After watching ‘Rocky IV’, one thing is clear to me-Rocky Balboa should be employed by the UN as a peacekeeper. Though the man is capable of taking action when necessary, it’s his gift for gab that has nations disposing of their belief systems.
Case in point
At the end of ‘Rocky IV’, Rocky and Ivan Drago (The ‘evil’ Russian boxer) have just completed an epic 15 round battle that has seen Rocky come out on top as victor. The match has taken place in Russia during the reign of Communism. They haven’t liked Rocky from the start, nor have they cared for his wild, fun-loving American ways.
But we know better. We know that he will change them, because that’s the right thing to do, isn’t it?
Rocky, on the other hand, is not here to initially make friends with the Russians. He is here to avenge the death of Apollo Creed, who was killed by Drago in a boxing match in Vegas (I believe he had it coming, since Apollo flamboyantly came down to the ring dancing and singing to James Brown’s ‘Living in America’-I’m surprised Russia didn’t revoke our vodka privileges after this outrageous incident) . But anyways, Rocky wants vengeance, and of course, he gets it done. But inexplicably, during the course of the match, the Russians begin to cheer for Rocky. Now correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe turning on your country in favour of your opposition is a big mistake (As I remember it, America and Russia were not close friends in 1985). Think about this in another context-If you’re Canadian, and Canada is facing off against the United States in a hockey championship game, would you really begin to side with the Americans simply because they have shown heart and perseverance? Highly doubtful.
But it doesn’t end there. As a result of these Russian Benedict Arnold’s, Rocky takes the microphone after the fight, and decides that he can further persuade these people to vote America.
Here is what Rocky says to the Russians:
“During this fight, I’ve seen a lot of changing, in the way you feel about me, and in the way I feel about you. In here, there were two guys killing each other, but I guess that’s better than twenty million. I guess what I’m trying to say, is that if I can change, and you can change, everybody can change!”
Immediately after this Martin Luther King-esque speech, the Russians are unable to contain their emotions, and rise to their feet with applause.
So let’s get this straight. Communist Russia has resisted interference from American government institutions for nearly three quarters of a century, but when they encounter an American boxer, they cannot resist his simplistic views of world peace. Even better is the fact that after Rocky sells this peace to the Russians (after beating their champion), he has the audacity to flaunt his American flag in the Russian ring like he’s eating a burger in front of a starving child. But of course the Russians are not mad. They continue to applaud his insensitivity to their cultural norms. Even their government stands up and applauds, which basically states “You know what, even though Communism has been our cultural ideology since 1912, we have made a mistake…Thank Goodness that Rocky fella showed up and opened our eyes”.
Strangely, Communism in Russia was abolished in 1991, just six years after Rocky IV was released. Hmm, maybe Rocky was onto something.
*Of note, the beginning of Rocky V starts immediately after part 4, and depicts Balboa suffering from the early stages of brain damage. Perhaps the Russians shouldn’t have taken him so literally.