Archives for posts with tag: Sylvester Stallone

To say “Rocky IV” (1985) is simplistic is to say two more words than I think Dolph Lundgren’s Ivan Drago said in the entire movie. Sylvester Stallone cashes in (or sells out?) by exploiting the Cold War in what turns out to be, more or less, a 90-minute music video of workout montages, flashbacks and forgotten ’80s hits. But there’s also James Brown singing “Living in America” when Apollo Creed enters the ring to fight Drago. That scene says more about the spectacle of boxing than anything ever filmed. If this movie only exists for that one purpose, it’s enough.

A Vietnam-era PTSD victim drifts into a small town, the cops pull a “vet lives matter” on him and all hell breaks loose. Voila! Sylvester Stallone has a second franchise. “First Blood” (1982) is a landmark in macho film history, opening a door that guys like Chuck Norris and Steven Seagal walked through (after they closed it back shut so they could kick it down or blow it up). It’s so macho, David Caruso plays a wimpy guy. Hell, it’s so macho, testosterone-spouting Richard Crenna doesn’t need to show up in his Green Beret outfit until we’re 45 minutes in.

Movies with poker-playing con artists are always kinda fun. Thus, “Shade” (2003) is kinda fun. The film also sets a world record for the number of cigarettes lit in a single movie (I counted 10 bazillion). But like a chain-smoking teen, it’s trying too hard to be cool. The silly graphics, the cheesy techno music, the one-too-many double-crosses. It’s so unsophisticatedly noir, it ends up blanc. Pronounced, blah. Which is too bad, because like I said, there’s some fun. Jamie Foxx appears, then disappears. And Sylvester Stallone plays a veteran card sharp trading Bogart and Bacall lines with Melanie Griffiths.