Let’s not beat about the bush, Sylvester Stallone has made some bad films. If the majority of his films were a Michael Jackson album, they’d be Bad. If they were the name of a fish backwards, that fish would be a Dab. You get the idea. I’d list them all, but I’m not sure there’s enough space left on the site, maybe even the Internet, to do that.
And yet, in amongst those clunkers there are a few sens-Sly-tional (if that isn’t a word, it is now) pieces of entertainment that I can’t help but love, honour and promise to defend, until violently comic death do us part.
So let’s kick off with the highs, because we’ll need to build up some serious altitude before we tackle the lows…
5 That Were Awesome…
5. Rambo – First Blood (1982)
I saw Rambo: First Blood Part 2, on TV in the early 1990s. It wasn’t great. A superhuman with improbably big muscles carrying weapons that would have strained the front of a Huey, let alone a man’s arms. It was all very 80’s and very average. What makes it particularly disappointing, as I learned a few years later, was that the original, also written by its star, was simply superb.
A brooding and desolate John Rambo is a troubled Vietnam vet (that’s war veteran, not cat doctor) tormented by a local sheriff and his cronies. At first, our hero is a model of restraint, in fact if Stallone played him any more low key, he’d be off the left hand side of a piano, but when the violence explodes into a brutal manhunt, it’s quite astonishing. Personally, I love Rambo disguising himself as half a forest to knife a guy, and his jump off a cliff, no CGI – they just did it - which still looks stunning 30 years on.
Plus, it ends on a hell of a downer, reflecting that there were very few happy endings for those that had come back from that war. Oh, and it features CSI Miami’s Horatio Caine looking like a small boy who hasn’t had his dinner in a month.
This article was first posted on February 1, 2013