It’s Rocky IV, reimagined. Sylvester Stallone has released a new director’s cut of the fourth Rocky film, now titled Rocky vs. Drago. It includes more than 40 new minutes, and Stallone tells ABC Audio that process gave him a “rude awakening.”

“As a young man, you’re more interested in, let’s get down there and rush and get it all done,” he explains. “And then as you get older, you get a little more pensive and you try to find the sensitive moments, pull back on the cheap shots and get the more profound moments.”

So how does this version differ from the original? Stallone says it has more heart and fewer laughs.

“I try to give even Drago some heart, give Adrienne a little bit more screen time, enhance the fight a little bit,” he offers. “But more than anything [I removed] what I would consider just the cheap laughs.” 

There’s also a new version of the fight between Rocky and Ivan Drago, played by Dolph Lundgren — the one Stallone tells ABC Audio almost killed him.

“I said to Dolph…just come and try to knock me out. Just go for it. You know, don’t crush my temple, but really dig the body. Well, he did, and he damaged my heart,” he reveals.

“I didn’t feel it until that night. And then I had to get a low altitude flight into an emergency room, and I stayed in intensive care for about five or six days,” adds Stallone, who had “nuns coming in every five minutes” asking if he was alright.

“And I as like Oh my God. This is it. I’m done,” he continues. “An hour ago, I was in the ring with a six foot five guy. Now I’m being given giving last rites? I’m a little confused.” 

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.