Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the ring .... Sylvester Stallone appears, at 59 years of age, to battle glove on glove with yet another villain. Will he wear boxing shoes or bedroom slippers? Will he have a mouth guard or simply leave his teeth in his corner? Will he wear a jock strap or a hernia belt?
Who will the villain be this time? The sleek Carl Weathers as Apollo Creed or the daunting Dolph Lundgren as Russian Ivan Drago ... no wait, Stallone won't have Lundgren back because the Kyokushinkai karate champion broke his ribs while they were shooting Rocky IV when Sly thought for a minute there that he was a real boxer. And anyway we LIKE Russians now.
They'll need a serious enemy for this one ... Someone fearsome. Ba-ad. A real boogy-man.
Eminem? ....... Nah, talks too much, we need the star to say the lines.
Hannibal Lecter with a starched white napkin and a glass of Chianti in his corner? ....... Nah, too literate for Rocky.
Mike Tyson, sheeez, scary, all teeth and wimpy voice, licking his lips, taunting Rocky. Whispering so Sly has to cock his ear and come closer. ...... Nah, too much like cannibal Hannibal.
Hey, what about Kim Jong Il, the North Korean President, bill him as the Pyongyang Pugilist against Rocky's Atomic Fists! ....... Nah, watching anyone smack that cartoon head of Jong's around would just become a comedy. Too much fun.
Hmm, let's see ... a woman maybe? Yeah Syd, that's IT! They're running for President now, they gotta take their lumps too. Hillary Clinton fits the bill, she's cool, she's nasty, some think she already murdered that guy in the White House ....... Nah, she'd beat the hell out of Stallone in the audition! Too dangerous for our hero. And the stunt doubles would refuse to do it.
Of course we'll have Talia Shire back as Granny Daisy Moses. (she's in with Francis Ford Cuppola, you know, and that means the Mafia) And Burgess Meredith again as the trainer. Yeah, I know he's dead but we're not giving him lines, he'll just have to sit there looking glazed. Again. Call his mortician.
I got it. I got it! Saddam Hussein! He's available. He's mean. He's tough. Everyone hates him. They could have Saddam enter from a hole in the center of the ring, all full of dust and dirt, spider-web beard and all! He's a natural Weapon of Mass Destruction. It's a win win situation. (Well not for Saddam) But it'll work! He's the anti-Santa Claus. Elton John singing Rocket Man! Fireworks and tracers overhead. That green film from the '91 war. A terrorist section in the bleachers! Stealth Bombers in the night. And when Rocky knocks him out, we'll have him fall exactly like that Statue in Bagdad! Just ... friggin' ... perfect.
Hmmm, but why do I feel most of the hot money would be on Saddam?
reprint from Oct, 2005