(Photo by MGM / Courtesy: Everett Collection)

All Sylvester Stallone Movies Ranked

A little like Rocky, Sylvester Stallone seemed almost destined to fail in the film business. A bit part in Woody Allen’s Bananas, resorting to shooting a softcore porn flick (The Party at Kitty and Stud’s), and having to sell his dog at a 7-11 for $50 was what Stallone’s acting career was amounting in the ’70s. Then his screenplay about an underdog Philly boxer met the right director, John G. Avildsen, and after that it was step-by-step all the way up to national phenomenon and Best Picture winner. And as for his dog? Stallone bought him back and he appears as Rocky’s sidekick, Butkus.

Since 1976, Stallone has built a fascinating body of work, fashioned from numerous creative starts and stops, of incredible highs and crashing lows. He turned Rocky into a sequel machine, becoming a punchline by the ’90s (Rocky V), before multiple miracle turnarounds (Rocky Balboa, Creed) restored its former glory.

Stallone’s friendly (?) competition with Arnold Schwarzenegger gave him a taste of the ’80s action world, compelling him to pump out flicks with the quickness: The likes of Nighthawks, Cobra, Over the Top, and Tango & Cash give him enduring cult status, and mainstream derision. The ’90s saw him at his funniest (Demolition Man) and most dramatic (Cop Land), but also brought bigger bouts of embarrassment (Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot).

By the mid-2000s, Stallone was digging through his own legacy, and uncovering plenty of veins to tap. There was the Rocky Balboa restart, ’80s throwback franchise Expendables, Schwarzenegger team-up Escape Plan, and duking it out with the Raging Bull himself, Robert De Niro, for Grudge Match.

And the one we’ve yet to mention: a certain John Rambo. 1982’s First Blood was a sensitive, terrifying indictment of Vietnam War veteran treatment. It’s a subdued film, without much to suggest the blistering violent fantasies the series would morph into across First Blood Part II, Rambo III, then just Rambo, and finally into Rambo: Last Blood. And now we celebrate an entire movie-making career as we rank the all Sylvester Stallone movies by Tomatometer!

#52

Reach Me (2014)
4%

#52
Adjusted Score: 4128%
Critics Consensus: Featuring a bewildering array of talented actors pummeled by disjointed direction and a dull, hackneyed script, Reach Me is so fundamentally misbegotten that its title reads more like a threat.
Synopsis: A mysterious author's (Tom Berenger) self-help book inspires a journalist, his editor, a former convict, an actor and others to... [More]
Directed By: John Herzfeld

#51

The Specialist (1994)
7%

#51
Adjusted Score: 6381%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Former CIA demolition expert Ray Quick (Sylvester Stallone) lives in Miami, where he works as a hit man. May Munro... [More]
Directed By: Luis Llosa

#50
#50
Adjusted Score: 7671%
Critics Consensus: Do not enter.
Synopsis: Ray Breslin manages an elite team of security specialists trained in the art of breaking people out of the world's... [More]
Directed By: Steven C. Miller

#49
Adjusted Score: 11713%
Critics Consensus: Thoroughly witless and thuddingly unfunny, Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot gives its mismatched stars very little to work with - and as a result, they really don't work.
Synopsis: Smarting from a romantic breakup, macho police Sgt. Joe Bomowski (Sylvester Stallone) gets a cross-country visit from his mother, Tutti... [More]
Directed By: Roger Spottiswoode

#48

Backtrace (2018)
9%

#48
Adjusted Score: 6500%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: After suffering a brain injury from a bank heist gone wrong, MacDonald develops amnesia and is put into a prison... [More]
Directed By: Brian A. Miller

#47

Oscar (1991)
12%

#47
Adjusted Score: 11522%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Bags of loot and his daughter's love life confuse a gangster (Sylvester Stallone) on the day he plans to go... [More]
Directed By: John Landis

#46

Get Carter (2000)
11%

#46
Adjusted Score: 12704%
Critics Consensus: Michael Caine shows up to collect a paycheck, and so does everyone else in this rote, middling remake.
Synopsis: Sylvester Stallone plays Jack Carter, a Vegas mobster who comes home to Seattle to bury his brother after an apparent... [More]
Directed By: Stephen T. Kay

#45

Avenging Angelo (2002)
13%

#45
Adjusted Score: 3640%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: When elderly Mafia boss Angelo (Anthony Quinn) gets killed in a restaurant, his loyal bodyguard, Frankie (Sylvester Stallone), decides he... [More]
Directed By: Martyn Burke

#44

Cobra (1986)
18%

#44
Adjusted Score: 19406%
Critics Consensus: A disengaged Sylvester Stallone plays the titular Cobra with no bite in this leaden action thriller, queasily fixated on wanton carnage and nothing else.
Synopsis: Los Angeles policeman Lt. Marion "Cobra" Cobretti (Sylvester Stallone) finds himself at the center of a spate of murders carried... [More]
Directed By: George Pan Cosmatos

#43

Driven (2001)
14%

#43
Adjusted Score: 16981%
Critics Consensus: Underdeveloped characters, silly plot dynamics, and obvious CG effects.
Synopsis: A cutting-edge action drama about an exciting cast of characters living life in the fastest of lanes, in the thrilling... [More]
Directed By: Renny Harlin

#42

Zookeeper (2011)
14%

#42
Adjusted Score: 17730%
Critics Consensus: Zookeeper smothers Kevin James's with a sodden script and a surfeit of jokes inappropriate for the young viewers who would be intrigued by its juvenile storyline.
Synopsis: Kindhearted Griffin Keyes (Kevin James) is one of the best-loved caretakers at the Franklin Park Zoo, but since he is... [More]
Directed By: Frank Coraci

#41

Assassins (1995)
16%

#41
Adjusted Score: 18884%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Assassin Robert Rath (Sylvester Stallone) arrives at a funeral to kill a prominent mobster, only to witness rival hired gun... [More]
Directed By: Richard Donner

#40

Rhinestone (1984)
14%

#40
Adjusted Score: 14332%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Trying to get out of her contract with her obnoxious manager, Freddie (Ron Leibman), country singer Jake Farris (Dolly Parton)... [More]
Directed By: Bob Clark

#39

Lock Up (1989)
23%

#39
Adjusted Score: 23261%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Sadistic prison warden Drumgoole (Donald Sutherland) is bent on taking his revenge against Frank Leone (Sylvester Stallone), the only prisoner... [More]
Directed By: John Flynn

#38

Eye See You (2002)
18%

#38
Adjusted Score: 15015%
Critics Consensus: Whether it's being presented as D-Tox or Eye See You, this Stallone starring vehicle is a slapdash thriller to actively avoid.
Synopsis: Recovering from the psychological effects of witnessing a brutal crime, FBI Agent Jake Malloy (Sylvester Stallone) checks into a rehabilitation... [More]
Directed By: Jim Gillespie

#37

Judge Dredd (1995)
22%

#37
Adjusted Score: 24272%
Critics Consensus: Judge Dredd wants to be both a legitimate violent action flick and a parody of one, but director Danny Cannon fails to find the necessary balance to make it work.
Synopsis: In the crime-plagued future, the only thing standing between order and chaos is Judge Joseph Dredd (Sylvester Stallone). His duty:... [More]
Directed By: Danny Cannon

#36

Ratchet & Clank (2016)
21%

#36
Adjusted Score: 24384%
Critics Consensus: Ratchet & Clank may satisfy very young viewers, but compared to the many superior options available to families and animation enthusiasts, it offers little to truly recommend.
Synopsis: Ratchet is the last of his kind, a foolhardy lombax who grew up without a family. Clank is a pint-sized... [More]
Directed By: Kevin Munroe

#35

Daylight (1996)
27%

#35
Adjusted Score: 27935%
Critics Consensus: The opening's got a great fiery explosion and Stallone puts in another earnest, sympathetic performance, but all else in Daylight feels designed to annoy the audience into submission.
Synopsis: A group of armed robbers fleeing the police head for the New Jersey Tunnel and run right into trucks transporting... [More]
Directed By: Rob Cohen

