It’s a fact that the late 1970’s into 1980’s perfected the action movie. Back then, Hollywood churned out countless testosterone-fueled classics, with everything from Predator to the Terminator films premiering. It was 80’s cinema that first introduced the world to likes of Chuck Norris, Steven Seagal, and the legendary Arnold Schwarzenegger, who turned 70 this month.
And while contemporary movies like the latest offerings from the Marvel Comics universe or Michael Bay’s Transformers series help scratch that itch for drama punctuated with raw action, their stories and leading actors fail to capture the manly feel of those 80’s classics. One need only compare 2011’s Conan the Barbarian to Schwarzenegger’s iconic 1982 portrayal of the same character to see the difference.
Thankfully, Hollywood seems to have picked up on this desire for the action films of decades’ past, and no franchise shows that better than the revival of the Sylvester Stallone classic Rocky. With the first film released in 1976, the Rocky series grew to a world-wide phenomenon. The tale of an amateur boxer rising from nothing to become a champion resonates in a primal way. There isn’t a man alive who can say Survivor’s Eye of the Tiger, the standout hit from the series’ epic soundtrack, doesn’t get his blood pumping.
2015’s Creed is the successor to Stallone’s boxing epic, and the upcoming sequel plans to introduce the glory of the early films to a whole new generation of men, through the return of one of its most memorable characters: Ivan Drago.
Played by colossal actor and martial artist Dolph Lundgren, Ivan Drago first terrified audiences with his appearance as the primary antagonist of Rocky IV. With its underlying themes about Cold War tensions and American patriotism, Rocky IV is the quintessential 80’s action sports film. With its training montages, energetic soundtrack, and viscerally filmed and choreographed boxing scenes, the fourth entry in the series still holds up today.
Fans of original films should rejoice, as series writer, director, and actor Sylvester Stallone confirmed that Lundgren has signed on to reprise his role as Ivan Drago, the a savage Russian boxer nicknamed the Siberian Express. For those unfamiliar with the earlier films, Adonis Johnson, the main character of 2015’s Creed, is the son of Apollo Creed, another legendary character from the series who lost his life in the ring to the terrifying Drago. The 2015 film was a perfect reboot of the series, and with Lundgren reprising his role, the sequel should hopefully recapture the magic of those 80’s classics.