God Bless America or How Sylvester Stallone Won The Cold War!
It is so weird to think that the Soviet Union has been defunct for 21 years now. I mean I grew up in both the 70s and the 80s and there was a definite mindset amongst the majority of Americans that we were at odds with a country that represented some sort of philosophical evil. All good little American children were pretty much taught that Communism wasn’t quite right. Hell I was 8 when Reagan took office as President of The United States of America and my political world view was “Iran is pretty fucking evil” and “The Soviets want to bomb us back to the stone age”. Sure, in hindsight my thinking back then was kind of off the mark. Iran itself isn’t evil, it is just an Theocracy run by people of questionable moral motives. Hell, I’ve actually known a few Iranians in my time and they were all pretty quality human beings. Not every Iranian male identifies with the Alfred Molina part in Not Without My Daughter and more than one Iranian female thinks the Quran needs to be little bit more, shall we say, female friendly. These realizations didn’t really hit me until my mid to late teens as my view of the world was slowly being changed through education and travel.
The Soviet Union though, that was another matter altogether. The United States felt so threatened by the Soviets simply because they were the other major Superpower and we were basing that on the fact that they were the other nuclear capable country. Sure economically they were in the shitter and unless you were in the military or God forbid worked directly for the Kremlin the odds of you eating regularly were pretty slim, that doesn’t matter when there is a war of propaganda and cultural stereotypes to be waged. Growing up in the 70s was scary because, let’s face it, Leonid Breshnev was a pretty imposing motherfucker. His husky frame, thick dark hair and even thicker eyebrows really gave off the image of a stoic Russian bear. I’m sure there are pictures out there of Breshnev smiling but I’ve never seen them. He was seriously one dour looking man. But then Breshnev died and we got a couple of old Revolutionaries like Yuri Andprov and Konstatin Cherneko, two old men in rapidly declining health who only lasted a little over 4 years between the 2 of them. Soviet Communism was on the decline at mid-way through the 80s and the good old United Sates can thank one man for that… Sylvester Stallone!
What you thought I was going to go with Gorbachev?
Sorry kids, by the time Mikhail Gorbachev took the reigns, years of weak domestic economic policy had screwed the Soviet Union up so bad that it there was no real way to save the Russian people without abandoning Communism. It was inevitable the Soviets would lose power, especially after having seen what Sly could do to make you proud to be an American. I mean honestly, Sylvester Stallone ended the Goddamn Cold War!
That’s right, old Sly himself was on a mission to show the world that no matter what the Commies at the Kremlin were up to, no country in the world was better at flag waving and kicking ass like the good ol’ U.S. Of A! First Sly had to show the shortcomings of Communism through the power of boxing. Thus we get the ultimate flag-waving boxing movie that is Rocky IV, where Sly brings Rocky Balboa back after getting his ass kicked by Clubber Lang at the end of Rocky III to the Big Red Menace in Ivan Drago as played by Sir Dolph Lungeren1 . Oh sure, Drago killed Apollo Creed in the first quarter of Rocky IV but revenge really is just not at the heart of this movie, politics and ideology are. Rocky Balboa is going to be damned if some Pinko Commie is going to kill Apollo Creed and let him get away with it. Hell, Rocky pretty much risks his own marriage to go to Russia to beat this Soviet Scumsucker!
The marriage angle of the Rocky movies is one of those things that keeps getting played up. Rocky wants to fight, Adrian doesn’t want him to fight so she threatens to leave him. Rocky goes to fight anyway and Adrian comes running back because she knows where the gravy train ends and it ain’t in her favor. I mean don’t get me wrong, Adrian loves Rocky but she’s been pulling the same “bitter wife” routine on Rock since they were newlyweds in Rocky II when she didn’t want him to take the Creed rematch. Very convenient for her to slip into a coma when Rocky is supposed to be training for the fight. That’s why Rock and Paulie just hightail it to Russia in Rocky IV, because Adrian is a control freak and like Foriegner sang “Head Games, till I can’t take it anymore!”. We should be glad she died between Rocky V and Rocky Balboa or else we would’ve been stuck with 2 more movies with Talia Shire screeching “YOU CAN’T WIN!” only for Rocky to win just to shut her up.
If anything Rocky IV teaches us it is that a man has to be a man… and Communism sucks. No wait, that is two things. A man has to be a man and Communism sucks and that training on a farm for a Boxing Camp will beat steroids everytime!
Ok, Rocky IV teaches us many valuable lessons but the MAIN thing it teaches us is that America is the greatest country in the world and that Rocky fights for Truth, Justice and The American Way, just like Superman. Though Apollo Creed’s Star & Stripes boxing gear is way more dope than Superman’s plain red briefs. The truth is inescapable, Sylvester Stallone brought abou the end of the Cold War simply by having a semi-literate Italian boxer from Philadelphia beat a Godless heathen of Communist in 12 Rounds. We should all be grateful that Rocky won in the last round because if it had gone to the scorecards I’m pretty sure there was no way Rocky would’ve come out on top. What? Seriously, the fight was in Soviet Russia, you know the fix was in!