#34

Over the Top (1987)
32%

#34
Adjusted Score: 32385%
Critics Consensus: The definitive film about arm-wrestling truck drivers fighting for custody of their children, Over the Top lives down to its title in the cheesiest of ways.
Synopsis: A trucker (Sylvester Stallone) yanks his snooty son (David Mendenhall) out of military school and goes to Las Vegas to... [More]
Directed By: Menahem Golan

#33
#33
Adjusted Score: 36293%
Critics Consensus: Like the sequels that preceded it, Rambo: Last Blood is content to indulge in bloody violence at the expense of its main character's once-poignant story.
Synopsis: Vietnam War veteran John Rambo tries to find some semblance of peace by raising horses on a ranch in Arizona.... [More]
Directed By: Adrian Grunberg

#32
Adjusted Score: 19696%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: ... [More]
Starring: Dave Bautista
Directed By: John Herzfeld

#31

Rocky V (1990)
30%

#31
Adjusted Score: 31219%
Critics Consensus: Rocky V's attempts to recapture the original's working-class grit are as transparently phony as each of the thuddingly obvious plot developments in a misguided installment that sent the franchise flailing into longterm limbo.
Synopsis: Recently retired boxer Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) falls on hard times after his accountant mismanages his finances. He stages a... [More]
Directed By: John G. Avildsen

#30

Tango & Cash (1989)
30%

#30
Adjusted Score: 32560%
Critics Consensus: Brutally violent and punishingly dull, this cookie-cutter buddy cop thriller isn't even fun enough to reach "so bad it's good" status.
Synopsis: Police officers Ray Tango (Sylvester Stallone) and Gabe Cash (Kurt Russell) are narcotics experts working to bring down drug lord... [More]
Directed By: Andrei Konchalovsky

#29

Grudge Match (2013)
31%

#29
Adjusted Score: 35448%
Critics Consensus: Grudge Match is sporadically funny but meandering, and its strong cast largely mired in a plot that's overrun with clichés.
Synopsis: Pittsburgh boxers Billy "The Kid" McDonnen (Robert De Niro) and Henry "Razor" Sharp (Sylvester Stallone) shared a fierce rivalry back... [More]
Directed By: Peter Segal

#28
#28
Adjusted Score: 39224%
Critics Consensus: Like its predecessors, Expendables 3 offers a modicum of all-star thrills for old-school action thriller aficionados -- but given all the talent assembled, it should have been a lot more fun.
Synopsis: Years ago, Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) co-founded the Expendables with Conrad Stonebanks (Mel Gibson). After Stonebanks became an arms dealer,... [More]
Directed By: Patrick Hughes

#27
Adjusted Score: 35191%
Critics Consensus: First Blood Part II offers enough mayhem to satisfy genre fans, but remains a regressive sequel that turns its once-compelling protagonist into just another muscled action berserker.
Synopsis: John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) is doing hard time in jail when his former boss, Col. Troutman (Richard Crenna), offers him... [More]
Directed By: George P. Cosmatos

#26

Rambo III (1988)
40%

#26
Adjusted Score: 42133%
Critics Consensus: Rambo III finds its justice-dispensing hero far from the thoughtful drama that marked the franchise's beginning -- and just as far from quality action thriller entertainment.
Synopsis: Col. Sam Trautman (Richard Crenna) travels to Thailand, hoping to convince veteran John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) to accompany him on... [More]
Directed By: Peter MacDonald

#25

Rambo (2008)
37%

#25
Adjusted Score: 42860%
Critics Consensus: Sylvester Stallone knows how to stage action sequences, but the movie's uneven pacing and excessive violence (even for the franchise) is more nauseating than entertaining.
Synopsis: Having long-since abandoned his life as a lethal soldier, John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) lives a solitary life near the Thai... [More]
Directed By: Sylvester Stallone

#24

Paradise Alley (1978)
40%

#24
Adjusted Score: 23156%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The Carboni brothers -- con man Cosmo (Sylvester Stallone), disabled war veteran Lenny (Armand Assante) and dim-witted Victor (Lee Canalito)... [More]
Directed By: Sylvester Stallone

#23

Rocky IV (1985)
39%

#23
Adjusted Score: 41777%
Critics Consensus: Rocky IV inflates the action to absurd heights, but it ultimately rings hollow thanks to a story that hits the same basic beats as the first three entries in the franchise.
Synopsis: After reclaiming the boxing championship title, Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) plans to retire and live with his wife, Adrian (Talia... [More]
Directed By: Sylvester Stallone

#22

The Expendables (2010)
42%

#22
Adjusted Score: 49883%
Critics Consensus: It makes good on the old-school action it promises, but given all the talent on display, The Expendables should hit harder.
Synopsis: Mercenary leader Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) and his loyal men take on what they think is a routine assignment: a... [More]
Directed By: Sylvester Stallone

#21
#21
Adjusted Score: 48616%
Critics Consensus: The movie will be found wanting if one is not taken in by the 3-D visuals.
Synopsis: Pint-sized kid spy Juni Cortez (Daryl Sabara) faces his biggest challenge yet when he confronts the Toymaker (Sylvester Stallone), a... [More]
Directed By: Robert Rodriguez

#20
#20
Adjusted Score: 49492%
Critics Consensus: Bullet to the Head's unapologetically trashy thrills evoke memories of its star and director's proud cinematic pasts -- but sadly, those memories are just about all it has to offer.
Synopsis: When veteran hit man Jimmy Bobo (Sylvester Stallone) and his partner, Louis (Jon Seda), kill a corrupt ex-cop, Louis in... [More]
Directed By: Walter Hill

#19

Escape Plan (2013)
50%

#19
Adjusted Score: 54149%
Critics Consensus: As much fun as it is to see Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger team up onscreen, Escape Plan fails to offer much more than a pale imitation of 1980s popcorn thrills.
Synopsis: Tough and chiseled Ray Breslin (Sylvester Stallone) knows how to infiltrate a prison -- and bust out of one. His... [More]
Directed By: Mikael Hafstrom

#18

Demolition Man (1993)
60%

#18
Adjusted Score: 60905%
Critics Consensus: A better-than-average sci-fi shoot-em-up with a satirical undercurrent, Demolition Man is bolstered by strong performances by Sylvester Stallone, Wesley Snipes, and Sandra Bullock.
Synopsis: With innocent victims caught in the crossfire in Los Angeles' intensifying war on crime, both cop John Spartan (Sylvester Stallone)... [More]
Directed By: Marco Brambilla

#17

Victory (1981)
63%

#17
Adjusted Score: 32081%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The head of a German POW camp, soccer enthusiast Karl von Steiner (Max von Sydow) organizes a match between Nazi... [More]
Directed By: John Huston

#16

Rocky III (1982)
66%

#16
Adjusted Score: 68160%
Critics Consensus: It's noticeably subject to the law of diminishing returns, but Rocky III still has enough brawny spectacle to stand in the ring with the franchise's better entries.
Synopsis: Having become the world heavyweight champion, former working-class boxer Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) is rich and famous beyond his wildest... [More]
Directed By: Sylvester Stallone

#15

Shade (2003)
67%

#15
Adjusted Score: 38875%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Tiffany (Jamie Foxx), Charlie (Gabriel Byrne) and Vernon (Thandie Newton) are con artists looking to up the ante from their... [More]
Directed By: Damian Nieman

#14

Cliffhanger (1993)
67%

#14
Adjusted Score: 71334%
Critics Consensus: While it can't escape comparisons to the movies it borrows from, Cliffhanger is a tense, action-packed thriller and a showcase for the talents that made Sylvester Stallone a star.
Synopsis: Outdoor thriller in which a former mountain rescuer is pitted against a group of criminals who have lost their $100... [More]
Directed By: Renny Harlin

#13
#13
Adjusted Score: 72212%
Critics Consensus: Taut, violent, and suitably self-deprecating, The Expendables 2 gives classic action fans everything they can reasonably expect from a star-studded shoot-'em-up -- for better and for worse.
Synopsis: Mercenary leader Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone), Lee Christmas (Jason Statham) and the rest of the Expendables team reunite when Mr.... [More]
Directed By: Simon West

