The Secret to Stallone’s Success; 66 Year-old Star Still Packs a Wallop

Sylvester Stallone in BULLET TO THE HEAD.

Sylvester Stallone in BULLET TO THE HEAD.

I really enjoyed BULLET TO THE HEAD (2013), Sylvester Stallone’s latest action movie, released this past week.

I’ve long been a fan of Stallone, but it’s interesting to note as I look back at his career, that a lot of his films I’ve disliked.  Yet, as a performer, he’s remained someone I’ve held in high regard.  Why?  Why the discrepancy?

I’ve thought about this, and one possible answer is I’ve been a fan of Stallone’s largely because of one role, Rocky Balboa.  It’s almost as if I enjoyed his performance as Rocky Balboa so much that his Rocky persona seems to have transcended his Stallone persona.  In other words, it’s not Stallone in those bad movies, it’s Rocky, and Rocky is such a likeable guy that I’m not going to hold it against him that he’s in some bad movies.

True?   I don’t know.  But for every movie with Stallone I’ve liked, there have been those I haven’t liked.  Turkeys like COBRA (1986), STOP, OR MY MOM WILL SHOOT! (1992), and JUDGE DREDD (1995). 

 I think the real answer is that Stallone himself has projected a likeable persona over the years, so much so that his appearance in these bad movies has been largely forgiven.

Of course, it helps that he’s made a ton of movies, a lot of them good ones. 

 Here’s a list of some of my favorite Sylvester Stallone movies:  ROCKY (1976), ROCKY II (1979), NIGHTHAWKS (1981), ROCKY III (1982), CLIFFHANGER (1993), and COP LAND (1997), the latter of which contains Stallone’s best acting performance, with the exception of his work in the early Rocky movies.

 Strangely, I’ve never been a big fan of his RAMBO movies.

 I also have four other favorite Stallone movies.  They are:  ROCKY BALBOA (2006), THE EXPENDABLES (2010), THE EXPENDABLES 2 (2012) and BULLET TO THE HEAD (2013), which raises an interesting point.  These four have all come out in the past decade. 

 Stallone is now 66 years old and he’s still going strong.  Here’s a guy who’s been making movies— good and bad— since the 1970s, and some of his best work is being made right now as he’s in his 60s. 

 For those of us toiling away writing fiction, still striving for success with each passing year, it’s encouraging news indeed to see a performer hitting his stride, perfecting his craft, showing no signs of slowing down, as he enters his senior years.

 And he really isn’t showing signs of slowing down.  With several more films in the works, Stallone will still be a box office presence in the years ahead, and if his last few movies are any indication, this is a good thing for movie audiences.

 Way to go Rocky— er, Sylvester Stallone!

 —Michael Arruda



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