Ivan Drago is a goddamned insanely badass boxer from the Soviet Union and the chief villain in Rocky IV, where he perpetually beats the shit out of anyone who crosses him and demonstrates ass-kicking abilities the likes of which make the ghost of Josef Stalin weep tears of joy. “The Siberian Express” is Communist-bred to be the ultimate killing machine – he’s like fucking seven feet tall, two hundred and fifty pounds, has a massive reach advantage over anybody not named Shaquille O’Neal, and has a crazy over-the-top right hook that hits hard enough to knock most livestock unconscious. At the time he faces Rocky in the biggest boxing match since Ali-Frazier he’s got a record of one hundred wins and zero losses with something like ninety knockouts, one Olympic gold medal, the Russian National Title, and one guy who got such a royal ass-kicking that he died right in the middle of the ring.
For starters, Drago is the perfect bad guy. He’s little more than a fucking insanely-muscular propaganda engine for the Soviet Union, and it’s a well-known fact to everyone outside of Moscow that the Soviets are the most fun-to-hate villains in the history of the world. He comes to the U. S. in 1987 with his veins pumping pure Marxism and Creatine, threatening to kick the ass of any American Capitalist pig-dog who would dare oppress the Proletariat and unblinkingly giving the death stare anyone who would dare talk to him. When washed-up ex-champ Apollo Creed decides to fuck with Drago for some dumbass reason, it only takes two rounds for the Siberian Express to get so pissed off at Creed’s red, white and blue boxing trunks that he punches Carl Weather’s brains out the back of his head and makes Rocky cry. He doesn’t even give a crap either because he’s an emotionless automaton who shows no compassion whatsoever and only speaks when he’s threatening someone. He also takes shit from no one – when his own KGB Politburo Commie bastard politician buddy starts talking shit to him in the middle of a match Drago just gets super omega pissed, chokes him like Darth Vader and then chucks him face-first through the Spanish announcer’s table.
Drago is a trendsetter as well – back in a time when the training regimens of top American athletes were centered around punching meat, drinking raw eggs, jogging around outside like jackasses and putting together elaborate workout montages while Loverboy’s “Working for the Weekend” played in the background, Ivan was hooking himself up to electrodes, monitoring his heart rate, running on treadmills and getting injected with five thousand cc’s of anabolic horse steroids - a forward-thinking workout used my many of today’s most successful professional athletes. Of course, most sources say that Drago actually believed that he was being injected with flaxseed oil at the time.
"I must break you."
Unfortunately we don’t get to see a whole lot of Drago kicking ass in Rocky IV (believe me, the movie would have been a lot better if it was just two hours of Ivan punching motherfuckers in the face, knocking out random people on the street and yelling curse words in Russian, mixed in with the occasional scene where hot wife gets naked), so aside from the epic, unholy, commercial-grade face-busting he dropped on Apollo Creed, the action centers around his first (and presumably only) defeat in the ring – the World Championship bout against Rocky Balboa.
Now in the early rounds of the Battle of the Century, Drago lays a huge fucking asskicking on Balboa, getting him backed up in the corner and wailing on his face like a ninja wailing out a bitchin’ guitar solo on a Gibson Les Paul. He slaps Rocky around like a little bitch, knocking him down several times in the first two rounds and coming close to a “Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!” –style three-knockdowns-in-a-round TKO on more than one occasion. When Balboa tries to work on Drago’s massive eight-pack washboard abs he doesn’t even flinch. He’s also so pumped up about beating up Americans that he keeps on fighting even after the bell rings to end the round, because real badasses don’t need no stinking thirty-second breaks between rounds. Of course, he eventually gets screwed when Rocky harnesses his inner Adam Smith power and gives him an onslaught of his trademark Capitalist Wealth of Nations body-blows before knocking him unconscious and delivering the speech that single-handedly end the Cold War (“Everybody can change!”), but we all know that Drago’s defeat was not because of a physical shortcoming on his part but rather, like the 1980 Soviet Hockey Team, his failure stemmed from his representation of a flawed socio-economic theory that could never stand up to the good old stars-and-stripes U-S-A U-S-A do you believe in miracles.
Basically what I’m trying to say here is that Ivan Drago is fucking awesome, and messing with him is a huge mistake because even with gigantic padded red sickle-and-hammer-embroidered boxing gloves on his fists he can still cave in your face and make you throw a clot in your brain in about fifteen seconds. Also, I don’t know how this really fits in, but Dolph Lundgren has a master’s degree in chemical engineering from MIT, which I’m going to count as bonus points towards the badassitude of his character.
"You will lose."
Ivan Drago: Justice Enforcer