo Creed, 64-year-old Talia Shire reprises her role as Adrian Balboa, and Ellen DeGeneres (in drag) plays the ghost of coach Mickey Goldmill.  The Daily Show‘s Aasif Mandvi plays the film’s main antagonist as a part what may be Cox-Aquette’s boldest and most entertaining directorial decision. Following in recent remake tradition, the Russian menace of the 80’s is replaced with the more currently relevant threat of Islamic terrorism. However, Afghanistan’s “Great Brown Hope” is inexplicably still named Ivan Drogo!

Punch for punch, the action sequences in Rocky IV leave any previous Rocky movie in the dust. Mr. T is as ripped as he’s ever been, and Mandvi’s swift footwork required the film crew to actually speed up the camera in order to capture his lightning-quick moves. The boxing, however, is not the reason to see this film. Cox-Aquette throws twist after twist at his unsuspecting audience, asking more questions than he answers, but always satisfying with sharp whit and intense drama. And also boobs. Talia Shire may not have the figure she did in 1985, but her devoted fans have nothing to complain about. The best part is how the classy nude scene is tied into the film’s climax. Adrian Balboa causes the necessary 15th-round diversion by flashing her mature rack at Drogo while Rocky delivers the knock-out blow. Classy stuff.

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