Sylvester Stallone has been in a ton of hilarious movies. From “Stop or my Mom will Shoot.” To “Judge Dredd” but there was a time when what he made had heart. These movies showed us that he actually could portray a dramatic character sometimes. The ones that really shine for me are “Rocky” and “First Blood”
Let’s start by talking about “Rocky”. Sly plays Rocky Balboa, a washed up palooka that makes money collecting for a loan shark. As an audience we get to like him when we see him refuse to break a man’s thumbs. He also has a crush on the shy, somewhat nerdy pet shop worker Adrian. He tries to help a kid get on the right path away from hoodlums. All in all he’s an incredibly likable guy. The problem is he wants to box and he’s past his prime.
His shot at the title comes when the cocky Apollo Creed comes to town for an exhibition show. He chooses to fight Rocky strictly on the choice of his nickname, “The Italian Stallion”. Then he goes into training with the help of Micky. Eventually he has his shot and brings Apollo a long fight and gives it all he’s got.
It’s a great movie but when I was younger I would balk at it thinking it was a meathead movie because of Stallone’s later work. But it’s his best movie. He plays the everyman and does it well. Now let’s switch gears a tad. “First Blood” was the first Rambo movie. But it doesn’t take place in the jungles of Vietnam or someplace like that. No this one is right back in America.
John Rambo has come home from the war. He finds that all his buddies have died recently so he is pretty much alone. So he wanders into a new town only to get harassed by the police. They beat Rambo and arrest him on ridiculous charges thinking he is just some drifter. Rambo escapes and makes for the woods. The rest of the movie is the police and National Guard out to get this highly trained killing machine.
He makes traps and kills many of them. Eventually his Commanding Officer gets the word what is going on and comes out to talk to him. It’s here we get the best scene in the movie. Rambo starts off yelling about how it was BS coming home to people spitting on him and calling him baby killer. Then he breaks down and starts crying when he thinks about the friends he lost.
Both of these movies show some range. It’s funny that Sly needs to keep going back to his old roots to make some of his best material. How come he can’t spread out from the shadow of Balboa and Rambo? Well, he made gold with those two. If you haven’t seen them I recommend them. Especially, “Rocky” since it’s much more heartwarming drama.