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ROCKY IV ($25) is an example of what happens when an original movie idea is turned into a money making franchise. Whatever heart and human drama was contained in ROCKY and ROCKY II was long gone by the time this fourth installment rolled around. Instead of giving the audience a character driven story, Sylvester Stallone creates a film that looks more like an extended rock video than a continuation of his Oscar winning story. The plot concerns Ivan Drago, a scientifically enhanced Soviet boxer who kills Apollo Creed in an exhibition match. This places Heavyweight champion Rocky Balboa in the position of avenging Creed’s death in a boxing match to be held in the Soviet Union. In addition to series regulars Stallone, Talia Shire, Burt Young and Carl Weathers, the cast of ROCKY IV also features Brigitte Nielsen, Tony Burton and Dolph Lundgren as Drago.

MGM Home Entertainment offers ROCKY IV in both Letterboxed and full screen transfers on opposing sides of the DVD. The full screen presentation is fine for undiscriminating audiences, however the Letterboxed transfer remains preferable. The Letterboxed edition presents ROCKY IV in its theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1. The transfer is super looking, thanks to Bill Butler’s glossy, music video like cinematography. Colors are vivid and the image is finely detailed. Digital compression artifacts remained in check throughout both presentations.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack had good channel separation in the front, but I was hard pressed to detect anything happening in the rear. Other soundtrack options include a matrixed Dolby Surround track, plus French and Spanish language tracks. Subtitles are available in English, French and Spanish.

The interactive menus offer access to a theatrical trailer and scene selection.




DVD reviews are Copyright 1998 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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