Do you work in retail in the festive season? Is your soul dead from hearing all regurgitated Christmas carols which all sound exactly the same? Are you sick of wishing people a Merry Christmas, when all you want to do is shoot them with a machine gun and letting their blood spray on the walls to match the awful red and green decorations? If so do you know what you need to watch this Christmas?
No not A Christmas Carol, or It’s a Wonderful Life, you need to get fired up, excited with a special dose of Rocky IV.
Well, lets see if you can read between the lines! In this fourth instalment of the Rocky franchise, Rocky’s friend Apollo decides he wants to make a boxing comeback in an exhibition bout with an unknown Russian boxer by the name of Ivan Drago. And sure enough there is a fight, but Apollo gets killed in the ring. Rocky is distraught, he believes he needs to avenge his friends death, because it’s all about honour, and doing good for your fellow man, doesn’t matter if his fellow man is now dead though. It’s all about keeping Apollo’s memory alive, and that he didn’t die for nothing. So then it’s settled Rocky and Drago go head to head in Russia on December 25th. We see Rocky endure some excruciatingly hard training techniques; he goes back to basics, the way that Apollo had previous shown him in Rocky III. Now if you haven’t read between the lines yet from this brief synopsis, lets break it down together.
In a lot of Christmas movies, our protagonist, has to be going through a difficult time in their life, they struggle with their identity, who they are, how they became this way, and what they can do to change themselves for the better. Rocky was busy living the high life but became a lot more humble after his previous bout with Clubber Lang. And just as things in his life were coming together, he lost his best friend; a friend who taught him so many important lessons inside and outside of the ring. Rocky ponders his choices, his life, everything that has lead him up this path to his current location, and this is summed up beautifully in a montage with the memorable song ‘No Easy Way Out’ performed by Robert Tepper. Once this montage is over, you know that Rocky is going to go on a journey of self-discovery, becoming more emotionally and socially aware of what going is around him. As an audience we see this journey through his training. Now to the average film viewer you would just look at Rocky’s training montages and techniques as just filler for the film. But it isn’t filler. It’s about seeing change, and understanding how much of a beautiful thing it is to see a grown man understand who he really is, and once this epic journey is done he becomes a stronger man for it.
Rocky IV is a wonderful Christmas movie. And while it isn’t traditional, it does have a lot of the same development of the protagonist, which in the end gives them a whole new purpose in life and a new and positive outlook. Rocky IV is pure inspirational, and joy and there isn’t a thing wrong with this film. People may say this is cheesy, but cheesy isn’t a bad thing! Rocky IV proves that anything in life is possible, no matter how hard it may look, and you may need to climb a couple of high mountains and you may need to chop down a few large trees, but once all that is over, you can see so much more clearly, and you become richer from each experience. Christmas isn’t about giving presents, and spending time with your loved ones. If anything it’s about personal growth that is a present you can give yourself, and if you live by such a wonderful new outlook, maybe people will follow, and then you realise you have given them a new purpose. Giving someone a new experience and following them on a journey is so much more meaningful than an empty present you will forget about in a week’s time.
So do yourself a favour, watch Rocky IV on Christmas eve, it won’t tire you out, it won’t bore you; it will fire you up and inspire the hell out of you!
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