#12
#12
Adjusted Score: 64633%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Two members (Perry King, Sylvester Stallone) of a social club in 1950s Brooklyn have more interest in romance than in... [More]

#11

Nighthawks (1981)
70%

#11
Adjusted Score: 70199%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Fresh from mounting a devastating bomb attack in London, an international terrorist arrives in New York and remains intent upon... [More]
Directed By: Bruce Malmuth

#10

Rocky II (1979)
71%

#10
Adjusted Score: 72156%
Critics Consensus: Rocky II is a movie that dares you to root again for the ultimate underdog -- and succeeds due to an infectiously powerful climax.
Synopsis: Although working-class Philadelphia boxer Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) lost his high-profile bout with the cocky world champion Apollo Creed (Carl... [More]
Directed By: Sylvester Stallone

#9

F.I.S.T. (1978)
73%

#9
Adjusted Score: 72273%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Johnny Kovak (Sylvester Stallone) works in a warehouse and grows tired of the unfair policies in place, leading him to... [More]
Directed By: Norman Jewison

#8

Cop Land (1997)
76%

#8
Adjusted Score: 78935%
Critics Consensus: Cop Land matches its star-studded cast with richly imagined characters while throttling the audience with carefully ratcheted suspense, although it lacks the moral complexity of classic crime thrillers.
Synopsis: When hotheaded Superboy (Michael Rapaport) accidentally gets involved in an ugly racially-motivated incident, his uncle Ray Donlan (Harvey Keitel), a... [More]
Directed By: James Mangold

#7

Rocky Balboa (2006)
77%

#7
Adjusted Score: 84717%
Critics Consensus: Implausible but entertaining and poignant, Rocky Balboa finds the champ in fighting form for the first time in years.
Synopsis: Now long-retired, Rocky (Sylvester Stallone) runs a Philadelphia eatery and mourns the loss of his beloved wife, Adrian. Yearning to... [More]
Directed By: Sylvester Stallone

#6

Death Race 2000 (1975)
81%

#6
Adjusted Score: 84008%
Critics Consensus: Death Race 2000 is a fun, campy classic, drawing genuine thrills from its mindless ultra-violence.
Synopsis: In the year 2000, America is a totalitarian regime on the brink of collapse. The most popular sport in this... [More]
Directed By: Paul Bartel

#5

Creed II (2018)
83%

#5
Adjusted Score: 101853%
Critics Consensus: Creed II's adherence to franchise formula adds up to a sequel with few true surprises, but its time-tested generational themes still pack a solid punch.
Synopsis: In 1985, Russian boxer Ivan Drago killed former U.S. champion Apollo Creed in a tragic match that stunned the world.... [More]
Directed By: Steven Caple Jr.

#4

First Blood (1982)
85%

#4
Adjusted Score: 87668%
Critics Consensus: Much darker and more sensitive than the sequels it spawned, First Blood is a thrilling survival adventure that takes full advantage of Sylvester Stallone's acting skills.
Synopsis: Vietnam veteran and drifter John J. Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) wanders into a small Washington town in search of an old... [More]
Directed By: Ted Kotcheff

#3

Antz (1998)
92%

#3
Adjusted Score: 97015%
Critics Consensus: Featuring a stellar voice cast, technically dazzling animation, and loads of good humor, Antz should delight both children and adults.
Synopsis: Z the worker ant (Woody Allen) strives to reconcile his own individuality with the communal work-ethic of the ant colony.... [More]
Directed By: Eric Darnell, Tim Johnson

#2

Rocky (1976)
91%

#2
Adjusted Score: 97736%
Critics Consensus: This story of a down-on-his-luck boxer is thoroughly predictable, but Sylvester Stallone's script and stunning performance in the title role brush aside complaints.
Synopsis: Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone), a small-time boxer from working-class Philadelphia, is arbitrarily chosen to take on the reigning world heavyweight... [More]
Directed By: John G. Avildsen

#1

Creed (2015)
95%

#1
Adjusted Score: 106968%
Critics Consensus: Creed brings the Rocky franchise off the mat for a surprisingly effective seventh round that extends the boxer's saga in interesting new directions while staying true to its classic predecessors' roots.
Synopsis: Adonis Johnson (Michael B. Jordan) never knew his famous father, boxing champion Apollo Creed, who died before Adonis was born.... [More]
Directed By: Ryan Coogler

Rocky Balboa’s back on the big screen this week, nearly 10 years after we thought we’d seen him for the last time — and darn it if the big lug’s latest appearance, in the franchise spinoff Creed, doesn’t look like one of his long saga’s finest chapters. In honor of this unlikely comeback, we’ve decided to dedicate this week’s feature to honoring the filmography of the man who brought Balboa to life. Yo film fans, it’s time for Total Recall, Sylvester Stallone style!


The Lords of Flatbush (1974) 64%

lords-of-flatbush

Before he was Rocky Balboa, Stallone got one of his earliest big-screen breaks with 1974’s The Lords of Flatbush, a period piece about a leather-jacketed gang of street toughs and their efforts to grow up while struggling with peer pressure, romantic entanglements, and unexpected demands of adulthood. It’s perhaps chiefly of interest as a look at some future leading men before they made it big — in addition to Stallone, Flatbush stars Perry King and Henry Winkler — but the movie boasts no small amount of charm on its own merit as a modest slice-of-life story told within a timeframe that would later be ruthlessly mined for nostalgia. The end result, as Time Out wrote, is “a small masterpiece that places the mood and general ethos of the ’50s with absolute precision and total affection.”

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Death Race 2000 (1975) 81%

death-race-2000

Take a story about a dystopian future in which an authoritarian government soothes the masses with the bloody spectacle of a cross-country race, add the words “a Roger Corman production,” and what do you get? 1975’s Death Race 2000, a cult classic starring David Carradine as “Frankenstein,” the champion racer who always defeats his competitors — including the perpetually frustrated “Machine Gun” Joe Viterbo (Stallone). Even bloodier and more gleefully gratuitous than the similarly themed Rollerball, Death Race 2000 earned sniffs of derision from critics like Roger Ebert, who deemed the whole thing tasteless — but most scribes disagreed, including Dave Kehr of the Chicago Reader, who called it “an elaborate and telling fantasy about our peculiar popular entertainments” and “fine work carved from minimal materials.”

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The Rocky Franchise

rocky

You’re supposed to write what you know, goes the old saying, and although Stallone wasn’t a boxer when he wrote the screenplay for Rocky, he was certainly a dreamer, and he understood the painful pursuit of a dream in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. Like Rocky, Stallone needed a big break, and he got it with this critically lauded box office smash, which earned ten Oscar nominations, winning three, and launched what would become arguably the signature franchise of his career. Though the Rocky movies would eventually lose sight of the qualities that made the original special, the franchise as a whole stands up better than some might remember: Rocky II, which picked up right where the original left off, earned critical accolades while briefly setting the all-time box-office record for a sequel, and the overblown antics of the third and fourth installments are not without their charms. The less said about Rocky V the better, but the belated sixth chapter, Rocky Balboa, brought the saga poignantly back to its roots with a grittier — and deeply melancholy — return to the ring. It all started with one of the most enduring dramas of the ‘70s, and although Roger Ebert was describing the original, he could have been describing substantial portions of the series when he wrote, “A description of it would sound like a cliche from beginning to end. But Rocky isn’t about a story, it’s about a hero. And it’s inhabited with supreme confidence by a star.”

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F.I.S.T. (1978) 73%

fist

He’d later find it difficult to be taken seriously as anything other than an action star, but for Stallone’s first post-Rocky project, he demonstrated an eagerness to display his dramatic range with F.I.S.T., a Norman Jewison drama that uses the saga of Jimmy Hoffa and the Teamsters Union as the loose inspiration for the story of a warehouse worker’s rise through the ranks of the fictional “Federation of Inter-State Truckers.” Responsible for carrying the film as its leading man as well as substantially rewriting Joe Eszterhas’ original screenplay, Stallone acquitted himself well in the eyes of most critics, some of whom saw signs of steely-jawed greatness in his performance. F.I.S.T. is rarely mentioned when people discuss Stallone today, but perhaps we should; as Variety argued at the time, “F.I.S.T. is to the labor movement in the United States what All the King’s Men was to an era in American politics.”

