Picks and Pans Review: Rocky IV

updated 12/16/1985 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/16/1985 AT 01:00 AM EST

The much, much further adventures of boxer Rocky Balboa should settle one burning issue: Sylvester Stallone does better video workout routines than Jane Fonda. Let's face it, when you pay to see a Rocky film it's mainly for the privilege of watching Sly, now 39, ripple as he totes that barge and lifts that bale in training to beat one more impossible foe. In each successive Rocky film, it has taken something more drastic to drag the reluctant hero back into the ring. This time Sly is motivated to redeem the death of old nemesis turned friend Carl Weathers, who is done in by the preternatural punching of a Russian played by Dolph Lundgren, a 6'5½", 240-pound Swede heretofore best known as the suitor of disco singer Grace Jones. Yep, Stallone is back defending the American way, against the Commies, this time without his headband. Rocky IV is the most absorbing of the sequels, eschewing the mawkish personal deliberations that weighed down No. III. Stallone ultimately travels to the Soviet Union to battle Lundgren before a hostile crowd presided over by the Politburo. As usual he absorbs 47 times his weight in punishment, winning over the Soviet people with this display of courage and will. His vacuous post-bout speech indicates why boxers with 75 professional bouts are rarely called upon as public speakers. But then if there's a Rocky V, it's unlikely to be about debating championships. (PG)

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