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 We Didn't Start The 80s 
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Captain Terror wrote:
Despite my grouchiness as a teen, one thing about the '80s that I did embrace was the Rocky series. When Rocky III hit cable, my brother and I watched it on a seemingly daily basis. One Christmas, when my brother received the Thriller LP, I was given the Rocky III soundtrack. (Eye of the Tiger > Beat It) The point of this story is that while I've had some unkind things to say about Arnold and Bruce Willis earlier in this thread, Stallone was always my guy. That may be hypocritical of me, as Stallone was capable of being equally cartoonish as Ahnold, but it is what it is. Which leads me to----

FIRST BLOOD (1982)
I'm not sure how this holds up as an examination of the Viet Nam vets' plight, and it's possibly downright insulting in that regard, but as an action film I was completely on board. I should have watched this a long time ago.
(Midway through the film I was struck by how much Richard Crenna's character resembles Halloween's Dr Loomis, in that his purpose is to roam from scene to scene telling people (and the audience) things like "You have no idea what he's capable of!" Am I crazy or has anyone else noticed that before?)

RAMBO: FIRST BLOOD PART II (1985)
Had myself pumped for this one but it didn't quite deliver. It's bigger and louder but decidedly not better. Some great moments - the chopper vs chopper sequence was pretty sweet - but it just felt a bit corny. From what I've gathered, Part III isn't going to be much of an improvement but I'm ready for it anway.

And another one for the I'm Clueless File: Didn't know that Jimmy Cameron was involved in this series at all. (He co-wrote II)


First Blood is a top tier action film. Considering that it's directed by Ted Kotcheff, who also did Wake in Fright, it's no surprise how great its use of its environment is. Dennehy makes a great villain. And I'm with you on Stallone. Rambo might not necessarily be the most sensitive or psychologically realistic portrayal of a Vietnam veteran, but he brings a sincerity and poignancy to his portrayal that makes his character genuinely affecting in the context of this lean, no frills actioner. Those qualities even make his character in the increasingly meatheaded sequels, which I think still deliver ably on the action goods if lacking the greatness of the original.

I'd actually put the fourth as the best sequel, as I find its handling of the character fairly interesting (even though the series is known for the jingoism of the second and third, Rambo's evolving relationship with the state and his role as a tool of ideological violence shifts throughout the movies and the fourth I think defines that element that makes the other sequels stronger in reflection). It also has a climax, that despite some pretty iffy shot choices, becomes thrilling through its relentless editing and sheer brutality.

I too watched the second film soon after the first film and couldn't help be let down in comparison, but it's grown on me over rewatches, particularly due to the almost nonstop action of its second half. Also, I didn't appreciate this as much initially, but after having watched Missing in Action (the ripoff that bizarrely managed to beat it to theatres), I realized that there's a fair bit of craftsmanship present that I'd taken for granted earlier but becomes more obvious when you have a much sloppier point of comparison. (As far as the Missing in Action series goes, however, the second is actually pretty good, with a prison camp setting and escape plot that give it a much higher level tension than the slapdash first and execrable third.)

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Sat Nov 10, 2018 12:32 pm
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crumbsroom wrote:
I think Stallone is a seriously underrated actor. This doesn't excuse him of some of the garbage he did, but when he was giving the opportunity, he could be fantastic. I have absolutely no issue with calling his performance in the first Rocky as one of the very best of all 70's American films.

Without a doubt. Revisiting the Rocky films as an adult, the gap between the first film and the rest of the series became evident to me. The sequels will always entertain me in their own way, but Rocky is a legit great film. And regarding the other action stars, I've always given Stallone the edge for also writing and directing. Sure, sometimes the result was Staying Alive but hey, it's more than Arnold could manage. :)

Rock wrote:

First Blood is a top tier action film. Considering that it's directed by Ted Kotcheff, who also did Wake in Fright, it's no surprise how great its use of its environment is.

Yes, and part of what disappointed me about II was that its setting seemed somehow artificial to me, like I was never convinced that they were really in a jungle. There was a sheen to the production that didn't fit the setting.

Rock wrote:
And I'm with you on Stallone. Rambo might not necessarily be the most sensitive or psychologically realistic portrayal of a Vietnam veteran, but he brings a sincerity and poignancy to his portrayal that makes his character genuinely affecting

Agreed. This might be a result of my Stallone bias but I just find Rambo a character that's much easier to pull for as compared to say, John McClane. McClane is fun to watch but I wouldn't want to hang out with him.

Rock wrote:
I'd actually put the fourth as the best sequel

I've actually seen some footage from that one and it was delightfully over-the-top. Looking forward to that one too.

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Sat Nov 10, 2018 1:23 pm
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Captain Terror wrote:
I've actually seen some footage from that one and it was delightfully over-the-top. Looking forward to that one too.

