2021 is turning out to be a crazy year for film. Not only did we get Zack Snyder’s Snyder Cut of Justice League, but we’re also getting a director’s cut of Rocky IV, titled Rocky vs Drago.
In recent years, the opinions of fans on social media have proved to be a veritable force of change in the world of mainstream media. From smaller details, like redesigning Sonic the Hedgehog, to the gargantuan campaign that led to the release of the Snyder Cut, fans now have more power than ever over the media they consume.
Never one to stay behind on the trends, Sylvester Stallone has announced that he’s planning on releasing a new Director’s Cut version of the 1985 classic Rocky IV. One of the most iconic sports dramas of all time, the fourth instalment in the successful boxing franchise came out at a time when tensions between America and the USSR were far from over.
Bearing the subtitle Rocky vs Drago, this version of Rocky IV is set to include forty minutes of new, never-before-seen footage to pad out the film’s dramatic narrative. Will this be a wise choice, or will the inclusion of even more scenes dull the punches of one of the best boxing movies ever made?
Back in the USSR
Directed by Sylvester Stallone himself, Rocky IV is one of the most divisive entries in the long-running boxing franchise. Though the critics have not been so kind with the film, it’s become an icon of the pop culture of the 80s and has been referenced countless times in a multitude of sports films released since.
The movie sees Rocky flying to the USSR to fight Ivan Drago, a ruthless boxer who has just killed Rocky’s best friend, Apollo Creed, during a boxing match. This episode fuels Rocky’s desire for revenge and begins one of the most epic feuds in the franchise’s history.
In the end, Rocky defeats Drago in a devastating match. Decided to unite the people of America and the USSR, Rocky gives a speech about the importance of change, and how it’s necessary for the betterment of mankind.
This moment could almost be considered too cheesy, but this is a movie where a robot appears out of nowhere, so a bit of corniness is to be expected. Maybe that’s just what makes the movie so awesome in the first place.
Extra Rounds in Rocky vs. Drago
The idea behind Rocky vs Drago is to give fans the ultimate version of Rocky IV. The addition of almost another hour of extra content is a bold one, but, as Zack Snyder has proved, a movie’s runtime means nothing if there’s a good story to tell involved in the project.
Here, we have one of the most legendary rivalries of 80s cinema. The final fight between Rocky and Ivan Drago was the embodiment of how America saw the progress of the Cold War: a moment where the American spirit defeated the cold machinations of the unstoppable force that was the USSR.
While the Snyder Cut was meant as a cure for a terrible film, Rocky vs Drago would be an extended version of an already good flick. Rocky IV didn’t have the same issues as the first Justice League film, but that doesn’t mean that there’s no room for improvements.
Whatever the case might be, getting more Rocky is always a good thing. It will be even better to get a whole new version of a classic Rocky film in a way that no one’s seen before, way before Stallone became the world’s oldest heavyweight boxer. Who knows, maybe we’ll get to see a more human side to Drago’s character – as we did in Creed 2 –, or we’ll finally get more scenes featuring everyone’s favourite birthday robot.