Friday, February 11, 2011

Rocky IV is My Favorite Rocky By Far

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Let me just start this off by saying that the original Rocky is the best of them all. I mean, how can I debate it? It beat Taxi Driver in 1977 for best picture, so how could I NOT say that it's the best Rocky when judging the entire collection? Still, it's nowhere near my favorite, mostly because of the direction that the series went in following it.

Rocky II is very good, but it's dwarfed by the original since it's a rematch with Apollo.

Rocky III is a cartoon, and tarnished any respect that anyone had for the original.

Rocky V, I wouldn't even consider a movie. And Tommy Gunn is pathetic.

And Rocky Balboa isn't bad, but there's one key problem with it. Rocky's bigger than his opponent.

So that leaves Rocky IV, which is also very much a cartoon, like Rocky III, but a far superior one. It's like comparing the Ninja Turtles to Street Sharks. There's really no comparison.

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But why is this? Why is Rocky IV superior to Rocky III in every single way? Well, let's just start with the training montage. Now, if you love Rocky movies like I do, then you know that while the story and the characters are pretty good, it's the training montages before he gets ready for a fight that are the best part.

Here's the training montage from Rocky III (Sorry, I can't embed it)

It features Apollo Creed training with Rocky on the beach, getting stronger. It's pretty good, and it uses, "Gonna Fly Now," from the original movie.

But check THIS out:

The song is "Hearts On Fire," by John Cafferty, and it's ball blazing. I know, "Gonna Fly Now," is vintage Rocky, but this song just kicks its ass 100%. And just look at Rocko running through the snow. That's DEFINITELY better than him racing Apollo on the beach.

And speaking of Apollo.

If you're reading this article, then I'm sure you already know that everybody's favorite boxer livin' in America is killed in the ring. Apollo has been there since the original, so seeing him die provides real hatred for the villain. It really raises the stakes because this time, it's personal.

And that leads me to the last reason why this is my favorite Rocky of them all. Ivan Drago.

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Apollo Creed was Rocky's own size, and Clubber Lang was a monster. But never had Rocky ever faced somebody like Ivan Drago before. The laconic Drago was the antithesis of the flashy Clubber Lang. This guy was a silent killer, one who would only open his mouth sparingly to say badass lines like, "I must break you."

It's the first time in the history of the series that Rocky REALLY looked like he didn't have a chance against his opponent, and I think that it made for the most tension out of all of them.

It's also the most fun to watch. From the robot, to James Brown, to the very loud America vs. Communism message throughout the picture, Rocky IV is a blast all the way through. And that's why it's my favorite Rocky of them all--it's really fun. It's a cheap kind of fun, sure, and one that makes you kind of ashamed that you thought the original was a serious picture, but it's fun nonetheless. I don't care what anyone says, I'll take this one over the first one any day of the week!

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