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Tag Archives: stallone
Sylvester Stallone’s new Rocky movie, Rocky Balboa, is an experiment in the power of sentiment. To what extent can our years of association with a character transform our experience of a movie? Can a major motion picture get by on nostalgia alone? The answer, in this case, is that yes, it can.
The original Rocky was a fairy-tale, but it was a gritty one, set in a run-down, semi-deserted Philadelphia. Like a lot of late-seventies proto-blockbusters, it paired the simple genre narrative that would define eighties blockbuster filmmaking with the realist edge of seventies New Hollywood; in doing so it got the best of both worlds. So while the story is pure fluff, the film was built on solid elements such as the performances of Stallone and his costars, and the character of its Philadelphia locations. After the founding film the series fell apart in small increments, with each instalment becoming more cartoonish, overwhelming the simple dignity of the title character. By Rocky IV, as Stallone faced off in a symbolic cold-war bout between America and Russia, the series was a joke.
Is this it? Is this the sign that in America at least, every single thing that can possibly be released on DVD is already out? I refer to the news that Rambo: The Animated Series is to be released on DVD. I had no idea that such a show ever existed, and it truly boggles the mind. But then, having been about nine or ten when Rambo: First Blood Part II was released, I do recall that the film series had a lot of appeal for small boys. (Who knows what it did to their fragile little minds – although it could do a lot to explain the current political environment). The picture on the front of volume 2, in which Rambo punches out an indeterminate ethnic stereotype, is particularly disturbing. (And have Bruce Lee’s estate signed off on the use of the title “Enter the Dragon?”)