Rocky II (1979)

At the end of the day, when Rocky Balboa learned to test his limit and prove to the world he is a contender, he is still Rocky Balboa, warts and all. What I enjoy most about “Rocky II” is that even though we didn’t need it, Director Stallone allows us a look in to how the fight with Apollo Creeds affects the man Rocky Balboa in the long run. In the end when he’s gone through the wringer and fought hard, where does Rocky go from there? Apollo is still the champion and is still wealthy, and Rocky is still living in his neighborhood, and is arguably a celebrity. What’s more is that Rocky is thrust in to worldwide fame, and he has to face that perhaps his fame will likely be short lived with an only fifteen minute window for him.

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Cobra (1986)

I am not ashamed to admit that not only is “Cobra” a child hood favorite of mine, but it’s a movie I still quite love, if only for its unique villain. When you take a pumped up anti-hero like Cobra, you have to give him someone to match, and George P. Cosmatos gives us a serial killer cult leader who plans to lead a New World Order of other serial killers. Their plan is to begin a new civilization by—um—killing a lot of people? I wasn’t quite sure what the big plan was. The muddled plan by the film’s villain is made up for by Brian Thompson who is just the ultimate bad guy on film. He’s creepy, menacing, and can deliver lines with his deep grunt that make him sound otherworldly. The best aspect of “Cobra” though is Sylvester Stallone who plays Marion “Cobra” Cobretti. How cool and convenient is that name?

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Ratchet & Clank (2016)

ratchetandclankThe way critics savaged “Ratchet & Clank” in 2016, you’d swear we were given an animated move in the same league of “Norm of the North” or “Doogal.” Instead, we get a funny and entertaining science fiction adventure that doesn’t re-invent the wheel, but manages to be a fun animated movie nevertheless. I have never played the video games “Ratchet & Clank” is based on, but I know enough to understand the basic concept and premise. “Ratchet & Clank” is a eye catching and very good action film that touches on all bases and delivers one very interesting underdog tale about a potential hero trying to prove his worth. Director Kevin Munroe stages a prequel to the games that widens the universe of Ratchet and Clank and genuinely attempts to add another dimension to the titular duo for the sake of their fans.

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Nighthawks (1981): Collector’s Edition [Blu-Ray]

nighthawksDirector Bruce Malmuth’s “Nighthawks” is easily one of the most eighties action thrillers ever made. It’s a teaming of various talents from the decade, and further paves Sylvester Stallone as an action hero. Stallone is quite convincing in his role as renegade street cop Deke DaSilva who goes to great lengths to stop criminals alongside his partner Matthew Fox, as played by Billy Dee Williams. Most of the concept for “Nighthawks” revolves around the uneasy pairing of Stallone’s more rough neck street cop going up against Rutger Hauer’s international villain. Hauer is excellent the villainous bomber Wulfgar who delights in terrorizing people with planting bombs and infiltrating the local populace.

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Creed (2015) [Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital]

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The Rocky saga has always been about parental issues and how parenting and lack thereof define our characters. Rocky had no real parents thus he was always thought of as a loser who gained a dad through Mickey. Adrian and Pauley were each others’ parents, while Rocky’s own son is somewhat a distant memory by the time “Creed” rolls around thanks to Rocky’s own destructive quest for glory. Despite their bonding in “Rocky Balboa” Rocky is still a lonely hermit of a man who runs a restaurant and lives in Philadelphia, still mourning the loss of wife Adrian and best friend Pauley. His effect has had more of a profound effect than he ever realized, as director Ryan Coogler reaches in to the Balboa mythology to touch on another family within the fold of the series that we rarely visited.

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Creed (2015)

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Sylvester Stallone paid proper tribute and respect to his character Rocky Balboa with the final chapter in his saga “Rocky Balboa.” The character deserved the poetic finale after the clunker that was “Rocky V.” Ryan Coogler’s “Creed” is an utter accomplishment that works as a part of Rocky Balboa’s tale, and as the beginning of a new underdog saga. What initially seemed like a lame cash in, is a brilliant twist on the underdog tale with Stallone turning his sights Balboa’s rival and friend Apollo Creed. What was viewed as a sad death in a camp classic in “Rocky IV” carries over in to “Creed,” where Apollo’s death has had a serious significant effect.

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The Expendables 3 (2014)

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One of the most idiotic moments in “The Expendables 3” is when villain Stonebanks is taunting our heroes on a television monitor, explaining that he’s wired the stronghold where he has the Junior Expendables with C4. While watching on the monitor, character Wifi (Glen Powell) completely overrides the C4 from blowing everyone to smithereens. If that’s not enough Barney plans the get away operation for the group while Stonebanks watches on the TV. So how does he still lose if Barney is stupid enough to plan an escape while the bad guy is watching only a few inches away? It’s moments like that that show Stallone really isn’t interested in details with these movies anymore.

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Rambo (2008)

rambo_01Speaking as someone who hates “First Blood,” and managed to completely dislike all of the subsequent “Rambo” movies, I’m surprised to say that “Rambo” or “John Rambo” isn’t a bad movie. In fact, it’s good, it’s really good. Much like the previous “Rocky Balboa,” Stallone seeks to send off his iconic character through the means of a stern and classy storyline that closes all arcs, and leaves our tragic hero with dignity and a sense of closure. How this will play with the studios who want more “Rambo” movies, one can only imagine, but for what it is, it’s a neat little farewell to a very silly action hero.

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