"...does the crowd understand, is it East vs. West or man against man."
Perhaps the installment in the Rocky series with the least development of Rocky's character, Rocky IV, for some reason is a favorite for casual fans of the films.
The movie contains the cold war overtone of USA vs. Russia. Rocky Balboa is on the top of his game, family-wise and financial-wise. However, from the frozen tundra of Russia comes former USSR Olympian boxer, Ivan Drago(played by Dolph Lundgren). The "Siberian Express" has destroyed all competition in his home country and is brought to America to challenge Rocky to an exhibition bout. Rocky's friend and former mentor, Apollo Creed, learns of the challenge and asks Rocky to let him fight the gigantic Russian. Creed feels he still has some fight left in him and wants to prove this to his fans. Rocky has doubts about the fight considering Apollo's age and how he hasn't fought in nearly 10 years. Creed follows through however and meets Drago in the exhibition bout in Las Vegas.
Always the entertainer, Apollo enters the ring to a flashy entrance accompanied by a performance of James Brown in a memorable scene. The flashiness soon wears off as Creed is pounded by the Russian and in the 2nd round of the match, in front of his fans, Rocky, and his own wife is knocked down and and mortally beaten. Apollo dies in Rocky's arms in the middle of the ring where he lived his life. As Rocky holds the bloody body of Apollo he stares up into the cold, emotionless eyes of Ivan Drago.
Out of vengence Rocky declares he will battle the Russian on Christmas day in the USSR. No one gives the Itallian Stallion a chance against Drago, not even Adrian. Rocky travels to the barren land of Siberia to train. The training is perhaps the toughest and most hellish he has gone through yet. Drago, however, in a high tech lab, is given steriods to increase his strength. The two types of training contrast greatly.
The day of the fight arrives. In an arena filled with Russians, Rocky is given no respect, something he is definetly not familiar with, Drago however, is cheered as a hero. The fight is long and brutal. Both fighters have given it their all. Rocky has amazingly won over the anti-american crowd through his will and determination.
Finally, Rocky knocks Ivan down in the final round for the count. He has prevailed once again. Not only have the Russians learned to respect Rocky but the American will has well. In a touching speech Rocky gives the world hope once again... "If I can change, you can change, everybody can change!"ROCKY IV QUOTES