ROCKY IV 2: DRAGO’S REVENGE GETS FIRST POSTER

HOLLYWOOD – The long awaited sequel to Rocky IV – Rocky IV 2: Drago’s Revenge – has a new poster.

Rocky IV 2: Drago’s Revenge starring Dolph Lungren got its first poster today. The sequel to the 1985 boxing classic Rocky IV will be a new twist on the old premise. We spoke with director Sylvester Stallone on the new movie:

Rocky IV came out at the height of the Cold War and so it was definitely us against them. I think that our film and the song ‘Russians’ by Sting are credited with effectively ending the Soviet Union. However, now we live in a very different climate and I wanted our film to reflect our new relationship with Russia.

How so?

Well in the new film Ivan Drago is actually going to be the hero.

Fuck off!

No, it’s true. Ivan Drago has become an American citizen, following his defeat at the hands of Balboa. He rebuilds his career, vowing to Make America Great Again. It’s like a chant he has. The end of the film is going to be a stirring speech in which he tells all the Americans that we are all the same and that Russia and the United States is to be united and governed by the same President/Premier.

Resonant.

Exactly that word that you said.

Rocky IV 2: Drago’s Revenge will be released in 2018.

Image courtesy of @ThePixelFactor.

5 FACTS YOU NEVER KNEW ABOUT MISS UNIVERSE

HOLLYWOOD – Paulina Vega is the new Miss Universe and the Studio Exec FACT squad gives you the FACTS about the beauty competition which has done more than any other to promote world peace, while looking gorgeous.

1. Miss Universe is a complete misnomer as every single contestant since its inception has come from the planet Earth.

2. The Miss Universe competition survives as a remnant of an ancient civilization that worshiped women for their beauty and thought they shouldn’t do so much of the talkie-talk and just smile and be pretty instead.

3. Although the final televised competition is based on bathing wear and evening dresses, smiling and looking insipid, the initial qualifying rounds require contestants to strangle kittens and write convincing dissertations on Quantum mechanics and the inner workings of Russian foreign policy. This is kept secret.

4. Although traditional female, Dolph Lundgren won the 1983 edition which led to him being cast as Ivan Drago in Rocky IV.

5. The Miss Universe competition is a complete waste of time, just sexist horse sh*t and I can’t believe I’ve wasted my time and your time writing about it. I’m deeply ashamed of myself. And you.

For more FACTS click HERE.

AMERICAN SNIPER: REVIEW

AMERICAN SNIPER: REVIEW – Bradley Cooper’s Hangover 4 takes a dour turn as it heads off to war in Iraq.

Clint Eastwood’s Iraq war drama based on the real life story of America’s ‘deadliest sniper’ Chris Kyle and based on his memoir is a confusing and weird film. As an initial character study it resembles last year’s Dallas Buyers Club in taking an unlikely Southern character and turning him into something like a hero. We first see Kyle as a sniper deployed in Iraq. On a roof top covering the advance of a platoon of marines, he is presented with an impossible choice. A woman and her ten year old son approach the platoon with apparent intent. Does Kyle shoot them to protect the platoon, or does he renege on his duty and put the platoon at risk? Flashback to the rest of his life up until this point.

Kyle grows up with a gun in his hand and bottle fed a stern Christian based (almost Manichean) morality. There are wolves, sheep and sheep dogs, his father tells him, with his belt on the table. Kyle is thus pre-molded for when he finds his vocation in the Navy SEALs elite squad. But Cooper’s performance elevates Kyle from some brainwashed grunt. He is a chivalrous old fashioned type who falls completely for Taya (Sienna Miller), a feisty young woman who already feels she’s been around the block once too often. They marry with the second Gulf War imminent and Kyle’s deployment almost certain. And so back to shooting children.

Eastwood has created a weird film. The war scenes are compelling and work as a companion piece to Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker. As with Jeremy Renner’s character, Kyle is an expert who genuinely enjoys war as it gives him the opportunity to enact that expertise to its fullest potential. His simplistic us and them view of the world – the Iraqis are ‘savages’ who need to be exterminated –  is as narrow as you’d expect from someone who spends his life looking down a telescopic sight. Kyle is the man with the hammer who sees only nails. Whereas a friendship of sorts grew up between an Iraqi boy and the bomb disposal expert in Bigelow’s film, Kyle has little contact with the Iraqi populace short of popping them. One moment of apparent peace and civility – a meal shared in the house of  a suspect – is revealed to be a duplicitous trick.