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Nighthawks (1981) 70%

nighthawks

For a movie refashioned from what was supposed to be the script for The French Connection III — and was eventually, in Stallone’s words, “cut to pieces” by the studio — 1981’s Nighthawks turned out a lot better than it probably should have. Starring Stallone and Billy Dee Williams as a pair of NYPD cops on the trail of a terrorist known as Wulfgar (played by Rutger Hauer in his American debut), this is a quintessentially 1980s police thriller — which is to say that it’s soaked in blood and riddled with plot holes. But a good number of critics looked past its deficiencies to find a solid action flick; as Janet Maslin wrote for the New York Times, “All of it is standard stuff, and yet Nighthawks has been assembled with enough pep to make it feel fresh.”

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The Rambo Franchise

rambo

Like Rocky, 1982’s First Blood acted as a launchpad for a series of progressively more cartoonish action films — and like Rocky, it’s a much darker, more sensitive film than you might remember. The role of haunted Vietnam vet John Rambo took full advantage of Stallone’s gifts, giving him ample room to display his knack for portraying quiet, haunted men as well as his athletic build, and while the end result didn’t exactly stay true to the David Morrell novel it was based on, it resonated with audiences and critics alike, and managed to provide some legitimate social commentary to go with all the action. That largely fell by the wayside as the series wore on, with Rambo repeatedly pressed into action as an increasingly ludicrous fantasy corrective for American foreign policy, butStallone managed to restore at least a little of the character’s haunted soul with 2008’s grim, blood-spattered Rambo. “This is a dark drama about war and the exorcising of demons,” wrote Eric D. Snider of the original. “And an unforgettable one at that.”

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Cliffhanger (1993) 67%

cliffhanger

By the early 1990s, there wasn’t much Stallone hadn’t done as an action hero — and in the post-Die Hard era, the entire genre was starting to feel a little stale. The solution? 1993’s Cliffhanger, which embraced action movies’ inherent silliness (by tapping the marvelously hammy John Lithgow as the villain) while taking them someplace semi-original (the top of a mountain). It certainly didn’t win any points for believability, but it did sate thrill-seeking filmgoers — not to mention critics like Entertainment Weekly’s Owen Gleiberman, who cheered, “Despite the don’t-look-down Olympian settings, Cliffhanger‘s spirit is brutal and earthbound. The movie is like one of those computer-designed simulator rides that whip you around until you’re dizzy and aching but don’t actually take you anywhere.”

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Cop Land (1997) 76%

cop-land

The decade wasn’t a total wash for him, but it isn’t a stretch to say that the 1990s weren’t exactly kind to Sylvester Stallone — and it was partly his fault. After dominating the box office as one of the biggest action heroes of the 1980s, Stallone decided he wanted to branch out, and the epic bombs Oscar and Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot were the disastrous results. He never quite regained his box office mojo, but Stallone remained an underrated actor, and with 1997’s Cop Land, he took advantage of a rare opportunity to show his depth. As the overweight, ineffective police chief of a small New Jersey town, Stallone delivered a quietly intense performance, holding his own against a cast that included Robert De Niro and Harvey Keitel. In the end, of course, Sly gets his guy — but Cop Land played so effectively against type that TV Guide’s Sandra Contreras didn’t mind: “It sizzles toward an explosive and satisfying climax in which everything — Stallone included — fully bursts into life.”

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Antz (1998) 92%

antz

He’s always been most successful as an action star, but Sylvester Stallone is capable of more — and while many of his attempts to branch out have been met with varying degrees of failure, he hit critical paydirt with 1998’s Antz. As Weaver, the burly best friend of Woody Allen’s Z, Stallone got to do something besides fire weapons and throw blows for a change; in the process, he also made history, as part of the voice cast of the second feature-length CGI film. Though it was overshadowed commercially by Pixar’s A Bug’s Life, Antz was a favorite among critics who appreciated the film’s political subtext and sharp wit. It is, as David Denby wrote for New York Magazine, “A kids’ movie that will leave grown-ups quoting the best lines to one another.”

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Shade (2003) 67%

shade-2

Stallone’s highest-profile role of 2003 came in Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over, but he earned his best reviews as part of a little-seen (and surprisingly well-cast) drama about the world of high-stakes underground gambling. As the legendary card shark known as The Dean, Stallone lent Shade extra heft — and added a little low-key dramatic muscle to a storyline about a pair of small-time crooks (Gabriel Bryne and Thandie Newton) looking to make their mark with a big score. Its brief, limited theatrical run meant that Shade was in and out of theaters before most filmgoers were even aware of it, but critics were mostly kind, including Todd Gilchrist of FilmStew, who wrote, “With so many sucker bets coercing your hand before you’re really ready to make a safe cinematic wager, this will be one film you won’t mind losing your money to see.”

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Since we’re all still recovering from Comic-Con 2008, and tons of new home video details dropped at the Largest Nerd Gathering in the World, it’s time for RT on DVD: Geek Edition! Read on for more about Ghostbusters, Rambo, and Hulk vs. Wolverine news and get ready for a week packed with new releases like Doomsday, Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay, and the long-awaited Dark City Director’s Cut!

The Real Ghostbusters DVD set is coming



Children of the ’80s, start saving your pennies — The Real Ghostbusters animated series is coming to DVD for the first time in its entirety, after the scattered releases of select episodes in the past few years. The 25-disc set will be available November 1 and will include all 147 re-mastered episodes, 12 hours of bonus material, the complete spin-off series Slimer! And the Real Ghostbusters, a never-before seen pilot episode, commentary tracks, and more bits of trivia than you could fit in the Ecto-1. Click here for more information.

Sylvester Stallone’s Rambo Director’s Cut confirmed

It was a bit surprising when Rambo actor-writer-director Sylvester Stallone announced his desire to make a director’s cut of his 2008 sequel (also known as John Rambo) while promoting the film’s DVD release last May. (We will admit, we hardly saw the need for it, other than to allay those pesky rotten reviews.) Now it seems that director’s cut is indeed in the works, as producer Cliff Stephenson confirmed at a Comic-Con producer’s panel. “There’s a slightly different, slightly longer version of Rambo coming out next year,” said Stephenson. “It’s definitely more emotional, more effective and it’s Stallone’s favorite cut of the film.” To which we ask: will the Rambo Director’s Cut up the ante and increase the number of on-screen deaths per minute (tallied at 2.59 bodies per 60 seconds by the LA Times‘ John Mueller)?

(Also from the producer’s panel: expect Battlestar Galactica on Blu-Ray!)

Hulk Smash, Wolverine Slash…Hulk vs. Wolverine DVD previewed

It’s one of the ultimate geeky hypothetical what-ifs: who would win in a fight between Wolverine and The Hulk? (Yes, we know Wolverine was first introduced in a Hulk comic.) Fans saw the pair duke it out onscreen last weekend when Lionsgate and Marvel joined forces to present a preview of their 2009 DVD film, Hulk vs. Wolverine, a 40-minute animated release pitting the two Marvel Universe characters against each other. (Another Hulk vs. film will see him fighting Thor.) According to IGN DVD editor Christopher Monfette, well-staged fight action and cameos by familiar faces will please fans…peep some of said action in Marvel’s teaser trailer below.


Click for this week’s new releases!

Doomsday

Tomatometer: 48%

Writer-director Neil Marshall goes all Mad Max on Hollywood with his third feature film (after the well-received horror flicks Dog Soldiers and The Descent), in which a team of specialists infiltrate a Scotland that’s been quarantined off for 30 years, where inside survivors have devolved into a race of lawless, tribal cannibals. Marshall based Rhona Mitra‘s tough chick agent Eden Sinclair on such bad-ass heroes as Snake Plisskin, but does his reverent homage to sci-fi action flicks rival the classics from whence Doomsday was borne?

