With Arnie’s The Last Stand and Stallone’s Bullet to the Head the action hero is back and what is refreshing is that the advancing years of the two stars is no barrier, indeed is in some way integral to the characters.
The two actors will forever be linked to several of their more prominent roles. Their names will immediately conjure up the actors in the various films; The Terminator, Rocky Balboa, Conan, John Rambo and so on. The recent turns from Stallone in Rocky Balboa and Rambo were the first steps in the creation of the new identity. Unlike those two examples with the long history on and off the screen Bullet to the Head could signal a new trajectory for Stallone. Along with The Expendables series, which is likely to run as long as the box office returns are healthy, Stallone will continue walking away from the explosions without looking back, albeit a little slower than before.
Looking back over Stallone’s career we’ve picked out a few of the roles which have perhaps been lost in the shadows of the Rockys and the Rambos but as we look to the future of Stallone’s career we hope won’t be forgotten.
James Mangold’s second film was a fine drama of police corruption with a number of accomplished actors and Stallone’s performance as the world weary New Jersey sheriff is raised by a superb script and men he lined up alongside. A physical transformation from Stallone was only the first sign that something was different.
Morally his journey was far more precarious that the black and white, good Vs. Evil battles he had fought before. His resolve was tested and his gritty determination which impresses most and it’s a fine film worth checking out.
Popping a frozen Stallone out of a cryo sleep to capture a similarly thawed time traveller in the form of super-criminal Wesley Snipes must have seemed like a good idea at the time. Cue Fish out of water hi-jinx, a corrupt Nigel Hawthorne and some very funny, very silly escapades all tied up with the gunplay and hitting Stallone had made his name with.
Along with the three seashells, the most bizarre futuristic sex scene since Sleeper and the constant robotic chiding for swearing there is much to enjoy here . Stallone and Snipes are pantomime characters unleashed on a garish future world which is the perfect representation of the 1990s magnified. The explosions and the quips are present and correct but the sci-fi trappings make for a neat twist on the typical action movie.
Lending a voice to an animated feature is part and parcel of an actor’s trade these days, perhaps more now than ever with the ubiquity of the CG adventures.
The character of Weaver in one of Dreamworks’ earliest cinematic broadsides against the Pixar behemoth is a joy to behold. The relationship between Stallone’s gruff kindly giant to Woody Allen’s neurotic Z is part of what makes the film such fun. While he is playing to type, as are many of the other actors and characters, there was something charming about Stallone’s this, one of the actor’s few voiceover roles.
Escape to Victory
This bank holiday favourite has a wonderfully eclectic cast with Pele and Bobby Moore lining up with Max Von Sydow and Michael Caine in a war story with a difference.
Coming from the staggering success of Rocky and Rambo it is possible that Stallone’s inclusion in the cast (as a goalkeeper no less) meant that he was the biggest draw to the paying public. His spirited determination to be taken seriously by his teammates is a possible echo of his desire to break out of the stereotypes he has built up around himself. It’s a very fun film, certainly a far odder look at the ravages of wars that most.
Bullet To The Head is out on Blu-ray and DVD today, courtesy of Entertainment One