Sylvester Stallone

Tango & Cash (1989)

The Great Movie Re-Watch

Tango & Cash (1989)

Directors:

Andrey Konchalovskiy

Albert Magnoli

Writers:

Randy Feldman

Jeffrey Boam

Starring:

Sylvester Stallone

Kurt Russell

Terri Hatcher

Jack Palance

Blurb:

Framed by their ruthless arch-nemesis, a mismatched LAPD crime-fighting duo has to put its differences aside to even the score with the evil kingpin who put them behind bars once and for all.

Thoughts:

The title and idea of Tango & Cash are awesome. You’ve got Sylvester Stallone and Kurt Russell as, basically, buddy cops. They’re taking down criminals in their own way until they’re framed by a weird old white dude that has a thing for mice. It’s a great premise, and the first half of the movie is fine. Sadly, the last half doesn’t make sense, and it’s clear that someone else directed it.

Honestly, reading up on the film, it’s a miracle it got made. They went twenty million over budget, and Stallone fired the director and the original director of photography. Supposedly he was also the producer, director, writer, and star all at one time. He wasn’t given credit for it, and the Wikipedia isn’t one I’d trust completely, so take that with a bag of salt. It’s possible he felt inferior because Russell is so clearly the better actor.

I’d say this is around the time Stallone’s career started to take a downturn. He still did some good movies, but they were more hit or miss. He’s a better actor than Schwarzenegger, but he’s got a type he can play, and he should stick with it. Stallone is definitely not a comedian. He should have learned that in Cobra, but he didn’t. His jokes did not land in Tango & Cash, and it made his character seem off. Stallone has the superior butt, but Russell has better comedic timing.

Apparently, Stallone is trying to make a sequel, but I don’t see Russell doing it. I didn’t read anything about them having issues, but I find it hard to believe that Stallone was a joy to work with.

Only one more movie left in the 80s!

Rambo III (1988)

The Great Movie Re-Watch

Rambo III (1988)

Director:

Peter MacDonald

Writers:

Sylvester Stallone

Sheldon Lettich

Starring:

Sylvester Stallone

Richard Crenna

Blurb:

Rambo mounts a one-man mission to rescue his friend Colonel Trautman from the clutches of the formidable invading Soviet forces in Afghanistan.

Thoughts:

Technically, Rambo III was playing while I was endlessly scrolling on my phone. I looked up occasionally. I read the Wikipedia entry. That’s about it, though. I vaguely remember Rambo looking world-weary as he killed a lot of Russians and saved a lot of Afghans. There were explosions, probably racism, and according to Wikipedia, we’re still in peak Stallone diva time.

What else can you say? At this point, the series has completely left behind what made the first movie good. I like explosions and action, but I can’t view Rambo as a self-insert, so he does nothing for me. He’s eye-roll-worthy and occasionally sympathetic. I think the behind-the-scenes stuff I’ve read has lowered my opinion of Stallone, so I can’t enjoy them even at the low level I used to.

Oh well. Little Mermaid is next.

Cobra (1986)

The Great Movie Re-Watch

Cobra (1986)

Director:

George P. Cosmatos

Writers:

Sylvester Stallone

Starring:

Sylvester Stallone

Brigitte Neilsen

Reni Santoni

Brian Thompson

Blurb:

A tough-on-crime street cop must protect the only surviving witness to a strange murderous cult with far-reaching plans.

Thoughts:

Cobra has a lot of tropes that have become overused, or it has stuff borrowed from much better works. Stallone’s character, Marion Cobretti, seems influenced by Dirty Harry and a character played by Steve McQueen in The Reivers. He’s also named after John Wayne. It’s too much for me.

It’s all a bit heavy-handed, and there are a couple of my least favorite tropes in action movies. Stallone gets the girl after being a dick to her. They have sex while she’s being chased by a violent cult of murderers that like to bang axes together. There’s a genuinely awful montage about halfway through the movie. It is painful to watch and doesn’t fit in with the film. There are several attempts by Stallone to be funny, some running gag about eating healthy, but it comes off as weird and awkward.

The original director’s cut was two hours long, but they cut stuff so that they could get more showings in theaters. Stallone was apparently in charge of or had a say in what was cut, so they cut many scenes with other characters. Which explains at the end of the movie where his partner is shot and then disappears until Stallone is putting him in an ambulance.

Reading the Wikipedia entry for this movie is peak diva Stallone. The man sounded like he was unbearable while filming this. Not just making the movie all about him to the detriment of the plot, but he wanted the author who wrote the book this was loosely based on to re-release the book and list him as coauthor—the absolute ego on this man.

The best part about Cobra was the tagline, “Crime is a disease. Meet the cure.” Everything else was too over the top, cliché, and honestly too dark, in my opinion. It might as well have been set in a post-apocalyptic world with how L.A. was depicted. Not a fan.

Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985)

The Great Movie Re-Watch

Rambo: First Blood Part II

Director:

George P. Cosmatos

Writers:

Sylvester Stallone

James Cameron

Starring:

Sylvester Stallone

Richard Crenna

Charles Napier

Julie Nickson

Blurb:

Rambo returns to the jungles of Vietnam on a mission to infiltrate an enemy base-camp and rescue the American POWs still held captive there.

Thoughts:

Rambo: First Blood Part II nearly killed my momentum in my movie re-watch. I was not in the mood to watch it at all. In the end, I had it playing in the background while I folded laundry and played Candy Crush. It is not as good as the first movie and is the birth of Rambo’s current image. It has a huge body count, tons of explosions, and lots of racism. For one brief moment, it seems to call out the government and its treatment of the entire Vietnam war situation, but it is not nearly as scathing as the first movie.

I own Part II because it came in a box set my partner purchased. I nearly convinced myself to skip over it, but it felt like cheating. I don’t hate the movie. It isn’t so violent that it makes me ill, like a couple of the films my partner owns. It’s just not a movie I need to watch more than once.

After the last movie’s events, Rambo is working on a chain gang when Troutman approaches him about a job in Vietnam. He’s given a choice to go back to Vietnam or stay on the chain gang. He chose Vietnam. He’s completely set up for what happens to him, and you know it’s going to happen because he points it out before he gets in the chopper to leave. They hire freaking Rambo to take pictures proving there are no POWs. It was massive overkill, even if there wasn’t supposed to be anyone.

There’s a woman in this one. Rambo kisses her, and then she dies, spurning him on for vengeance. It’s one of my least favorite tropes in action movies. The character was Vietnamese and was supposed to speak in broken English, but the actress did an awful job of it. She pronounced all of the words correctly and skipped over words to make it sound broken. It didn’t sound like anyone I’ve heard who is speaking their non-native language.

Rambo: First Blood Part II showed the flaw in my system. I’ve had urges to watch movies that I own from later years, but I’ve resisted. Having this one in my queue with no desire to watch it made those urges harder to ignore. I ended up starting a binge-watch of Life in Pieces while I kept putting it off.

Next up is Jumpin Jack Flash.

First Blood (1982)

The Great Movie Re-Watch

First Blood (1982)

Director:

Ted Kotcheff

Writers:

Michael Kozoll

William Sackheim

Sylvester Stallone

Starring:

Sylvester Stallone

Brian Dennehy

Richard Creena

Blurb:

A veteran Green Beret is forced by a cruel Sheriff and his deputies to flee into the mountains and wage an escalating one-man war against his pursuers.

Thoughts:

First Blood is my husband’s movie. I debated on whether or not I would watch it. I’ve seen it once before, and while I don’t have a problem with it, I wasn’t feeling a “deeper” movie. I know, I know calling a Rambo movie deep is funny, but First Blood is a bit different from the other Rambo movies. Yes, there are a lot of explosions and Rambo being a badass, but it starts with him just walking the highway as a Vietnam vet with nowhere to go. He’s arrested under trumped-up charges, and he’s pushed over the edge when the cop’s treatment of him mirrors how he was treated as a prisoner of war.

I haven’t read much about the seventies, history-wise, but I’ve been told that Vietnam vets were treated incredibly poorly. This is a huge contrast to how most people treat vets now. Though, it does seem as though the government has always treated vets poorly, so that hasn’t changed since then.

And now it’s time for “Random Facts from the Wikipedia Article!

-The film was shot in Canada, so the guns had to be brought from the US. Halfway through filming, over fifty of them were stolen.

-Kirk Douglas was originally cast as the sheriff but didn’t like that the ending had been changed from the book. He wanted them both to die.

-The original cut of the movie was over three hours. It was so bad that Stallone wanted to buy the film and destroy it because he thought it would ruin his career.

And that’s the end of another edition of “Random Facts from the Wikipedia Article!”

I think people forget that Stallone can act. He’s not an Oscar winner, but he’s probably the best actor out of all the big 80s action movie stars. He nails the gaze of someone who is done with life, and you believe his breakdown at the conclusion of the film.

There are a lot of complaints about how unrealistic the movie is *rolls eyes* but the most unrealistic scene for me is when the cops don’t shoot him as he’s being led from the police station at the end. I can believe Stallone surviving jumping off a cliff and being in a mine when it explodes, but the cops not continuing to be the dicks they’ve proven themselves to be, was pushing the envelope. Though, I guess there was a large media presence so that probably kept them under control.

First Blood is a good movie and one I recommend for all film fans. However, it’s not one I would choose to own. For me, it’s one of those movies that I only have to see once.