Bonus Features:

While the movie itself may be distractingly derivative, it’s the high-octane, post-apocalyptic action that we’re after. Especially if you watch Doomsday on Blu-Ray. It’s Universal’s very first release in the HD format after joining the Blu-ray camp, and though the Picture-in-Picture Blu-ray feature allows for learning fun tidbits while watching the film, there are only a handful of mildly entertaining bonus features.

Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay

Tomatometer: 54%

When Tomatometer ratings are high, a movie is most likely good; when they’re in the teens, it’s most likely Razzie-worthy. But in some cases, a Tomatometer in the 50s denotes a film that split critics. Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay is such a film. You probably already know if you’ll like this sequel about stoner BFFs Harold (John Cho) and Kumar (Kal Penn); the bigger question to ask yourself about renting this on DVD is, “What Would NPH Do?”

Bonus Features:

Where Harold and Kumar are concerned, one must go Unrated. The H & K faithful should definitely pick up the Unrated 2-Disc release, which includes the Choose Your Own Adventure-like “Dude, Change the Movie!” feature; choose alternate plotlines for the boys and see a whole new movie unveil at your fingertips, using specially shot extra footage. What if Kumar didn’t bring a bong onto the plane? Forget bottomless parties — go with a topless party instead! The pot-ibilities are endless.

Never Back Down

Tomatometer: 25%

Like a Kickboxer for the Facebook generation, Never Back Down tackles an up-and-coming sport phenomenon: Mixed Martial Arts. Unfortunately, star Sean Faris is no Jean-Claude Van Damme (but then, who is?) and director Jeff Wadlow’s “underground high school fight club” flick comes off as a cheesy, aggressive version of The Karate Kid, with Djimon Honsou as Faris’ Mr. Miyagi. Wax off, readers.

Bonus Features:

Summit Entertainment is releasing a 2-Disc Unrated and Extended “Beat Down” edition, and considering Never Back Down‘s triumphant “Best Fight” win at the MTV Movie Awards, perhaps that’s what some of you want. Others should just rent the single-disc DVD.

Lost Boys: The Tribe

Tomatometer: N/A

The Coreys are back! Both Corey Feldman and Corey Haim make appearances (though Haim’s part was reportedly cut out of the final edit) in the long-awaited, but not necessarily asked-for, sequel to 1987’s cult vampire flick. Feldman reprises his role as Edgar Frog, now a seasoned vampire hunter who comes to the aid of a teenager and his bloodsucker sister in this direct-to-video release. (And in a bizarre MPAA ruling, Lost Boys: The Tribe is rated R for “strong vampire violence.”)

We’re bringing you two exclusive clips from Lost Boys: The Tribe…click here to watch the sinister beach bum vamps and Edgar Frog’s triumphant return to the screen!

Bonus Features:

Lost Boys: The Tribe comes in three versions: Standard, Uncut, and Blu-ray Uncut. Each version also has the same Corey-tastic extras, including Alternate Endings with the Frog Brothers, Edgar Frog’s Guide to Coming Back Alive, a behind-the-scenes featurette and music videos.

Wargames: The Dead Code

Tomatometer: N/A

While we’re on the subject of direct-to-DVD resuscitations of 80’s franchises we all thought were long gone, there’s a new WarGames flick out — and before you ask, no, Matthew Broderick is not pulling a Corey Feldman and won’t appear in this sequel. Hunky Matt Lanter stars as a computer whiz kid who accidentally hacks into a government defense computer and…well, you pretty much know the story already. Fun throwback trivia: Director Stuart Gillard started out as a writer for The Sonny and Cher Show, helmed Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III and one of the best episodes of The Road to Avonlea (“How Kissing Was Discovered”).

Bonus Features:

A retrospective look at the original WarGames film might have made an interesting feature, but the sequel’s creators keep it short and simple with only a photo gallery, a making-of featurette, and commentary with star Lanter and director Gillard.

Shine a Light

Tomatometer: 86%

Between 2006’s Oscar-winning The Departed and his upcoming fall thriller Shutter Island, Martin Scorsese found time to make a critically-acclaimed rock documentary about go-to soundtrack contributors The Rolling Stones. (Believe it or not, you won’t hear “Gimme Shelter” in this Scorsese flick.) Incredibly, Scorsese got a slate of filmmaking rock stars of his own to help out behind the camera, nabbing Oscar-winning cinematographers Robert Richardson (The Aviator), Robert Elswit (There Will Be Blood), Andrew Lesnie (Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring), and John Toll (Legends of the Fall), Oscar-nominee Emmanuel Lubezki (Children of Men), and other award-winning lensers to capture footage for the film.

Bonus Features:

Look for special appearances by Christina Aguilera, Jack White, Buddy Guy, former President Bill Clinton and former Presidential Democratic party primary candidate Hillary Clinton, documented further in a making-of documentary. Four additional songs accompany the release.

The Band’s Visit

Tomatometer: 98%

Eran Kolirin’s fish-out-of-water tale garnered incredible reviews and was a front-runner for Best Foreign Oscar last year when a controversial Academy ruling declared it ineligible; now’s your chance to see what the fuss was all about, as it makes its way to DVD.

Bonus Features:

There’s unfortunately not much in the way of extras beyond a photo gallery and making-of featurette. Still, cinephiles and Oscar-hounds should find it an interesting watch, if only to decide once if it could have been a contender.

Dark City: Director’s Cut

Tomatometer: N/A

With shades of noir, Metropolis, Blade Runner and the later-released Matrix series, Alex Proyas’ Dark City has earned cult status among the most popular science fiction films in recent memory. Ten years after its initial theatrical release, Dark City is finally getting the treatment it deserves — in a multilayered, extra-packed Director’s Cut that eliminates the film’s opening narration and adds never-before-seen footage.

Bonus Features:

At 15 minutes longer than the original version, Dark City The Director’s Cut is presented how writer-director Proyas intended and with enhanced picture and sound. Three new commentary tracks feature Proyas with a host of guests, including writers Lem Dobbs and David S. Goyer and film critic Roger Ebert, recorded years ago in addition to his commentary on the theatrical DVD release. You’ll also find making-of documentaries introduced by Proyas, essays and Neil Gaiman’s review of Dark City. **Only the Blu-Ray release features both the Director’s Cut and the Theatrical Cut.**

Inglorious Bastards

Tomatometer: N/A

And finally, one more piece of revived cult cinema: Inglorious Bastards, the 1978 World War II cult movie about American soldiers on a suicide mission, is now available in a three-disc release presented by none other than Quentin Tarantino. QT, of course, is currently updating Enzo G. Castellari’s flick, with Brad Pitt and Leonardo di Caprio rumored to play the leads. Here he takes on the familiar role of curator, introducing a new generation of movie lovers to the rock ’em, sock’em, shoot ’em up war movie starring ’70s icons Bo Svenson and Fred Williamson.

Bonus Features:

Severin Films has put together a three-disc celebration of Inglorious Bastards that includes a a remastered cut, a retrospective reunion with Castellari, Williamson, Svenson, and more cast and crew members, Tarantino and Castellari in conversation, a tour of the shooting locations, trailers, audio commentary by Castellari, and a previously unreleased bonus soundtrack CD.

‘Til next week, happy viewing!

Zack Snyder announces a second Watchmen movie (kinda) and Sly Stallone announces his director’s cut of Rambo — so should you pick up the theatrical cut on DVD this week? Find out more inside.


Who Watches the Watchmen Spin-off DVD?

Zack Snyder will direct a Watchmen spinoff DVD film based on the meta-story Tales of the Black Freighter, which will hit shelves the week after the comic adaptation is released in theaters next March. The story within a story, which appears in the original Watchmen comics, was originally planned as a 300-esque live-action movie, but will be shot as a more cost-effective animated film. According to the New York Times, the DVD, set for stores five days after Watchmen hits theaters, will also feature a character-focused “documentary-style film” — and even Snyder knows the movie, spinoff, and resulting multiple releases means big bucks (“The überfans of this property are going to go crazy for that”).

Futurama: The Beast With a Billion Backs

Special features and artwork have been released for the second Futurama DVD movie, The Beast with a Billion Backs. The feature length movie picks up after the events of Bender’s Big Score, when an interplanetary alien declares Fry the new Pope and seeks Leela for his bride. Will intergalactic snu-snu ensue? Britney Murphy, David Cross, and Stephen Hawking provide guest vocals; expect TONS of great bonus features like commentary tracks, “A Brief History of Deathball,” and a sneak peek at the next Futurama film, Bender’s Game.

The name is Rambo. John Rambo.

Sylvester Stallone‘s Rambo— the fourth onscreen bloodbath starring his iconic titular character — is out on DVD this week. But before you count your pennies and head to the video store, be warned; he’s already planning a director’s cut. He said as much to Jay Leno, so it must be true. We say give Rambo a rental, but wait to buy Sly’s cut (entitled John Rambo) from which all the proceeds might go to the people of Burma.

 

 

Click for this week’s new releases!

Rambo


Tomatometer: 33%

Wherever there is a need for ass kicking, there he shall be. Twenty years after ousting the Soviets from Afghanistan in Rambo III (the Taliban thanks you, John Rambo!) Sly Stallone’s best-known character finds himself in Burma. When American missionaries get captured by the bloodthirsty Burmese Army, a reluctant Rambo leaves peaceful retirement behind and goes back to his old ways — now, with an even higher body count (3.2 per minute)!

Bonus Features:

As if watching Rambo rip throats out with his bare hands in slo-mo wasn’t its own bonus feature, the two-disc release boasts tons of featurettes on the music, weapons, and making of Rambo’s fourth onscreen adventure. Stallone’s commentary track and a feature that contextualizes the real life political climate of Burma make it a well-rounded release.

Grace Is Gone



Tomatometer: 58%

This Sundance drama is unlike the glut of Iraq war films we’ve seen in the past year; instead of a soldier’s story, we see the tragedy of a fallen soldier’s family back home, as told through the heartbreaking eyes of a new widower and father of two (John Cusack).

Bonus Features:

A few sobering featurettes on the film and what inspired it, along with a profile of TAPS, a Tragedy Assistance Program for survivors of loved ones in the Armed Forces, accompany the film.


Cassandra’s Dream


Tomatometer: 50%

Oh, how the mighty have fallen. First the middling Melinda and Melinda. Then the Oscar-nominated Match Point. The abysmal Scoop followed shortly thereafter, and now we again have another stop on Woody Allen‘s roller coaster ride of a career. Cassandra’s Dream, about two brothers caught up in a tragic quandary of morality and greed, is out on DVD this week — will it be a breath of fresh air or strangely familiar territory from the man who keeps remaking his own Crimes and Misdemeanors?

Bonus Features:

No DVD extras? We’ll take that as an admission of mediocrity and cross our fingers for Vicky Cristina Barcelona.


The Walker

Tomatometer: 51%

Paul Schrader completes the “lonely man” trilogy he began with American Gigolo and Light Sleeper with this tale of a Washington, D.C. society escort (Woody Harrelson) embroiled in a murder scandal. Though the film came and went quickly in theaters, now may be a better chance for the character study/thriller to find an audience on DVD.

Bonus Features:

Well, you’re not going to buy this for the extras. Unless a single featurette and trailer floats your boat, the film alone is the main attraction on this release.


Phenomena

Tomatometer: 80%

Dario Argento fans have a lot to be excited about this week; in addition to a special edition of his horror classic Tenebre and a five-disc box set, Anchor Bay is releasing a special edition of Phenomena (also known as Creepers), Argento’s 1985 horror-thriller starring a young Jennifer Connelly as a bug-whispering schoolgirl on the hunt for a killer.

Bonus Features:

Feast your eyes on a commentary by Argento and his crewmembers, music videos by Bill Wyman and Claudio Simonetti, and more.


Come Drink With Me

Tomatometer: N/A

Also great for retro fans this week are all-new releases of a few of the most classic kung fu titles of all time. In addition to releasing Gordon Liu‘s Heroes of the East (AKA Shaolin Challenges Ninja), Dragon Dynasty bestows upon us the wonderment that is the digitally restored Come Drink With Me, the seminal 1966 Wuxia film starring Cheng Pei-pei as a lethal, cross-dressing heroine named Golden Swallow.

Bonus Features:

Interviews with stars Cheng and Man Yueh Hua, a commentary track with Cheng and scholar Bey Logan, featurettes and theatrical trailers make this a must-see for any fan of Shaw Brothers-era kung fu. Behold, the trailer:


‘Til next week, happy viewing!

This week's UK Box Office Top EightIn a piece of news almost as heartwarming as the film itself, Son of Rambow came in at second place in the UK box office this week, with the British indie nabbing almost £1million in the first four days.

Set on a long, hot summer in 1982, the film revolves around two 11-year old scamps Will and Carter, who — after seeing First Blood for the first time, decide to film their own sequel with nothing more than a camcorder and, natch, some imagination.

The film has been in distribution limbo for the past year after its triumphant debut at last year’s Sundance Film Festival, due to issues surrounding the rights to the real Rambo films. But now it’s finally here and it seems a strong advertising push and good reviews (83% on the Tomatometer, compared to Rambo‘s 32%), has seen it rocket up the charts. Empire’s Dan Jolin summed up the critical consensus by saying: “If you only see one Rambo movie this year, make sure it’s this one.”

In fact, the film would surely have come in at number one had it played on more screens. Instead 27 Dresses, (which played on over 150 more theatres than Rambow), is still grimly hanging onto top spot, despite taking in almost 50% less cash than last week.

Meanwhile sweaty Karate Kid-meets-Fight Club-alike Never Back Downalso made a healthy opening debut this week, coming in at fourth place. Reviewers generally scorned this lightweight effort, with the movie’s laughable homoerotic undertones and checklist of clichés arousing particular critical ire. Greg Kirschling of Entertainment Weekly fame even branded the film as, “yet another product that makes you feel bad about today’s youth culture.” Sadly however ‘Grandad Greg’ and his ilk couldn’t stop the cool kids pouring into cinemas though, and the film made a healthy £840,000 over four days.

Garth Jennings - Jeff Vespa/Wireimage.comGarth Jennings, together with business partner Nick Goldsmith, is part of the successful creative double-act Hammer & Tongs. Beginning, as many feature filmmakers do these days, in the world of music videos, creating memorable short films for the likes of Blur and R.E.M., the pair burst into feature film with about as ambitious a project as one could imagine: Disney’s 2005 big-screen version of Douglas AdamsHitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.

Four years later and they present their follow-up, on a decidedly more pint-sized scale, Son of Rambow is a tribute to the sort of carefree youth film fans know only too well, as nippers Will and Carter take to the woods after a viewing of First Blood and decide to make their own sequel. A huge hit at Sundance, the film is out now in the UK and will find a release in the US on 2nd May and in Australia on 4th September. RT caught up with Jennings to find out more about the film, and how a certain other movie this year has had its own impact…

When we spoke to you about Hitchhikers three years ago, you were talking about this movie then…

Garth Jennings: Yeah, we were trying to get it made when we started Hitchhikers, and when you get offered a job like that you can’t not do it. Getting a chance to do a big movie that you love so much is the chance of a lifetime so we put this on hold and came back to it.

Son of Rambow

What was it about this idea that so excited you?

GJ: When Nick and I were first discussing the idea, it was kind-of funny the idea of kids making their own action movie. We all used to do it as kids. But there’s that thing, as well, of thinking back to that age when you have no fear and no concern for the consequences of your actions whether they’re dangerous or stupid or cruel, you know. You just kind-of go for it.

“When you see First Blood way before you’re supposed to be seeing it, you think this is the coolest thing you’ve ever seen.”

There’s a lovely, uplifting feeling about trying to capture that and that’s what we were trying to do, really, with Son of Rambow. Before we’d really worked out the plot we had this mission to make the film that made us feel like we used to do. It was never going to be slavish to reality – it was always going to be a romantic view of that time. Stand By Me has a similar sort of thing where it’s all heightened and they’re dodging big trains and it’s a little fantastical, but it’s got such a lovely feeling about it and even though I didn’t grow up in that period, that coming-of-age story is universal and timeless.

