Rocky IV (1985)
|Year Of Production||1985|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (51:10)||Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Language Select Then Menu|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Sylvester Stallone|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (256Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.85:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
German for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
The jingoistic marketing for this movie said it all: The trailers and posters featured a patriotic Stallone draped in an American flag, defiantly punching the air. The trailer and the poster's tagline boasted: "Get ready for the next World War!" With all the subtlety of a sledgehammer, Rocky IV (1985), along with Rambo III, is another of Stallone's right-wing, All-American, Cold War wet dreams.
In Rocky IV, Rocky (Sylvester Stallone) supports his friend and mentor Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) in his upcoming boxing match against Russian colossus, Ivan Drago (Dolph Lungren). The match is to be an exhibition fight in Las Vegas, and the East versus West battle has become a media circus. In all the flag-waving, apple-pie eating hype, Creed believes that the fight will allow him to re-establish himself as a true boxing champion.
After the wisecracking Creed is beaten to death in the ring by the cruel and merciless Russian, Rocky seeks vengeance, and decides to fight Drago in Russia.
However, this battle is not just between East and West, as this film is also a backlash against the increasingly artificial world we inhabit. A world of computers, science, steroids, implants, artificial colouring/flavouring, and machines. In Siberia, Rocky trains in the wilderness, assisted by Paulie (Burt Young) and Duke (Tony Burton). Rocks earns his strength, muscles, and power the hard way -- by chopping wood, running up hills, and pulling carts loaded with rocks. Meanwhile, the machine-like Drago is being developed in a Soviet lab (a high-tech gym) filled with computers, scientists, machines, chemicals, and steroids.
Can Rocky defeat Drago? Can Rocky win over the Russian crowd (at the height of the Cold War)? Can Ronald Reagan, Stallone and the US crush the evil Soviet Empire?
The transfer is an improvement over the previous two films' transfers.
The transfer is presented in a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.85:1. It is 16x9 enhanced.
The sharpness is noticeably better than the previous two films, but sadly, again the shadow detail is often poor. For example, consider the shot of Drago underground at 22:15, or the exterior night shot at 36:45, which both lack shadow detail.
As with the previous two films, the colour often appears undersaturated (or muted), but there is a slight improvement overall. Whites can often appear grey, such as the whites of the eyes at 12:34.
There are no problems with MPEG artefacts, but occasionally some scenes did appear a little pixelated. Once again there is a serious amount of grain present.
There are no problems with film-to-video artefacts, except for the occasional shimmer. While film artefacts do appear throughout, they are much smaller and less frequent than the previous two films.
English, English for the Hearing Impaired, German, German for the Hearing Impaired, French, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Swedish, Finnish, Norwegian, Danish, Portuguese, Polish, Hungarian, Greek, Turkish, and Hebrew subtitles are present. The English subtitles are accurate.
This is a Dual Layer disc, with the layer change at 51:10.
There are five audio tracks on the DVD: English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s), German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s), French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s), Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s), and Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s).
The dialogue quality and audio sync are fine throughout on the default English audio track.
The original musical score is credited to Vince DiCola, and it features a lot of annoying 1980's synth music in the background, and a few forgettable songs (apart from James Brown's big show tune Living In America). Bill Conti's Gonna Fly Now and Frankie Sullivan's Eye Of The Tiger both make a welcome return.
I found the audio rather thin and flat, and again I was disappointed with the surround presence and activity overall. While there are a few passages and moments of surround activity, overall the surround sound mix is very front heavy. A good example of the poor use of the rear speakers comes at 28:30. While the crowd is screaming loudly through the front three speakers at a boxing match, the rears are noticeably silent.
As with the previous film, there was no serious use of LFE for the subwoofer.
|Surround Channel Use|
Considering this was a re-release, I was expecting more in the way of extras.
A simple menu.
Theatrical Trailer (2:00)
The trailer is presented in a aspect ratio of 1.85:1, non-16x9 enhanced, with English Dolby Digital Stereo audio.
Rocky IV was previously released on DVD in R1 as part of the Rocky Collection DVD Box Set. That disc was non-16x9 enhanced, and the same as their original 1997 R1 release.
This year, the Rocky Anthology DVD Box Set was released in R1, and the R1 version now appears to be much the same as ours (ignoring the NTSC/PAL differences).
Rocky IV is a paint-by-the-numbers, weak and shallow sequel, dripping with Cold War stereotypes and annoying American bluster and imperial arrogance. However, despite all of this, it somehow still manages to be an enjoyable, albeit mindless, film.
The video quality is good overall.
The audio quality is good, but again quite front heavy.
The extras are limited to a trailer.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-535, using S-Video output|
|Display||Grundig Elegance 82-2101 (82cm, 16x9). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||Sony STR DE-545|
|Speakers||Sony SS-V315 x5; Sony SA-WMS315 subwoofer|