When Sylvester Stallone went to the ICU in the middle of filming ‘Rocky IV’

“He’s not human, he’s like a piece of iron,” a bloodied man snaps at his coach. Ivan Drago in full Muscovite combat. Rocky IV It was released in 1985, six years before the Soviet Union dissolved and ended a long Cold War. The fourth film in the saga of the most charismatic boxer in Philadelphia had all the incentives of blockbuster political that he would later become: two opposing entities fighting for victory, boxing, emotion, Survivor’s music and a moral adapted to his socio-political context; The United States was the power on which to rest aspirations for the future and progress.

Rocky Balboa He traveled to Moscow to confront the image that Americans had, or wanted to have, of Soviet athletes: a robotic mixture of doping that was fed by bizarre machines that measured their every move. East against West. The Siberian bull against the Italian colt. Good and bad. Communism and capitalism. Rocky IV he drew the line of an iron curtain that also launched his rockets from the big screen. Oscar propaganda.

Beyond the success that the film had, rising as the highest grossing delivery to date (1985) of Rocky, Sylvester Stallone He showed that his drive to get fully into the role would end up taking its toll. The actor wanted combat with Dolph Lundgren (Drago) was as true as possible, and asked the actor who played his rival in the ring to deliver several real punches to give the scene realism.

Just try to knock me out. “Hit me as hard as you can,” repeated a confident Stallone. The American wanted fluency to set the pace in the recording, so he recommended that Lundgren forget about previous choreographies and improvise in combat. “Get out there and try to pace me,” he told her. During the first minute of the fight, the interpreter who gives life to Balboa gave way to the blows of the Swede, something that he would end up regretting.

Rocky Balbao (Sylvester Stallone) and Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren) in a scene from Rocky IV.

The ‘uppercut’ of UCI

A “monstrous force” hardened by effort. “Like your Popeye, eat spinach every day”, they recited in the film to talk about the superhuman power of Drago. Of enviable physique, Stallone did not hesitate – although he did doubt because of his height – when it came to giving him the role of Soviet boxer that would change his career. Lundgren thus acquired a tough guy plant capable of landing any blow, whether on or off the screen.

Behind the freestyle of the cinematic combat between the Swede and Stallone, the American claimed to feel good, confirming that his idea of ​​improvising the scene had paid off. However, the actor began to feel unwell at night. The uppercut (boxing punch) that Lundgren pulled out of his hat hit Stallone’s ribs and hit his heart against his rib cage.

I knew I was in trouble when the nuns welcomed me to the ICU »


The next thing Stallone remembers after the coup “is that I was on a low-altitude plane to go to the emergency room, where I ended up in intensive care for four days with a lot of nuns around me.” Despite the seriousness of the matter, especially considering that the impact of uppercut simulated a “head-on collision” of any kind according to medical analysis, the American pulled in humor to cope with the incident. “Dolph Lundgren took me to the hospital for nine days,” he added later.

Lundgren, a karate specialist and with a body identical to that of the Action Man that dominated the shelves of toy stores a few decades ago, tried to take the issue away by claiming that his only job was to “obey orders.” He was the boss. I did what he told me. We went back to Los Angeles and the producer said, ‘Hey Dolph, you have two weeks off: Sly is in the hospital.’

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When Sylvester Stallone went to the ICU in the middle of filming ‘Rocky IV’