Karu F. Daniels, New York Daily News
Published:November 11, 2021
Sylvester Stallone didn’t only meet his match in “Rocky IV,” he almost lost his life.
Dolph Lundgren, who played nemesis Ivan Drago in the hit 1985 film, went off script and nearly beat the franchise star to death.
“I got really injured during the fight,” the 75-year-old action star revealed. “I had to be flown into intensive care to California from Canada.”
Stallone recently posted “The Making of Rocky vs. Drago” video to his YouTube, saying that filming the fourth installment of his popular sports drama – which he directed— almost killed him.
Admitting he did encourage the towering Swedish actor and renowned martial artist to go all out and show his “dominance,” Stallone said the decision was almost to his own peril.
“Well, he pulverized me,” he deadpanned, noting Lundgren punched him right in the chest.
Stallone didn’t know how badly his body was damaged until after the cameras stopped rolling.
“I didn’t feel it in the moment but, later that night, my heart started to swell, my blood pressure went up to 260 and I was going to be talking to angels,” the New York city native recalled. “Next thing I know I’m on this emergency, low-altitude flight. I’m in intensive care surrounded by nuns.”
Hospitalized for four days, he said he “had to go back and finish the fight” after being discharged.
Stallone relishes the fact that the near-fatal punch didn’t end up on the cutting room floor. “How could you take that out?” he quipped.
The original “Rocky IV” also starred Burt Young, Talia Shire, Carl Weathers, Tony Burton, Brigitte Nielsen and Michael Pataki and went on to earn $300 million during its box office run.
On Nov. 12, “The Ultimate Director’s Cut” of the movie will be released on demand – featuring 40 minutes of never-before-seen footage.
The synopsis adds: “The fight scenes are more intense, the music is more powerful and the drama is heightened as world heavyweight champion Rocky Balboa (Stallone) must defend his title once again, this time against his most formidable opponent: Ivan Drago (Lundgren).”
In recent years, Stallone and Lundgren have reunited – fighting on the same team – for another successful box office franchise, “The Expendables.”