A War You Won’t Believe: First Blood and the Commercial Warrior

Sylvester Stallone has had quite the career.

Shooting to superstardom as boyish underdog Rocky Balboa, he would later become one of the most recognisable movie stars on the planet, sculpting his body and onscreen persona to shine as one of action cinema’s most indomitable forces. In the ’80s and ’90s, that’s where the money was for an actor of his profile. Movies such as Cobra, Cliffhanger and Demolition Man would thrill action junkies the world over, and Stallone had a knack for staying relevant. When it came to keeping his face in the limelight, Sly was second-to-none […]

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Kidnapped by K-Mart: Ruthless People and 1980s Amorality

A word of warning: if you haven’t already seen Ruthless People, then it’s best to go in cold, because it’s a deliciously, deviously plotted film, the kind that starts off with a great hook, gleefully allows itself to get tangled with all kinds of left-field threads and yet still manages to keep it all together.

The poster is clever (an enormous golden screw resembling an Academy Award) but ultimately gives nothing away. Of course, the trailer, in classic old-school fashion, gives almost everything away, so try to avoid that […]

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Shot to the Beat: House Party’s Rhythmic Revelry

The late 80s and early 90s saw an explosion of films that, at the time, were loosely referred to as urban or ‘Hood’ movies’.

It’s a crude term used to describe films that featured prominently black characters, usually set within a specific, limited geographical area or social setting that serves to define the significance of what is happening around them. Whether this be drug trafficking in New Jack City, gang or turf warfare in Menace II Society, the simmering racial tension surrounding Do the Right Thing or everyday life in the ghetto, portrayed so honestly, brutally and tragically in Boyz ‘N the Hood. Fuelled by the rising popularity of hip-hop and featuring […]

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Ice Skating Uphill: A Blade Retrospective

Prior to Blade, Marvel’s track record in cinemas was impressively wretched. At a time when DC’s Superman and Batman were experiencing unprecedented levels of cinematic success, the characters of Marvel were getting lost in translation.

First up was George Lucas’ monumentally ill-judged mid-80s adaptation Howard the Duck, which tanked so hard at the box office that Lucas, who had bet on the film’s success to pay off outstanding debts he owed on Skywalker Ranch, was forced to sell his computer animation company to Apple buddy Steve Jobs […]

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