LIFE Special Edition Tribute: “Rocky”: Underdog. Fighter. Champion.

Life has put out a Rocky tribute magazine that is not to be missed!  I just got mine and can’t wait to dig in.

Rocky Balboa, the underdog palooka who boxed his way to box office super-success, burst into popular culture in 1976. Now 45 years later, “Yo, Adrian” has joined the very short list of very short quotes that are instantly identifiable with a classic character from a classic film. Tourists still run the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Marching bands play “Gonna Fly Now” as halftime entertainment. High school football teams get crazy-eyed to “Eye of the Tiger.” LIFE: Rocky looks back the story conceived by actor and writer Sylvester Stallone – and the iconic 8-film franchise it has become – and celebrates Rocky’s friends, his foes, his fights and the songs and scenes that endure today. Please note that this product is an authorized edition published by the Meredith Corporation and sold by Amazon. This edition is printed using a high quality matte interior paper and printed on demand for immediate fulfillment.

LIFE Rocky: Underdog. Fighter. Champion. is available for order now.

Amazing Rocky Painting by Brian Stelfreeze!

Brian Stelfreeze created this amazing painting of Sly Stallone as Rocky.  I was hoping to make it on Brian’s commission list at the Heroes Giant-Size MiniCon.  Not only was I lucky enough to make the list, but Brian was into the idea of creating some Rocky art.  He surpassed all of my expectations (which were high since it was Brian Stelfreeze doing the art).

For those just learning about Brian Stelfreeze, he is one of the most amazing artists working today. He can do it all… pencil, ink, color, design. I have never seen a bad piece by Brian. Yet, he is one of the most humble, approachable and appreciative artists you’ll ever meet. This is my third piece by Mr. Stelfreeze. [You can see my first here and my second here.]

“Rocky & Adrian” by Mathieu Noiseux!

Once a week posts Awesome Art We’ve Found Around the Net.  As you can imagine, they post awesome art that they, well, you get the idea.

I enjoy seeing what JoBlo finds because they list the artist’s name and a link to more of his/her art.  Click the links and you’ll discover amazing artists like Mathieu Noiseux, aka Noise, who did the Rocky piece above.

Sly and the Family Stallone News for the Week

Sly and the Family Stallone News for the Week:

“Rocky vs Drago” Director’s Cut / Z-View

Rocky IV: Rocky vs Drago – The Ultimate Director’s Cut (1985/2021)

Director: Sylvester Stallone

Screenplay: Sylvester Stallone

Stars:  Sylvester Stallone, Talia Shire, Burt Young, Carl Weathers, Dolph Lundgren, Tony Burton, Michael Pataki, Brigitte Nielsen, and  James Brown.

Tagline: Get ready for the next world war.

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

Rocky feels guilt for the death of his friend, Apollo Creed, who was killed in a boxing match with Russian Champion Ivan Drago.  When Rocky is unable to get a fight with Drago sanctioned in the US, he agrees to go to Russia to fight the giant Russian.

Sly Stallone’s new cut doesn’t change the story, but does adjust the pace, increase the drama/humanity of characters and removes elements of the film that made it such a product of the MTV era.  This was a bold move on Stallone’s part since Rocky IV was the highest grossing of all the Rocky films, was one of the top movies of 1985 and is beloved by generations of Rocky fans.  Still, Sly felt that there was a better movie to be had.

The new cut starts with a deeper dive into Rocky III.  We see Rocky lose the title to Clubber.  At that point he has also lost Mickey who was like a father to Rocky.  Apollo shows up and offers to help Rocky win back the title.  Rocky, with Apollo training him, regains the title.  I like this new extended beginning.  It adds (pardon the pun) credence to why Rocky feels an obligation above friendship to train Apollo for his fight against Drago.

We lose the scene of Rocky coming home from his private “rematch” with Apollo.  I always enjoyed that scene but like that we instead cut to Apollo in the pool getting the idea to fight Drago.

When Apollo goes to Rocky to ask for his help in preparing for a fight with Drago we get at least 3 scenes with Rocky talking negatively about the idea.  I love how these scenes show that Rocky is against Apollo fighting Drago.  In the original version they had one conversation at the table and while Rocky had some hesitation, he pretty quickly got on board.  By having multiple discussions against the idea (with Rocky slowly coming around) we understand: 1,  How dangerous Drago is and 2. When Rocky is talking about Apollo not fighting anymore he is also thinking that maybe his time to retire has arrived or will soon.  These conversations also add to Rocky’s guilt since he was unable to convince Apollo not to fight.

We lose the robot and I am fine with that.

Adrian gets more screen time.  She is against the Apollo / Drago fight and is more adamant.  I love the scene where Rocky excuses himself to check on Adrian in the kitchen.

The fight between Apollo and Drago is an improvement.  Apollo has more moments to shine.  He isn’t just given a beat down and killed.  I like that despite Apollo telling Rocky to not stop the fight, Rocky does attempt to throw in the towel, but is less than a second too late.

Duke (Tony Burton) gives a nice eulogy at Apollo’s funeral and Rocky has more to say as well.

One of my favorite additional scenes is between Rocky and Adrian when she asks him not to go to Russia.  In the original the focus was on Rocky getting revenge for Apollo’s death with little thought for the ramifications the fight would have on Adrian.

I loved the new cut of Rocky’s fight against Drago.  I was shocked (and happily surprised) when Rocky scored early.  It made the fight seem more believable that as Rocky continued to fight against overwhelming odds he was able win the crowd over.

Drago was made more human.  There are looks and body language that he displays that show surprise, awe, respect and anger.  We better see that he is a pawn being used by his government to show the superiority of their way of life.

Rocky’s “we can all change” speech isn’t as long and better for it.

I love the scene of Rocky, Adrian and Paulie leaving the ring after the fight and the quick display of mutual respect between Rocky and Drago.

Overall I felt this Director’s cut was a major improvement over the original version.  It feels more in line with Rocky and Rocky Balboa.

If you loved the original version then you’ll probably have some problems with the Director’s cut.  This is especially true if Rocky IV was the movie that made you fall in love with the franchise.  If you’re more a fan of the original (and its bookend, Rocky Balboa) then you’ll probably love Rocky vs Drago.  I did.

Sly Stallone Interview by Chris Bumbray – “Rocky IV Director’s Cut” & New Gangster Project w/ Taylor Sheridan!

Hats of to Sly Stallone for his excellent Rocky IV Director’s Cut and to Chris Bumbray for the wonderful interview! sits down with Sylvester Stallone to discuss the ROCKY IV DIRECTORS CUT (2021), how the approach with Apollo differs from the original cut of the film, how Drago was a more complex character than fans originally thought, and much, much more!!

PLOT: After reclaiming the boxing championship title, Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) plans to retire and live with his wife, Adrian (Talia Shire). However, during an exhibition match, Rocky’s friend Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) is mercilessly beaten to death by hulking Russian newcomer Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren). Rocky vows payback against Drago and flies to Russia to train for a Christmas Day fight. Despite their different training methods, Rocky and Drago both wage a long and intense match.

CAST: Sylvester Stallone, Dolph Lundgren, Carl Weathers

Sly and the Family Stallone News for the Week

Sly and the Family Stallone News for the Week: