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Rocky III

This movie, unlike the aggravating first two, is just plain funny. Annie Lennox and Mr TRocky III, it must be remembered, is the film that has the dubious honor of giving the world its first big screen taste of Mr. T, one of the most bizarre creations ever to come out of the 80s, with the noticeable exception of Annie Lennox. If I'm not mistaken, it also has Rocky fighting Hulk Hogan at a certain point, although I've wiped most of this movie from my memory to make way for all the lyrics to the new Venom album, so I don't really have much idea what actually happens in the picture. I can, however, venture some guesses. I think Mr. T plays a fellow by the name of Clubber Lang, which should give you the idea of the film's maturity level. Bowel movement humor would not be out of place here. T takes the championship away from Rocky, who has grown fat and complacent resting on his laurels, kind of like Dave Nichol from President's Choice. In order to regain his title, Rocky must join forces with his old foe Apollo Creed, who blithers on senselessly about getting Rocky the eye of the tiger, the genitals of a panda, and powdered rhinoceros horn, Thrown into a kilnor at least something along those lines. These bizarre black magic rituals and incantations somehow manage to get Rocky back into the ring, where he finally defeats Clubber, who has apparently not been drinking his milk, though I trust that even in the despair of loss, he still loves his mamma. After sacrificing the battered corpse of Clubber to his Santaria gods, Rocky regains his title as World Boxing Emperor, which he exploits to no end, ruling the world with an iron fist, imposing draconian legislation requiring that the first born of every family of colour be thrown into a giant kiln in praise of Ba'al. And, that, bizarrely, is how the movie ends. Or at least, how it should have ended. At least then, I wouldn't have fallen asleep and made up the last third.


Rocky IV

It's during Rocky IV, however, that things really go haywire. A frighteningly inept piece of Cold War paranoia, this installment has Rocky, the quintessential American underdog, battling a seven-foot tall, steroid-built Communist trained by computer to be an emotionless killing machine. I don't know if the average American in the 1980s took Russians to be murderous androids, or if Sylvester Stallone was just really confused, but I find the idea of Communists as imposing, heartless, T-1000 Terminators somewhat juvenile. Anyone who has ever met a commie knows that they tend to be either scrawny, odiferous vegans who took a poli-sci course last semester in between pot-lucks and poetry readings, or privileged upper class white girls rich enough to be socialist, so long as it doesn't interfere with getting drunk at Irish pubs and sleeping with musicians. Nevertheless, writer/director Stallone's fevered American pride has led him to create truly one of the most ludicrous pieces of anti-communist propaganda since Red Dawn or the last issue of PULP. Needless to say, good ol' fashioned American pluck and vigor overcomes the cold, impersonal, and godless Russian socialism, in that Rocky beats the piss out of the guy who played The Punisher in yet another, slow, boring, and elliptical montage sequence. While I appreciate the need to be constantly reminded about how a communist society would reduce us to mindless automatons enslaved to a computer-run group mind - leaving this important message in the hands of Stallone is somewhat akin to getting a six-year old to help you understand differential calculus equations. Sure, if luck's with him, he might get it right: but the explanation will be all muddled and confusing, plus his hands will get the notepaper all sticky with melted orange Popsicles.


Rocky V

Rocky V, it must be stated, thankfully deviates somewhat from the familiar formula. The climactic final battleThis installment features a street-fighting Rocky loosing his riches but regaining his street cred. Instead of having the climactic final battle take place in the familiar boxing setting, this one takes it out of the ring and puts it in my living room, as I struggle frantically with my remote control, trying to jam the batteries in so that I can at least watch the last half in fast-forward. Unfortunately, one of the Duracells had rolled under a loose pile of Shivers magazines, so once again Rocky was triumphant.

So after all that, what have we learned? Apart from the fact that Sylvester Stallone probably writes his scripts with crayons, that is. Most importantly, we've learned that the Rocky series is a giant masturbatory ode to the underdog. Americans have long had a fascination with the underdog, constantly rooting for the little guy, the upstart, and the Chicago Bears. Why the greatest superpower in the world should be a sucker for movies like these is beyond me. They haven't been the underdog since they fought the British in the late 1700s, but I guess they have a long, long memory. So maybe they can tell me what happened in Rocky III.


Stay Tuned for Ash Vs. The World Pt. 2: Fantasia!!

Back to Part 1.

 



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