Friday, November 9, 2012


With 6 Rocky installments and 4 iterations of Rambo it's no secret that Sly Stallone will return to the same couple of wells multiple times.  For me, a Stallone fan for as long as I can remember, it's interesting to see where some of the dialogue, narrative devices, and visuals of those films creep into other, less-celebrated Stallone vehicles.  Since the star so often writes and / or directs his own projects--whether in official or unofficial capacities--it's not surprising to have some overlap in terms of dialogue and scenarios across different films. 

I haven't seen every Stallone picture nor do I have access to all of them so this project reflects the titles I'm more familiar with and have an affinity for.  I'd certainly be interested to hear about more examples of these "Stallone-isms."


bill teck said...

Ned - my fave parts are of course, the 'Let Him Go' - the uppercuts to the body, the 'why can't you change' and of course 'age before beauty' - i like the whole thing - and i think you took it easy on him too :) the motorcycle stuff is priceless - (i almost forget how regretable some of that 90s work is. I never saw Judge Dread or LockUp - wonder if there's anything in there that would be added) One thing i didn't expect it to leave me with is that the way he uses his body, how he celebrates from one end of the frame to another , framed by the goal as well, he uses his body better than maybe any other actor. The way he moves to convey exultations or triumph, the way he throws himself around - is just great. Another unexpected effect it had was it made me interested in how he acts and what he chooses to highlight when he directs himself. i went back and watched part of Rocky Balboa, one of my faves - and was struck by how neat it was to see him acting it out with Burt Young but also that he knew just how to frame himself in the camera, and just how to write for himself. For me it was more exciting than the way Eastwood knows how to present himself iconically. I think, man, could John Wayne have known how to film himself without Hawks or Ford there to hook him up?

Ned Merrill said...

All so true, bill teck. There a lot of his later work that I haven't seen--same as you--and I will have to at some point to see if he circles back to some of these same bits of dialogue, narrative devices, etc.

I love acting that's done primarily with the body, facial expressions, a minimum of dialogue, which is probably why I'm so impressed and moved with his work in most of FIRST BLOOD (everything leading up to his big, noisy monologue at the conclusion). The way he and Dennehy (and his supporting cops) played off of each other was beautiful. Their hostility and Stallone's desperation are so's the only way Stallone and Kotcheff could turn this unstoppable, perfectly conditioned war machine (Rambo) into a sympathetic, underdog (just like Stallone's loveable, physically inferior Rocky).

bill teck said...

Love how you updated "win, win" , from Rocky II and the similar scene in Paradise Alley as well as the other additions to the wonderful Stalloneisms.
I am more obsessed than ever with Sly's psychology , what a fascinatingly , crazy , artful motherfucker. This piece of yours makes me think about what I love / what befuddles me about Sly. How he's always 2nd guessing himself. He'd go on Arsenio and apologize for Oscar when he's supposed to be there to promote it "well, it's a type of French comedy known as farce. People may not understand it."

In many ways he reminds me most of Springsteen in that regard, another big smart guy who lifts weights, takes HGH (probably takes HGH?) and 2nd guesses himself a bit ("I shoulda put this song on The River, or that one") but... "Keeps... Moving... Forward", as Rock says in that great spech to his son in Rocky Balboa.

You know, coincidentally, I think Cobra was an attempt to co-op Springsteen's image for a bit of his own nutty , Frank P Cosmatos related oddness, the outfits, the boots, jeans , the music John Cafferty, Jean Beauvoir, like the Robert Tepper faux-boss ness of Rocky IV, montage the year before. By the way, I forced myself to watch D-Tox (or Eye See You) (man, i hated it) out of one eye while writing the other night - and Sly impales the villain on a huge metal spike thingy like in Cobra. (Then the guy gets off it, and then... Sly picks him up and does it again).
Cobra reminds me - that just like his 'Awesome 50' badass ride in cobra, he's got a cool ride like that in The Expendables and there are some very reminiscent shots - I also watched Get Carter, and he and Michael Caine have dialogue and shots that could be from Victory, as they walk and spar verbally, and he and Micky Rourke also do some interesting stuff, that'll get recalled in Expendables. Even though i didn't care for Get Carter's script - and some of the acting by the other players - There's a great friendliness and camaraderie to the casting in a way that continues on to The Expendables, the whole 'lets put on a show'-ness of it all. And i liked the style of it it and the change of pace. Plus i could just watch him act forever.

Back to Rocky Balboa for a sec. Ever see how the new generation has taken that monologue to his son in Rocky Balboa to heart? I love that part. To me, the film makes a great turn there and becomes something sort of poetic at that moment - but i'm surprised how many people have responded to it. Google it and you'll find it in Dynamic Type on youtube, on Posters on alt film poster sites, on people myspace (yes, myspace) and all over the netting.
Keroauc needed amphetamines, and Byron and Keats opium, so who am i to begrudge my heros for giving the finger to father time? Here's to Testosterone boosters. I guess 'that's how winning is done'.

Ned Merrill said...

I'm sure if I watched more of these Stallone flicks, I would have a lot more material to add to this video. One of these days...

Didn't think about the second-guessing and the parallels with Springsteen, as you put them. Very interesting. I also didn't know about how the ROCKY BALBOA speech has gone viral, so to speak.

GET CARTER remake, i better see that one. Didn't realize that he and Caine had scenes together.