This is not to say that the film wholeheartedly endorses Kyle’s viewpoint. His unwavering commitment to the war increasingly looks more like a symptom of PTSD or simple psychopathy than a political ethos. Or worse still, it is a self-serving justification to allow Kyle to keep killing people. His only moral quandary, his only stated doubt, is that he didn’t kill enough people and thereby save more of his own tribe. His upset at shooting a child he explains to a friend is because it was his first kill, like a man disappointed to have lost his virginity in an ugly drunken tryst.

Kyle’s entire life is defined by guns: from hunting with his dad, to Fallujah and on to hunting with his son. He even wins his wife’s affections by showing off his prowess at a funfair shooting gallery.  There’s a weird moment with his wife late on when he points a gun at her and tells her to drop her knickers – as a joke, with their kids in the next room – which might be a litmus test for how you view the protagonist and the whole film. If you see this as the good old boy charm of a happy domestic scene, you’ll read the film as a NRA approved portrait of a patriot who sacrificed his own mental well-being to protect and serve. Otherwise, you might see that the war will never end for this man, no matter where he is. And that the American in the title is a disturbing pairing with echoes of American Psycho, as if that’s what America is now, a country that kills at long range.

A final note on historical accuracy/honesty. American Sniper is open to criticism similar to that leveled at the Dallas Buyers Club. Just as McConaughey’s sexuality was straightened out by the Oscar winning film, so Kyle’s racism and his loud self-promotion is dampened down in Eastwood’s. Cooper’s Kyle is embarrassed by his legend, modest and self-effacing and as such eminently likable. In reality, Kyle wrote the book the film is based on, starred in a reality TV show, claimed to have shot looters post-Katrina and gave interviews to Bill O’Reilly et al claiming to have punched out Jesse Ventura (a case for defamation was found in the plaintive’s favor). Along with these omissions is the invention of an Iraqi sniper as a nemesis and mirror image of Kyle who is basically the Ivan Drago to Cooper’s Rocky IV.

This is a well made and intense war film. But I always felt like I was in the cinema featured in Inglourious Basterds watching the film about the Nazi sniper. Except the Nazi didn’t shoot children.

For more Reviews CLICK HERE.

5 HISTORICAL INACCURACIES IN ROCKY IV

HOLLYWOOD – Everyone knows that Sylvester Stallone‘s 1985 boxing film Rocky IV was based on a real fight that took place in 1982 but despite writer/director/ star Stallone’s commitment to authenticity there are a few inconsistencies spotted by the eagle-eyed Studio Exec FACT squad.

1. Rocky’s Russian opponent, Ivan Drago, played in the film by Dolph Lungren, is portrayed as a muscle bound 6 ft 5 giant with blond hair and a wife called Ludmilla, played by Sylvester Stallone’s then wife Brigitte Nielsen, but in real life Ivan Drago was actually married to a woman called Ivana. 

2.  When Rocky initially refuses to fight Drago, old enemy turned friend Apollo Creed (played by Carl Weathers) takes on the challenge and is killed in the ring [Spoiler].  The pre-show has James Brown performing ‘Living in America’. In reality, James Brown sang a cover version of the Rolling Stones hit ‘Brown Sugar’.

3. Rocky’s brother-in-law Paulie (Burt Young) owns a comedy robot called Sico. Although not an inaccuracy as such, the film neglects to mention that this robot was developed by Skynet and would later be instrumental in taking over the world.

4. During the training sequence, Ivan is shown using high-tech equipment to supplement his training and Rocky by contrast goes running in the snow. In actual fact, Rocky Balboa occasionally punched computers as well, but only to destroy them because he feared that one day Skynet would take over the world. 

5. The conclusion of the film shows Rocky winning the fight and also winning over the affection of the Russian audience. He gives an inspirational speech which is applauded even by the General Secretary of the Communist Party, and which includes the passage ‘If I can change and you can change, then everyone can change.’ In actual fact, the real Rocky Balboa said: ‘I beat your best man you dirty commie bastards!’ and was chased from the stadium by an angry mob, almost unleashing nuclear Armageddon on the world.

For more FACTS click HERE!