From a technical standpoint, Rocky IV is far from the best entry in the series, but based on the sheer entertainment factor alone, it remains a lot of people’s favorite and still ranks as the highest-grossing installment in the franchise despite 35 years of rising ticket prices and the widespread acclaim that greeted the two Creed movies.
Understandably, then, fans were overjoyed at the news that Sylvester Stallone was working on a Director’s Cut during his downtime, after production on the veteran action star’s superhero flick Samaritan was halted as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. The 74 year-old has been teasing plenty of unseen footage that will beef up the brief 90 minute running time of the theatrical release, but one of the most bizarre and yet popular members of the cast of Rocky IV will be absent.
Stallone recently confirmed that SICO, Paulie’s robotic butler who instantly gained cult status despite getting very little in the way of screen time, won’t be featured at all in the upcoming Director’s Cut. Now, International Robotics founder Robert Doornick, who built SICO and also provided the voice of the character, has admitted in a recent interview that he’s not happy about his creation being left on the cutting room floor and thinks it was done as a cost-cutting measure.
“I was in my office when I found out. I was deluged with messages. ‘How can Stallone do that?’. But I know why he’s doing it, because I know he loves the robot. By causing turmoil among the fans of SICO, it generates more publicity. And by removing the robot from the movie, it saves money in royalty fees, because he is a member of the Screen Actors Guild. SICO receives checks all the time, and of course he sends them over to me.”
Doornick’s comments are more than a little tongue in cheek, and while Stallone might very well by removing SICO to avoid shelling out royalty payments, he might also be jettisoning one of the most unusual aspects of Rocky IV to enhance the quality of the story in the Director’s Cut, given that the robot is played entirely for laughs and doesn’t factor into the narrative in any sort of meaningful way.