Continuing our Rocky-through-Creed binge newbie watch, here are our reviews for Rocky 3 and 4! (Spoilers!)
Rocky III (1982)
Rocky III started out with a montage of all the fights that Rocky has had since we last saw him. Rocky is doing well. He lives in a large house with his family and Mickey. Just as Rocky is about to retire at the unveiling of his statue, Clubber Lang challenges Rocky to a fight.
Rocky discovers that Mickey has been setting up fights with weaker opponents so that Rocky can retain his title and retire as the world heavyweight champion. Learning this, Rocky accepts the challenge in order to prove that he is still the best. He goes into the fight with little preparation. This reminds me of Apollo Creed and his initial fight with Rocky. Apollo Creed was cocky and he thought that the fight was not very serious. Rocky walked into this fight in a similar way. This was coupled with the distraction from a prior brawl that left Mickey injured. Rocky loses the fight in the second round. The rest of the movie is based on this premise, which allows Creed to step up to train Rocky for a rematch.
In regards to Clubber Lang, I think he was a poor antagonist. For the first time I’m disappointed with the character development. I felt Clubber Lang was a one-dimensional character. He was always angry, but it wasn’t exactly clear why. I think they could have done a better job explaining who this character was.
I have a few thoughts about Creed and his offer to train Rocky after Mickey dies. I think it can either be viewed as admirable or self centered. I think it was great for Creed to understand the circumstances in which Rocky lost the fight, and offer to be his guidance in the rematch. I think it is admirable because it takes a certain person to approach their former adversary and offer to help them.
On the other hand, I believe that this can be seen as vain and self-centered, because Creed could be offering to train Rocky because he needs Rocky to win, which in turn will save his reputation. He is afraid the world will believe that if Rocky could be defeated by such a weak opponent, then maybe Rocky wasn’t a worthy opponent for Creed. This brings Creed’s championship and prior status into question. Was Creed really the best, or was he weaker than Rocky, and can this man Clubber Lang also defeat Creed? Overall, I love that Creed chose to train Rocky, and I do believe it to be admirable and kind.
I love the scenes of them training together. I don’t think the fight scene towards the end was anything we haven’t seen before. It didn’t wow me like the scenes in Rocky I or Rocky II. And as predicted, Rocky wins the fight with Clubber Lang easily. I like that at the end of Rocky III we see Rocky and Creed going into a friendly battle, which is an optimistic foreshadowing of their future relationship.
Movie Grade: B-
In Rocky IV, we see that Rocky’s life continues to be good. Rocky retired as the World Heavyweight Champion, and he is still very good friends with Creed. We see Russia has entered the boxing league with the rest of the world. Creed sees that Ivan Drago is the current champion in Russia, and looks to take on a worthy American opponent. Creed immediately steps up to the challenge.
Within the first 15 minutes of this movie, I’m already intrigued. This is a major improvement from the last movie. Ivan Drago is a worthy opponent. He is no regular sized man. In the fact, he is several feet taller than Rocky and Creed, and he weighs more. This makes me wonder if there are weight cut-offs in boxing, like how there are in wrestling.
Creed feels this is his chance to prove to the world that he is still a great fighter. In typical Creed fashion, he taunts and mocks Drago to get him riled up for the fight. Creed is such an entertainer in my eyes. He’s a great and amazing fighter as well, but he always underestimates a fight, especially with an unknown opponent.
Even though everyone tells Creed that he’s been retired for a long time, and to fight such a physically intimidating opponent is not a smart choice, Creed is stubborn and prideful, and refuses to back down. What puzzles me the most is how Creed could approach this opponent without training. At first, I thought this was more typical of Creed because he is a cocky individual. However, once the fight starts, it is clear that Creed believed the fight would be more of a joke than a serious competition. Creed put on a giant pre-fight spectacle of America against Russia. This definitely embarrassed Drago, to the point he felt he needed to fight so hard that no one would ever laugh at him again. Drago goes into the fight seriously attacking Creed. Everyone is scared and Rocky tries to stop the fight, but Creed insists that he does not stop. Creed can’t keep up, and ultimately suffers a fatal blow to the head, which kills him in the ring. Everyone is devastated, and Rocky makes it his mission to avenge Creed by fighting Drago in Russia.
In the next chunk of the movie, Rocky leaves his family behind to head to Russia with Creed’s coach to train for the fight. When Rocky sets his mind to something, there’s no stopping him. He really is invested. This is understandable. Rocky just lost his good friend and former coach for a fight that was unnecessary. Though his reasoning is understandable and Rocky fully prepares for the fight, I still think fighting Drago is a dumb idea. Rocky is retired. He’s not as young as Drago. He’s physically smaller than Drago. And doesn’t Rocky still have problems seeing out of his right eye??
The fight between Rocky and Drago was difficult to watch. He had a whole country against him. I was afraid for Rocky’s life. Rocky, as usual, takes a beating, and it’s difficult for him to fight back due to drastic height difference. When Rocky wins the fight, he also wins over the hearts of most of the crowd and gives a unifying speech. I think it was pretty obvious that this movie drew from situations that were occurring in the real world between the United States and Russia. I think this is what made this fight so interesting to watch.
After Rocky I and II, this is my favorite Rocky film.
Movie Grade: A
Stay tuned for the next set of movies in this series!
Here’s our original review when Creed first came out:
Watching movies in theaters is an indescribable experience for me. This, doing laundry, and visiting the Container Store bring me true joy. When I’m not watching movies or getting Peetimes, I like keeping up with the latest technology, learning to code, and building things. Career wise, my passion lies with improving access and equity within the health, tech, and social sectors.