Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Rocky 4 Robot Creator Has Choice Words About Sylvester Stallone's Director's Cut

35 years after its 1985 debut, Rocky IV is still a tricky movie to nail down. It is, at its very core, the timeless story of a man punching communism until it falls down. Other aspects of the film haven't aged as gracefully. Take, by way of example, Sico, the robot butler.

If it's been a while since you've seen the fourth movie in the Rocky series, maybe you've forgotten this part, but it only took three sequels for the franchise to go from "underdog boxer works hard, becomes heavyweight champion" to "superstar boxer avenges friend's death on the international stage, buys brother-in-law actual robot butler." The addition of a functioning automaton to a series of sports films has been a point of fascination with fans for decades, and the robot has developed something of a cult following.

That's why it was puzzling when Sylvester Stallone, who wrote, directed, and starred in Rocky IV, announced on Instagram that his forthcoming director's cut of the movie would see the lovable robot left on the cutting room floor.

"The robot is going to the junkyard forever. No more robot," wrote Stallone. The news was predictably divisive among fans — some celebrated the machine's departure, others called for an unsanctioned, 15-round grudge match between Rocky and the robot he seems so willing to abandon. But one voice rings out above the noise: the robot's maker, Robert Doornick, who has some interesting theories and harsh words regarding his creation's dismissal.

The Rocky road to obsolescence

"I was in my office when I found out," International Robotics founder Robert Doornick told Empire. "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 cheques all the time — and of course he sends them over to me."

Now, there's a lot to unpack here. Is Sico the robot actually a member of SAG? If so, who was paying its dues? Does the robot have headshots? Did it spring for the ones where it's in different outfits to display its range? Whatever the case, and regardless of Stallone's attempts to damnatio memoriae the unfortunate mechanical man, the Sico robot enjoyed a storied career, both before and after its Rocky IV role. The International Robotics website lists a few of its accomplishments, which include its time touring with James Brown, its single season as a recurring cast member on Days of Our Lives, gigs entertaining "royals and dignitaries," and perhaps most impressively, the fact that it has its "own personal American Express and Master Card credit cards." That explains how it pays its SAG dues, anyway.

Stallone, meanwhile, has been stalwart in his insistence that the Rocky IV director's cut is all about creating a more meaningful motion picture. Posting on Instagram, he stated, "I love re-editing this film. I have found such fantastic moments that I overlooked many years ago. This is a blessing to go back and get another chance to make it even better!" Sico the robot did not respond to a request for comment.