For a recent episode of The Atomic Geeks, I was forced to pick a horrible movie from Netflix's selection of "Showbiz Musicals" and watch it for the show. I chose Staying Alive only because it was directed by Sylvester Stallone. I have been continually impressed with Sly's acting, writing, and directing abilities. I don't love him, but I guess I have such low expectations that I am constantly surprised at what he delivers. Staying Alive, in some ways, was no different. It wasn't a great movie, nor was it my cup of tea. But I do give Stallone credit for delivering on a couple of well-written scenes and being a competent and technically good director.
With my Netflix temporarily reactivated, I began seeking out some other movies to watch and settled on a Stallone double-feature.
First up was The Expendables. This was a fun movie, but one has to go in expecting very little. It could have been better and probably should have been. It delivered more in terms of coolness for seeing all the actors he corralled to be in it than it did actual plot. But the personalities of everyone were fun and the interaction was cool to seen.The Expendables 2 promises to be even more over the top. (Side note, in some ways this was a better G.I. Joe movie than G.I. Joe was.)
Second in my double feature was Demolition Man. Stallone did not write or direct this, but did star. This movie is actually quite bad, although it stems from an interesting concept. It's hard to take seriously now that we're in 2011. In the movie, Stallone is a cop who takes down Wesley Snipes' crazy character. But in a weird twist, Stallone is also sent to prison. Prison, in this near future, is cryogenic freezing. When Snipes is able to break out 30+ years later on an unsuspecting peaceful and oblivious world, they must reactivate Stallone. This was just full of nonsensical scenes and conveniences. Some of the tech they predicted has come true and was interesting to see, but the societal differences would have taken many more years than 30-40 to change. Just couldn't buy it.
A few days later, I wound up finally seeing the fourth installment of the Rambo series. I enjoyed the first three in spite of some cheesiness. This one was a weird amalgam of all three in some ways. Not the "Rocky Balboa" ending I would like to have seen. I guess a Rambo V is still possible though. My big problems with this were the horrific acts that were shown. Certainly based on real events in the world that need to be addressed, it was still disconcerting violence. Also, the movie is only 90 minutes and it takes almost half of that before we get any good Rambo action. I could have done without a fourth Rambo, but I give Stallone credit for at least not watering down this vintage series as other 80s franchises have done with their "20 years later" entries. (Side note, in some ways this also was a better G.I. Joe movie than G.I. Joe was.)