Sylvester Stallone was a jobbing minor New York actor with near-invisible bit parts in classic '70's films Bananas and Klute, a couple of guest roles in the cop shows Kojak and Police Story, and a dalliance with Corman, who reached for the brass ring with the feelgood boxing yarn Rocky and never looked back. Although more intelligent than his damaged-at-birth countenance, subsequent speech impediment, and muscular physique suggested in image-fixated Hollywood, his best films and greatest commercial triumphs have been in the enjoyably mindless action arena, his digressions conceded with good humour as mistakes.
I realise this list would be a bit controversial if I called these films the best, so I've been diplomatic. I'm an admirer of Mr. Stallone, but I'm just not into the Rocky or Rambo films (other than First Blood). These are the Stallone action films that made it into my DVD collection.
Former Green Beret John Rambo is pursued into the mountains surrounding a small town by a tyrannical sheriff and his deputies, forcing him to survive using his combat skills. (93 mins.)
“ Rambo before he became a joke. ” - jonabbott56
A tough-on-crime street cop must protect the only surviving witness to a strange murderous cult with far reaching plans. (87 mins.)
“ Unintentionally funny, but great fun. ” - jonabbott56
A botched mid-air heist results in suitcases full of cash being searched for by various groups throughout the Rocky Mountains. (112 mins.)
“ Perfect paint-by-numbers action thriller. Once past the gruesome intro, a totally satisfying button pusher. Never a dull moment, nice comeuppance scenes for the bad guys, and a great villain in scenery-chewing John Lithgow. "It's Die Hard on a mountain!" (Actually, it's a much better Die Hard 3 than Die Hard 3). Trivia: Stallone turned down Die Hard (Bruce Willis says thanks). More trivia: director Renny Harlin previously directed... Die Hard 2. ” - jonabbott56
A police officer is brought out of suspended animation in prison to pursue an old ultra-violent nemesis who is loose in a non-violent future society. (115 mins.)
“ Action mixed with speculative sci-fi and great satirical content based on some present-day idiocies taken to their logical conclusion. Ignore the stale B-movie plot and enjoy the trimmings. ” - jonabbott56
A woman entices a bomb expert she's involved with into destroying the mafia that killed her family. (110 mins.)
“ The flaws are part of the fun in this over-the-top explosives-laden absurdity. James Woods is unintentionally hilarious as a potty-mouthed incompetent authority figure. What makes this so entertaining is that everyone seems to be taking it seriously. ” - jonabbott56
Professional hit-man Robert Rath wants to fulfill a few more contracts before retiring but unscrupulous ambitious newcomer hit-man Miguel Bain keeps killing Rath's targets. (132 mins.)
“ The girl is the weak point in this otherwise tense and amusing thriller which is at its best when Stallone and Banderas are challenging each other as legendary assassin and young pretender respectively. She's an immoral, undeserving liability whose careless behaviour puts everyone at risk constantly throughout the film and directly causes several fatalities. The film is full of people who think they're so smart being duped, exposed, and/or blown away, but she gets a happy ending?
Jon is not on Facebook, but can reply to comments here, at the base of this list.
Obsessed with the popular culture of the 1960s and surrounding decades, Jon Abbott has been writing about film and TV for over thirty years in around two dozen different publications, trade, populist, and specialist. He is the author of several books, including
Irwin Allen Television Productions 1964-1970,
Stephen J. Cannell Television Productions: A History of All Series and Pilots,
The Elvis Films,
Cool TV of the 1960s: Three Shows That Changed the World, and Strange New World: Sex Films of the 1970s.
See his Amazon author's page, and his other lists on the IMDB, all under the pre-fix DISCOVER. ” - jonabbott56 ” - jonabbott56