This particular coming-of-age story is also quite special for anyone who discovered film as a kid, because this is what we were doing.

GJ: Most of the fundamental influences come at that age. Whether they’re positive influences or negative ones they come around those formative years and when you see First Blood way before you’re supposed to be seeing it and you live on the edge of a forest you think this is the coolest thing you’ve ever seen. This man has a knife and a stick, he can sew up his own arm, he can do everything including take on 200 guys. I loved it.

Son of Rambow

I guess it’s the idea of escaping to this magical world where these things are possible as well…

GJ: Yeah, and having friends that you can do that with. It’s harder to keep that when you get older – things change, things become more serious, it’s about looking cool and all that sort of stuff. There’s this lovely window before all of that kicks in where you’re really uninhibited and you really can do anything you like. It’s sort-of lovely and you don’t even realise it when you’re going through it. It’s only after that you remember and you go, “That was brilliant.” We did whatever we wanted – eating as much ice cream as we wanted and making as many silly movies as we could.

You haven’t even got to the point where people are saying, “You have to pass this exam and if you don’t pass this exam you won’t work and if you can’t work you’ll be miserable.” You’d have said, “No, I’m going to make things like this for the rest of my life.” What more does there need to be to life, apart from making trenches in the forest and living there for a few days?

Did you get the opportunity to regress while you were making the film?

GJ: Not really, the regressing bit happens while you’re writing because you’re trying to remember what you’d have done in the situations you’re writing, but as soon as you start making it you’re right into, “We’re running out of time people! Let’s get a move on!” There’s no time to stop and soak up how it used to be!

Bill and Will are so brilliant in the film, I can’t imagine working with them was anything but a joy.

GJ: They were the big thing for us, because it’s tricky casting kids who’ve either never acted before or who have acted so much that they’re like little mini-adults. Professional tiny people. These guys hadn’t done anything, and it was lovely that they had the confidence to do whatever we asked them to do and to not try and show off in any way. They weren’t at all self-conscious.

They come from very solid families, the families were never interested in pushing them into show business, and that’s a big part of it. They’re so sweet, these kids, and they really were having the time of their lives. Their entire summer holiday was spent on the set of Son of Rambow jumping off trees and leaping about, it doesn’t get any better! I’d have loved to have been in their position!

And now, of course, this is an eye-opener for them because the posters are going up and you guys are coming to talk to them. We did all the auditions in here, I think, and after five months it was like, “That’s the kid.” They were just amazing.

Son of Rambow

It was a long process to find them, then?

GJ: Yeah, five months. Our casting director went off to the schools and saw hundreds and hundreds of kids, whittled that down to the best and we see round two. With Bill, who plays Will Proudfoot, there was one kid who we thought was going to play the lead part, and dropped out the night before the call-back because he didn’t want to be famous or anything like that. The casting agent called and said, “I’m really sorry, he’s dropped out, but I’ve found this other kid and you have to see him.” It was Bill and we got him in the next day knowing he wouldn’t have time to learn the lines. In walked this sweet kid who didn’t know what was going on, and he had learned the lines and then he walked out again. He was the only one who didn’t try to be our friend, he just walked in and did his thing and left. It was instant – that was the guy. And it was the same with Will Poulter, it was extraordinary and instant.

They sell the film in the end.

“I thought [the new Rambo] was funny, but I don’t think it was trying to be funny.”

GJ: I think you’re right. You do your best with the script and all the camerawork and the editing and all of the fancy bits, but if you don’t get them right it’s all worthless. It’s hard to get that right but because they’re so charming and because they became such great friends while making it, that comes across.

The release of Rambo this year is the elephant in the room a little bit, who saw that coming?

GJ: That was weird. When we started writing this eight years ago, as far as we were concerned that whole franchise – I hate that word, but it is – was well and truly over. The idea of another Rambo movie was a joke, because he would have been – as he is – in his sixties. It’s unbelievable that not only is it coming out in the same year but that they’re within months of each other. It’s crazy, but there you go.

Did you enjoy it?

GJ: I didn’t really enjoy it. I thought it was funny, but I don’t think it was trying to be funny. I don’t think it’s pretending to be anything other than what it is, that’s for sure, but as movies go it was a bit rubbish. People blew up a lot, I remember that, and I remember leaving before the emotional release. I could sense that coming, after the massacre when he’s just sitting on his big gun for ten minutes. He can’t move around anymore – it used to be a trap here, a trap there, “I’ll run around here and get you and then I’ll come over there.” None of that anymore, he just sits down for a bit. He’s dealt with the guy with the mirrored shades who’s so evil that he reflects the horror back at him and all that sort of stuff, but I couldn’t stick around for the last bit which was obviously going to tie back into the people of Burma and all that.

Son of Rambow

But he doesn’t make those films thinking they’re anything other than they are and he even introduced it by saying, “You know, let’s be frank, I didn’t think I’d be doing this. I’m really old now and I’ve done the best I can, so there you go.” And then he walked off.

Rocky was more successful, I think, at taking the idea that he was past it and running with that, but with Rambo he was still hammering nails with his hands and picking up snakes and doing all that stuff…

Did its release cause you any problems?

GJ: No, it was just a case of who owns what and then after we’d shown it at Sundance, making sure everyone was happy. We just worked out that instead of Paramount in the UK it would be distributed by Optimum because they’re owned by another company who own the rights to the Rambo movies. Those things all get worked out, but they just take forever, and in that time we got to go around all the film festivals and I’d never done that before and it was just marvellous.

Who’s ready for more Rambo?

You can pretend like you don’t want a fifth Rambo, America, but we know better — the surprisingly strong attendance and lukewarm reviews that greeted this year’s fourth installment offered nothing but encouragement to Sylvester Stallone. And though he’s offered decidedly mixed signals to the press regarding the franchise’s future, recent developments would seem to indicate that Stallone is ready to strap on the bandana again — and sooner rather than later.

Last week, Slashfilm picked up on a Screen Daily report saying that Rambo 5 was ready to roll — and that producers had tabbed Sofia, Bulgaria for the shoot. This sparked a wave of discussion about potential storylines for the sequel, and confusion regarding what many perceived as a setup for Rambo’s return to America at the end of the fourth film.

Over the weekend, Moviehole‘s Clint Morris rode to the rescue, offering word from “a reliable contact” that Rambo will, in fact, be coming home to the U.S. of A….or a reasonable facsimile thereof, anyway. Per Moviehole‘s scooper, “The street sets of Bulgaria that are getting the makeover, the same ones that were rented out and used in Van Damme’s The Shepherd, will be doubling for Rambo’s hometown, which is supposed to be somewhere in Arizona.”

In a word: Awesome.

As Morris points out, Bulgaria has actually served as a stand-in for locations both American (Lake Placid 2) and otherwise (Hitman, The Grey Zone). Going to Bulgaria is typically a sign of less-than-plentiful budget dollars, but hey, who needs money? Just hand Stallone a big ol’ knife and a tank top. He’ll do the rest.

This is all just conjecture, of course, but if it turns out to be true, it would seem to put a crimp in those rumors of Stallone starring in a Death Wish remake or Cliffhanger 2, which just goes to show you that there really is a silver lining in every cloud.

Source: Slashfilm
Source: Screen Daily
Source: Moviehole

This week's UK Box Office Top EightA slow week at the nation’s theatres saw Jason Statham surprisingly emerge as the king of the box office. The chrome-domed mockney thesp stars in crime caper The Bank Job, which narrowly overcame Will Ferrell’s new comedy Semi-Pro in a less-than-epic struggle for the number one spot.

This time of year is notoriously slow for cinema releases, with studios usually sitting on their big guns for summer releases and instead using the period as a dumping ground for their less-than-promising, lower budget offerings. This year executives at the big five have bucked the trend a bit – Paramount’s Cloverfield and Fox’s Jumper together raked in big bucks.

