class=”alignleft size-full wp-image-29237″ style=”margin: 10px;” title=”slyvester stallone expendeables” src=”https://www.heyuguys.com/images/2010/07/slyvester-stallone-expendeables.jpg” alt=”” width=”220″ height=”150″ />OK, i’ll wait a minute for you to stop laughing. It’s understandable. Stallone has been considered somewhat of a joke by many over the past couple of decades. He doesn’t have the best reputation for range, choice of roles or quality of output but, when it comes down to it, he has been consistently one of the most popular personalities in the industry.
Whether you love Sly or hate him, the evidence of the impact he has had on Hollywood is compelling to say the least. You see, the success of The Expendables at the weekend wasn’t just a return to the star power-led successes of the eighties, it was a huge landmark in the history of the Silver Screen.
The Expendables won the box office at the weekend. This is special because it is the fifth consecutive decade in which Sylvester Stallone has starred in a movie that topped the box office in its opening week. That’s right, dating back from the seventies, every decade a Sylvester Stallone vehicle has opened in the number one position in theatres. This is a massive achievement, and Sly is the only actor to have done it.
It began nearly 35 years ago with Rocky. Now, there don’t seem to be accurate records for Rocky’s opening gross, so we have to skip to Rocky II which won its opening weekend with $6.3m in 1979. In the eighties, it was a handful of box office wins with Rocky III and IV, and First Blood and Rambo II amongst others.
Sly followed this up in the nineties with success in Cliffhanger, the Specialist, etc… with Cliffhanger the biggest opening at $16.1M. It gets a bit thin in the noughties, when Driven, despite being an awful movie, won its opening weekend before fading into obscurity. The Expendables makes up the fifth decade, but at Sly’s age, it is difficult to see him making it six decades in a row – he’ll be 74 in 2020.
I realise, of course, that you’re screaming at me by now, that success can’t be measured purely in monetary terms. How can he be Hollywood’s biggest star when he has been nominated for more Razzies than you can shake a stick at? You’re not wrong, and his biggest award success, worst actor of the decade at said Razzies in 1990, is not indicative of a great actor.
It is somewhat difficult to defend Stallone’s quality of work, but i’ll certainly have a go. He was nominated for Best Actor in a Lead Role at the Academy Awards in 1977 for Rocky, as well as for Best Screenplay. It has gone downhill since then, but there have been some really good performances over the years as far as i am concerned, with Demolition Man, Assassins and Cop Land particularly standing out for me.
I don’t think the man gets a fair shot a lot of the time, he has been tarred with the brush of talentless action hero, and whilst he has made some stinkers, i don’t think he gets the benefit of the doubt because of who he is. I think there are times when he does a great job, but people don’t see it, because they just don’t like him.
There is no doubting that Stallone has not made a genuinely good film for a long time now, and if he continues to pursue sequels like Rambo and Rocky Balboa, not to mention ‘original’ action movies like The Expendables, he is not going to change that. I’m hoping that as a result of The Expendables’ success this Summer, he might get offered some more diverse parts again, and get one last crack at showing the world that he does have some chops, and is not solely suited to shooting scores of extras with dozens of squibs for a living.
I am not a massive fan of Sylvester Stallone, and i don’t find myself particularly anxious to go out and see his latest action blockbuster. I did like him in Rocky and the underrated Cop Land, however, and if he gets to play some more interesting parts i would be much more likely to give him a shot one more time.
Whatever your feelings on Stallone, there is no denying that financially he has been one of the industry’s most successful performers, and regardless of the quality of his output to date, and whatever his future holds, he will always be remembered as one of Hollywood’s biggest stars.
Bazmann – You can follow me on Twitter at www.twitter.com/baz_mann