Three Italian-American brothers, living in the slums of 1940's New York, try to help each other with one's wrestling career using one brother's promotional skills and another brother's con-artist tactics to thwart a sleazy manager.
Johnny Kovak joins the Teamsters trade-union in a local chapter in the 1930s and works his way up in the organization. As he climbs higher and higher his methods become more ruthless and ... See full summary »
God has had just about enough of the human's attitude so he will destroy the planet very soon. It is up to a struggling inventor and a bank teller, both with very amateur criminal minds, to... See full summary »
Lincoln Hawk (Stallone) is a struggling trucker who arm wrestles on the side to make extra cash while trying to rebuild his life. After the death of his wife, he tries to make amends with ... See full summary »
Scott Barnes (Travolta) is an alcoholic turned social worker hellbent on saving a young boy named Tommy (Lawrence) from self-destructing when he finds out he has begun selling crack in an ... See full summary »
When Travis and Wendell are kidnapped while on their way to opening a nightclub in rural Nebraska. The KGB spy Cameron Smith takes them to the U.S.S.R. instead with the intention of ... See full summary »
We ALL dance close to the fire. We are born. We live lives of intense passion and longing and lust and devotion. Then we are recycled into the cosmos like so many particles of interplanetary sediment. We ALL know what it is like to dance on the edge of the void. On the precipice. The parapet. To dangle over the edge into the vast infinite of our very souls.
It is for this reason that "Staying Alive" is a great film. One of my favorite films. Great films have universal themes, themes that anyone can understand, of any nationality, of any gender or religion. Great films transcend language and culture barriers. If you showed a man who never spoke English or even saw a TV "Staying Alive" I am confident he would understand it as not only a great winning film but as a story he personally could relate to.
Tony Manero could not be stopped after "Saturday Night Fever". His story needed to be told. To be completed. To be brought full circle. It simply would not rest. Like Lazarus its' spirit arose - like a Phoenix
into the blazing heat of a thousand cinema screens, to be projected
out and reflected into the hearts and minds of a million captive audience members.
To experience Tony Manero and his struggle is to witness nothing less than the writhing of a child struggling to escape the womb. Director Sylvester Stallone has, however, attempted metaphor on a grand scale with "Staying Alive", particularly with the cataclysmic dance finale "Satan's Alley" where Tony struggles to choose between heaven (salvation) or hell (damnation). Sin or salvation. Which will he choose?
Stallone paints Tony Manero's story with broad, elegant strokes. The early scenes, of Tony going to auditions or skipping about town are told through the poetry of the street. You can practically smell the garbage and the sweat emanating from Stallone's richly-hued pallatte. Especially convincing is a dusky shower scene, where Travolta (as Tony) works himself into a generous lather that accents his beautifully tanned and buffed physique.
Costume design was clearly an important element to the production and one that I take particular delight in admiring. Many different colors are featured and spandex and headbands seem to be everywhere. Historically, this is quite accurate and provides an interesting "look back" at the zeitgeist of the aerobics-era 80s where nothing said "I'm cool" like having symetrically feathered and moussed hair that looked like a porcupine was hibernating on your scalp.
Stallone has never shortchanged the women in his film and "Staying Alive" gives two seasoned actresses plumb roles to sink their teeth into. Finola Hughes is the classical temptress: British, snotty, fur-coat wearing, rich, bad teeth. Cynthia Rhodes is her sweet and long-suffering opposite: American, tearful, sweet, kind, poor.
The big Broadway show at the end, "Satan's Alley" is where the film pulls out all the stops. This is Stallone shooting for the moon and, like a pro jockey, he pushes the film to its absolute limit in his quest for perfection. Everyone is clearly in peak physical condition and absolutely NO EXPENSE has been spared on the production design or the electrifying original music score and dance routines.
Stallone's camera goes everywhere, like a stalking panther cat, recording every rippling fluctuation and every crack of the whip, as "Satan's Alley" plays out its bleak yet mesmerizingly operatic clash of the titans. You see before your very eyes, Tony Manero having the spandex wripped from his leathery skin by the demons of hades and cast into the orchestra pit. But more than an awesome scenario of solar birth and re-birth played out on human scale, this is the battle for Tony's soul.
At a climatic moment in the action watch as Tony chooses his fate and breaks gloriously free to soar like a fiery flying lion above the Andes into a whip-cracking solo, whirling like a mad dervish on the Persian plain.
See this movie.
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