Here it is — the end of Stallone Month. Sly isn’t in the lead role in this last film, but there isn’t a better set of bookends for this month than Rocky and Creed.
Creed, from 2015, is a spinoff of the successful Rocky series. In a surprising change, Sly did not pen the screenplay for this film. After having seen all the Rocky films, it’s clear that not only is Rocky Sly’s opus, it’s also his most personal character. The lovable meathead aspects of Rocky are pure invention, but all the motivational stuff — the pronouncements about hard work and not expecting any handouts — that’s all Sly. Rocky was the vehicle Sly used to share his worldview. Continue reading “Stallone Month: Creed”
90 million bucks. That’s how much it costs to make a shitshow of a movie. A bad film can be made for far less than that, of course, but an unofficial motto of The Expendables films has been ‘go big or go home.’ Those 90 million dollars are about all that’s big about this film, though. Sure, The Expendables 3 looks like a big Hollywood action flick, but pay close attention and one will realize that just about everything in this movie is ersatz — an imitation. Continue reading “Stallone Month: The Expendables 3″
If there is one positive from Hurricane Katrina, one not worth the cost yet still a positive, it has been the emergence of a Louisiana style of crime filmmaking — a bayou noir. Filmmakers have been drawn to the state in a show of solidarity with the residents of Louisiana and to take advantage of tax credits. It’s a win-win for the film industry and for local economies. Whether or not it’s a win for audiences rests on whether or not these films are worth watching. Continue reading “Stallone Month: Bullet to the Head”
I’m not sure that Sylvester Stallone, or anyone else involved with The Expendables, thought that film would spawn a franchise. In many ways, The Expendables felt like a lark — a one-time moment that tapped into a well of nostalgia for 1980s-style action in the moviegoing public. It sold itself on its cast and its cameos, then followed that up with an uneven, but very exciting, film. It made a pile of cash, so of course there were going to be another one made. Continue reading “Stallone Month: The Expendables 2″
Despite being a big star, Sylvester Stallone has always seemed to struggle with relevancy. The 2000s had a pair of ‘comeback’ films for Sly, with Rocky Balboa in 2006 and Rambo in 2008. It seemed like every success he had was forgotten. Perhaps that’s because these two films felt like a coda to beloved characters from decades past, whereas The Expendables, from 2010, was new-ish. Or maybe having a comeback film is just part of Sly’s brand in the 21st century. Either way, The Expendables is the throwback to 1980s action that no one knew we needed until it showed up in theaters and made money. Continue reading “Stallone Month: The Expendables”
2008 was another treat for Sylvester Stallone fans. After the success of Rocky Balboa, it was time to resurrect Sly’s second most popular alter ego. It had been 20 years since the last Rambo movie, and it was a sad end to the series. In the intervening years the Cold War came to a fortuitous close, and Rambo’s Mujahideen buddies from the third flick became America’s enemies. Never mind all that, though. Rambo doesn’t bother with any of America’s bugaboos, past or present. The bad guys in this flick are from Burma. Continue reading “Stallone Month: Rambo”
Rocky V was supposed to be the last Rocky movie. In it, Rocky is robbed of all his money by an accountant, and he has to retire from boxing due to brain damage. His final fight, and there is always a final fight in a Rocky flick, took place on the streets in front of Mickey’s gym, where it all began. It was meant to wrap the story of Rocky up with a nice little bow. In that, the film did its job, even though the mediocre quality of the film left some fans feeling a little let down. But, by the mid-2000s, Sylvester Stallone was feeling nostalgic, and along came another sequel, sixteen years after the last. Continue reading “Stallone Month: Rocky Balboa”
What in the world is this movie? If a viewer is like me, then they have never heard of Eye See You, or D-Tox, or The Outpost, or whatever title producers attached to this redheaded stepchild of a movie. From 2002, but filmed in 1999, Eye See You was a film beset by reshoots and plagued by unhappy men in suits, resulting in a film that trickled out into the public without fanfare or wide release. Continue reading “Stallone Month: Eye See You, aka D-Tox”
What a putrid, rotten mess of a movie. I was really hoping before I sat down to watch this movie for Stallone Month that it was not as bad as I remembered — that time had distorted what I recalled being one of the worst films I have ever seen. As it turned out, this memory was a reliable one. I hate this movie. I haven’t hated a movie this much since I reviewed Return of the Living Dead: Rave to the Grave. In fact, this movie joins the short list of films I absolutely despise.
Driven, from 2001, was a passion project from Sylvester Stallone. Apparently he had been doing extensive research on the sport of motor racing while working on draft after draft of this film’s screenplay, and I can’t see any evidence of that. There are objects in this film that resemble racecars and people dressed up as racecar drivers, but that is where similarities with the actual sport end. Sly took the look and feel of a sport and jettisoned all else in order to shove it into a stupid and flimsy narrative. Oh, and lest Sly take all the blame, this flick was directed by Renny Harlin, and features some staggeringly inept performances from Sly, Burt Reynolds, Gina Gershon, and someone named Kip Pardue. Continue reading “Stallone Month: Driven”
Get Carter, the 1971 gangster flick starring Michael Caine, is a classic. Get Carter, the 2000 gangster flick starring Sylverster Stallone, is not. Such is the way of things. The most difficult thing about watching this movie is knowing that a better alternative exists.
Directed by Stephen Kay from a screenplay by David McKenna, Get Carter is the second adaptation of Ted Lewis’s novel Jack’s Return Home. Sly stars as Jack Carter, a thug who collects outstanding debts for a Las Vegas crime boss. Jack returns home to Seattle after learning of the death of his brother, Ritchie. The death doesn’t seem to be on the up and up, so he decides to stick around and see what he can find out.
Everyone Jack meets, including Ritchie’s friends, colleagues, and spouse, want him to leave. No one wants a critical eye turned towards Ritchie’s death because, of course, he was murdered. In order to find out why, and to exact revenge, Jack must cut his way through Seattle’s underbelly. And it is a scuzzy place to be. One of the first people Jack confronts about Ritchie is Cyrus Paice (Mickey Rourke), a crime boss who makes some of his cash with underground pornography. Continue reading “Stallone Month: Get Carter (2000)”