Now, I’ve had my late-night fun with classic “What-the-Hell-am-I-doing-with-my-life-that-makes-me-watch-this” clips. You know the ones. The scene from Ralph Macchio’s Crossroads where the Karate Kid himself has to guitar-battle ‘80s legend and six-stringed douche Steve Vai for his soul.
Or how about the scene from Bulletproof where Gary Busey calls Danny Trejo a “butt horn?” All part of the canon, mind you.
But last night I found myself watching the training sequence – the one set to the song “Hearts on Fire” – from Rocky IV…
…and it stands as the only Youtube clip I have watched that actually made me respect someone. Since the terms “YouTube” and “respect” are almost never written in the same sentence, this was a big deal.
I’ve come to realize, thanks to the internet and procrastination, how completely f**king badass Sylvester Stallone is.
At least in my circles, Stallone gets a bad rap in comparison to other storied ‘80s action heroes like Chuck Norris, Steven Seagal, Jean Claude Van Damme, and even Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. But the dude is way too talented and strong looking to make fun of, and is still working on legitimate films. He is not simply an ‘80s action hero.
Some people are quick to point out Stallone’s “lesser works,” like Rocky V and they tend to forget the dude has two more Oscar nominations under his belt – a belt I imagine to be his badass heavyweight championship belt prop from Rocky II – than most people in the world will ever have. Then he proceeded to write and direct films in which he kicks the sh*t out of Carl Weathers, Mr. T, Hulk Hogan, plus a dude bigger and academically smarter (Dolph Lundgren, a tall blond bastard who was on scholarship to MIT before he realized he didn’t need math when he could break people on camera just as easily), and a f**kload of a-holes in the Rambo flicks.
Still, after pointing all of those examples out, most naysayers will quickly come back with a mention of Stallone’s appearance in Spy Kids 3D: Game Over, thinking they’ve won the argument.
This, quite obviously, is a jealousy issue on the naysayers’ parts. The film is simply a testament to Stallone’s desperate desire to give back to the children. He is better than all of us, and some people are man enough to admit it. The fact that he could get a movie like Over the Top green lit, For god’s sake, he plays a trucker who arm wrestles people! It just shows how completely dominant Sly is over regular humans. Think about it—a movie about a trucker who tries to impress his son by entering a legitimate arm wrestling tournament. Focus on the phrase “arm wrestling” for just a minute, and try to understand how that film was actually made.
The aforementioned Rocky IV montage has opened my eyes to this fact of life. Watching it, inevitably getting really pumped up, almost to the point where I think I could legitimately win a fist fight (I can’t), I start to recognize the fact that this man directs, writes, and does those wicked leg crunch thingies that I know my body will never be able to perform… and he does it all in one film. He basically does all the things I want to do, and did I mention he later made a film about f**king arm wrestling? That’s the kind of crazy movie idea someone like Charlie Kaufman would only be able to get green lit, it is that weird of an idea. The only difference is Stallone isn’t a bumbling and eccentric New Yorker with low self-esteem; he’s a beast of a man who decimated every pop culture icon in his path during the ‘80s in his fantastically successful serious of movies.
Normally, the people that are genetically predisposed to being writers and directors of films – that is to say small, out of shape, nerdy dudes – pursue that exact profession as a result of their physical shortcomings. Imagine their surprise when this big meathead with a speech impediment not only beats them at their own game, but also can physically beat them within an inch of their lives. It is unfair to some, awe-inspiring to others.
The scary part about this is that I’m only taking into consideration his cross-section of films from the 1980s. I’m not even delving into the greatness that is Demolition Man (which gets personal bonus points from me for driving a car past the San Diego Convention Center and passing it off as a building from the future, not just a place where nerds congregate in the summer to try to meet Bruce Campbell or Sarah Michelle Gellar) or Cliffhanger. Never mind the fact that he’s currently making a movie called The Expendables with every actor that pops up in a Google search containing the words “badass,” “awesome,” and “actor.” Really, I don’t think I really need to go past one decade of the man’s work. The evidence speaks for itself. A porn actor (oh yeah, he did porn, too, before he made it big) turned Oscar-nominated thespian and writer who settled to just project his badassery and ridiculous physique onto the world as if the controlling forces of the universe had sent him on a quest. There is no doubt in my mind that Sylvester Stallone is a superman amongst pedestrian humans.
Oh, did I mention he made a movie about f**king arm wrestling? Because he did.
— SPENCER VICKERS
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