This week, though, has seen normal service resumed, with the soulless accountants totting up the profits from The Bank Job and Semi-Pro sure to be disappointed with their takings; the films both scraped less than a million each. The Stath can at least console himself with the fact that The Bank Job received surprisingly good reviews — with an 81% score on the Tomatometer, but Semi-Pro had no such luck. No fewer than three quarters of critics gave the pic a negative review, with the Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw labelling the film “chillingly devoid of laughs”.

It was the big-budget behemoths still lurking in the charts that took the biggest financial hit from the lackadaisical British cinema-going public. Arthritis-riddled killing machine Rambo took in 59% less cash than last week, with studio Sony’s spat with the Odeon cinema chain surely biting into their much-needed profits. The film fell from 3rd to 9th in the charts.

Handheld beasty-mash-up Cloverfield also finally relinquished its slimy grip on a top ten place. The J.J. Abrams produced, ahem, monstrosity tumbled from 9th to 17th place, taking in 74% less moolah than the previous week.

Even RT fave Alvin and the Chipmunks – previously impervious to bad reviews, cinema-going trends and the vagaries of basic human decency – was finally abandoned by its army of loyal fans and also dropped out of the top ten. However, we’re sure the be-suited bean counters at Fox, in between sips of Cristal obviously, will still congratulate themselves on the film’s $22 mill take in the UK alone.

This week's UK Box Office Top EightRambo wasn’t box office number 1 in the UK chart this week – and it’s all down to the Odeon.

The cinema chain, the largest in UK, refused to show Sylvester Stallone‘s violent new film in any of their UK theatres. It still made a strong showing everywhere else, making £2.5m and coming in at number three in the chart. But it surely would’ve claimed top spot had it been represented in more than 100 Odeon cinemas.

The reasons for the extraordinary snub are unclear. In an official statement, Odeon claimed the decision was down to “commercial reasons”. They said: “As the UK’s largest cinema chain, Odeon offers its guests a wide range of film genres to appeal to many different audiences. As such the decision not to screen Rambo will free up screens to show alternative popular new films such as Jumper, Be Kind Rewind and Juno.”

What these commercial reasons could be, however, is unclear. Whilst the film wasn’t a huge smash in the States, it still opened at number one and has taken over $40m so far, meaning the idea that it wasn’t commercially viable to take up Odeon’s screens is rather odd.

It’s more probable that the real reason for the snub was the cinema chain’s breakdown in negotiations with the film’s distributor Sony. It is rumoured that the dispute revolves around the share of the profits from the film, although, again, there has been no official comment on this.

Phil Clapp, chief executive of the Cinema Exhibitors Association, said: “Odeon haven’t pulled the film, they have refused to show it. It’s very rare for this to happen with a film of this profile. I understand that Odeon were not happy with the terms the distributors were asking.”

It’s all very bizarre, and until Odeon and/or Sony give us something official, it’s all just speculation. What is clear, though, is that the UK box office looks odd as a result. Action flick Jumper is going strong at number one in its second week, whilst new entry Be Kind Rewind is just ahead of Rambo in second place.

Michel Gondry’s quirky comedy about two friends ( Jack Black and Mos Def ) who begin remaking Hollywood classics themselves – with hilarious consequences obviously – has received mixed but generally favourable reviews (68% on the Tomatometer) and has obviously benefitted from an intensive advertising campaign.

Although no other new releases broke into the charts, fans of gags about animals eating their own droppings will be glad to hear that Alvin and the Chipmunks rose triumphantly back into the top ten. The film, based around the titular high-pitched rodent trio, has now made over £21m at the UK box office alone.

29/2 UPDATE:

Since we published this story, Sony has issued a press release outlining how successful it feels Rambo has been, despite the Odeon snub. MD Peter Taylor said: “Sony Pictures are delighted with the success of the latest instalment of the Rambo franchise. With the movie heading UK box office charts everyday this week it is obvious that the original fans of the character have embraced the new movie alongside a whole new generation seeing Rambo at the cinema for the first time.” They also released facts and figures outlining the film’s strong box office performance — comparing Rambo‘s gross to similarly 18-rated franchises Saw and Hostel.

More interesting is Sony’s decision to release a statement at all. Rambo‘s success in the US, and the fact that the film had the highest screen average of any top ten movie in the UK are both indicative of the film’s obviously sizeable audience. However recent reports in the media have claimed that the film was dropped by Odeon because they expected it to perform poorly and it’s possible that this is the reason for Sony’s comment.

He’s already resurrected two of his most successful film properties with Rocky Balboa and Rambo — could Sylvester Stallone be contemplating a third?

That’s the gist of a report from PR-Inside, where they’re claiming that Stallone is “in negotiations” with Sony to film a sequel to 1993’s Cliffhanger. Supposedly titled The Dam, the new film would find Sly reprising the role of rock climber Gabe Walker, the carabiner-wielding hero who squared off against the maniacal John Lithgow over $100 million in stolen money. Or something. We don’t really remember, exactly; we only know that Janine Turner was involved, and that was not a bad thing.

Cliffhanger took home a respectable 77 percent on the Tomatometer, but the number of people looking for a sequel at this point have to number in the low teens; the most common reaction to the project, should it come to pass, will likely be along the lines of Slashfilm‘s succinctly negative “this is a bad move.” Then again, Stallone has demonstrated an ability to make even the silliest-sounding sequel worth watching, so who knows?


Source: PR-Inside
Source: Slashfilm

RamboTHIS COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED. THANKS FOR ENTERING.

He’s back – on 22nd February, Rambo powers his way into UK cinemas, delivering gallons of blood, hours of action and hundreds of dead. And, if Reuters is to be believed, his “Live for nothing, die for something,” attitude is even helping fight the real military junta in Burma… There is nothing he can’t do.

Written and directed by Sylvester Stallone, and set twenty years after the last instalment in the film series, John Rambo has retreated to northern Thailand. On the nearby Thailand-Burma border, the Burmese-Karen conflict rages into its 60th year. Rambo, who lives a solitary life in the jungle-covered mountains, has long given up fighting. That all changes though when he hears a group of missionaries have gone missing up the Salween River, whilst trying to bring aide to the persecuted Karen hill tribe people. While Rambo’s reluctance for violence and conflict are palpable, he knows he has to help. What follows is a descent into hell on earth.

To celebrate the film’s release, we’re giving our readers the chance to take to the red carpet in London’s Leicester Square and attend the star-studded premiere of Rambo. Rub shoulders with Sly and take in the glitz and glamour of life in the spotlight. And other such clichés.

We have three pairs of tickets to give away, so you’ll have a friend to take the photo should you get the opportunity to chat to Stallone himself, but transport and accommodation is not included so you’ll have to be able to get to Leicester Square on the evening of Tuesday 12th February.

Which other Sylvester Stallone franchise was revived with the release of the sixth film in UK cinemas in January of last year?

THIS COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED. THANKS FOR ENTERING.

Rambo

Terms and Conditions:

1. The promoter of this competition is Fox Interactive Media UK Limited of 55 New Oxford Street, London, WC1A 1BS.
2. This competition is open to UK residents over the age of 18. To enter, send an email containing your answer, name, address and contact telephone number with the heading “Rambo competition” to ukfeedback@rottentomatoes.com.

3. You can enter as many times as you like but entries may have one name per email only. All emails must be headed “Rambo competition”. If your email does not have this heading, or it contains more than one answer then it will not be considered for the prize.
4. The closing date for entries is 5PM GMT on Monday, 11th February 2008. The winners will be announced after that date.
5. Fox Interactive Media UK Limited will pick the winners at random from all entries received. The judge’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.
6. No employees of IGN Entertainment Inc. or Fox Interactive Media UK Limited are eligible to enter.

7. The prizes consist of three pairs of tickets to the London premiere of Rambo on Tuesday 12th February 2008. There is no cash alternative.
8. Transport and accomodation is not included. Entrants unable to travel to the premiere will be disqualified.
8. The prize will be dispatched after announcement of the winners.
Rambo

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