Being an 80s kid & hailing from Philadelphia "Rocky Balboa" wasn't just another movie character, he was an ICON and at times was talked about as if he was a real person!
Rocky & Rocky II told the story of the ultimate underdog who defied the odds, went the distance with boxing's reigning heavyweight champion Apollo Creed and won the championship in their rematch. And most importantly for Rocky he found the love of his life in the homely Adrian, with whom he marries and together have a son named Robert aka Rocky Jr.!
He defined what this city was all about . . . he was Raw, Gritty, and most of all full of Heart. But somewhere in the early 80s he lost all of that and got soft, but thankfully also learned how to read in between sequels!
With the help of his former rival "The Master of Disaster" Apollo Creed, Rocky once again found "The Eye Of The Tiger" by rising up to the challenge of his rival Clubber Lang and was the last known Survivor!
Now let's skip ahead a couple years. Rocky is still on top of the Boxing World. He's still married to Adrian, and together with Robert, and Uncle Paulie (Adrian's deadbeat brother) lives in a nice mansion outside of Philly . . .
Rocky's got bank, so much money he can even afford this stupid robot as a birthday gift for Pauile!
As you can see he's living the good life, but it won't last for long! There is a new fighter on the scene, hailing from America's biggest global rival at the time . . . The USSR!
Of all the antagonists in the Rocky franchise Ivan Drago is without a doubt my favorite. Unlike the flashiness of previous opponents and constant shit talkers (Creed & Lang) Drago is a man of few words . . . but those few times he opens his mouth he utters some truly EPIC shit! Lines like "I must Break you", "I defeat all man." and of course the legendary "If he dies, he dies" are some of the best catchphrases to come out of the 80s.
Before Ivan and Rocky go toe-to-toe in the ring to determine what country truly has the claim to superpower status Rocky's now best friend Apollo comes out of retirement to get the first crack at "The Siberian Bull"!
The lead into this fight is hilarious and shows how grossly unprepared Creed is for his return to the ring . . . sure it's an exhibition for charity, but Drago doesn't know what either of those words mean!
For Creed's ring entrance he comes out to the ultra catchy "Living In America" sang by the only man who could ever upstage Creed himself . . . James "The Hardest Working Man in Show Business" Brown!
With Rocky in his corner Creed gets decimated by the much stronger and faster Drago in the first round, but Creed won't allow the "The Stallion" to throw in the towel . . .
Tragedy strikes when Apollo is killed in the next round, and Rocky gives Drago an "Aww shit you done fucked up now" look after Drago gives his famous post match speech "If he dies, he dies"!
Don't worry Creed didn't really die, in fact I meet him during the summer!
To Tom "There Is No Tomorrow"
Ok so maybe up to this point you're probably wondering why I chose "Rocky 4" to be my first write up for "Shitmas". Well the reason is because the showdown between Rocky and Drago takes place on Christmas Day!
But before we can get to the big fight in Mother Russia we need a montage, but not just 1 montage or even 2 montages but 3 freaking montages! Rocky 4 is hands down the "King of the Montage". Just watch these three scenes!
First, you'll be caught up to speed on the history of Rocky including Apollo's death that literally just happened in the last act!
Next, part one of the awesome training montage that mostly just shows that Drago is a Roid Monster and Rocky is the Real Deal Hard Working American!
That second montage ends with Adrian showing up to Rocky's training cabin just in time for another montage to start!
Somewhere in that time frame Pauile complains a lot, mostly about how cold Russia is, but all is well because he gets to watch "The Chipmunks Christmas Special" and Drink (that's what Paulie does best!)
Uncle Paulie doing his best to help Rocky train!
Finally it's time for the Main Event. An unsanctioned 15-round bout that's not for any title but for the Pride of a Nation.
After some back and forth in the early rounds Rocky finally makes Ivan bleed his own blood and wins in the end (barely because he got rocked so hard he can't even remember his son's name in the post fight interview)
But it was all for the greater good because Rocky saved us all from having to learn how to speak Russian by single-handedly ending "The Cold War" . . . Fact!
- Tom Bryce