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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Bloodstained Nostalgia: Stallone and Cobra’s Neon Seduction

What do Eddie Murphy and Sylvester Stallone have in common?

Other than being movie stars, very little, although the latter was scheduled to play the part of smart alec Detroit cop Axel Foley before Murphy ultimately made the role his own. Stallone had a very different vision for Beverly Hills Cops, a movie that revolutionised the action genre and transformed the controversial comedian into a bona fide mainstream star. The movie may not be as highly regarded at Die Hard or Lethal Weapon, but its mix of buddy cop action/comedy would prove a huge influence on the genre at large […]

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Burning Hearts and Iron Curtains: Rocky IV and Cold War Propaganda

The appeal of Rocky Balboa is his status as a flawed everyman.

Back in 1976, director John G. Avildsen gave us the perfect underdog story. Backed up by an Oscar-winning screenplay by Stallone, Rocky was about community and togetherness, shining a sympathetic light on the poor and downtrodden and reminding us that, given the right attitude and determination, anything is possible. […]

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This Month In . . . 1991 (May)

The month of May was packed full of high-grossing box office hits, but the opening week was most notable for a stylish low-key comedy with a big heart. Based on a crime novel by Chester Himes, Bill Duke’s Rage In Harlem is a touching tale about an ingenuous churchgoer named Jackson (Forest Whitaker), who wins the heart of a salacious female grifter (Robin Givens) after becoming a key component in her latest con […]

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