The violence is pretty over-the-top, but the overall tone is actually pretty grim. It's a borderline exploitative look at atrocities in Myanmar that through the seriousness with which Stallone plays his character, actually comes off as sincere.

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Sat Nov 10, 2018 2:51 pm
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Captain Terror wrote:
Despite my grouchiness as a teen, one thing about the '80s that I did embrace was the Rocky series. When Rocky III hit cable, my brother and I watched it on a seemingly daily basis. One Christmas, when my brother received the Thriller LP, I was given the Rocky III soundtrack. (Eye of the Tiger > Beat It) The point of this story is that while I've had some unkind things to say about Arnold and Bruce Willis earlier in this thread, Stallone was always my guy. That may be hypocritical of me, as Stallone was capable of being equally cartoonish as Ahnold, but it is what it is. Which leads me to----

FIRST BLOOD (1982)
I'm not sure how this holds up as an examination of the Viet Nam vets' plight, and it's possibly downright insulting in that regard, but as an action film I was completely on board. I should have watched this a long time ago.
(Midway through the film I was struck by how much Richard Crenna's character resembles Halloween's Dr Loomis, in that his purpose is to roam from scene to scene telling people (and the audience) things like "You have no idea what he's capable of!" Am I crazy or has anyone else noticed that before?)

No, you are dead-on-balls accurate. That is exactly who he is.
Also, I liked the movie a lot back in the day, probably watched it somewhere between half a dozen and a dozen times, but I have not seen it in many a moon.


Sun Nov 11, 2018 2:51 am
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crumbsroom wrote:

I think Stallone is a seriously underrated actor. This doesn't excuse him of some of the garbage he did, but when he was giving the opportunity, he could be fantastic. I have absolutely no issue with calling his performance in the first Rocky as one of the very best of all 70's American films. And there is just so much competition there.

I agree and I think, obviously, Cop Land really demonstrated the chops he's been hiding from the world behind a lot of unfortunate schlock.
I will add that I thought his performance in Rocky III (yes!) was very good, as well as Creed.
Now, Oscar, on the other hand...


Sun Nov 11, 2018 2:54 am
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One last thing (from me) on the subject:
For me, the first three Rocky films are all good films. I tend to like the third more than the second and I'll get into that in a minute.
Rocky IV is the film that ruins everything in my opinion.
Rocky IV turns Rocky into a superhero and a sort of jingoistic, nationalist, Cold-War America super-hero. It is silly beyond belief, it lacks any real drama, it fails to be original by recycling the mentor-dying as motivator trope from the third film (but while that film gave Rocky many complex motivations like an actual person, IV turned it into a straight-up revenge film with the character having only one purpose and one thought in his head, something else I'll get to in a minute), it has a cartoon villain utterly lacking the charisma of either Apollo or Clubber, and it really has The Sheen (not Martin or Charlie, but the 80s cinematic Sheen).
Now III is a good film with a great deal of character-study and motivational complexity. And it gives Adrian something to do, which is nice.
What people forget, when they haven't seen the film in a while or enough to have picked up on everything, is that Rocky is the current Heavyweight Champion, but he has actually never proved he is a great champion. People watch that movie and think he's supposed to be this unstoppable force who also has everything but that is not the narrative of the film. Clubber calls him a "paper champion" and Clubber is kinda right. The montage at the beginning with Paulie shows him fighting all these fights but it is later revealed in a scene that's nicely set up and written that Mickey has been shielding Rocky from the best contender to keep him on top. And why? Because Mick likes all the money and stuff? No, Mick actually really, really doesn't. But he loves Rocky. He actually loves him like a son and he's lied to him to protect him and give him a better life. And he knows that while Rocky is a great fighter, he's not that great, and he will lose to someone like Clubber. Now suddenly Rocky is filled with tremendous self-doubt, which he covers up with this fiasco of a training circus and now, facing his first real contender, he gets his ass absolutely beat-down. Stomped. At this point, with his mentor dead, his illusion shattered in fragments around his feet, and physically just defeated, he is a man in crisis.
Which sets up one of my favorite parts of the movie, when Adrian asks him, "We got everything but the truth. What's the truth, dammit?!"
And Rocky says, "I'm afraid."
Such a great moment and so utterly consistent with the Rocky we know from the first film. He's human. That's why we love him. And that's what makes his ultimate triumph, when he's not actually good enough, but he perseveres, that's what makes Rocky an icon. Not being "a piece of iron". :roll:
When you add to this a really memorable villain ("My prediction? Pain."), really great fight scenes, a strong Stallone performance, my favorite performance by Carl Weathers, and legitimate things for all the characters to say and do (quality moments here between Rock and Paulie, Rock and Adrian, Rock and Mickey, Rock and Apollo), and hell, Hulk Hogan just thrown in for free, hey, it ain't a Great Film, but it's a good one.
Meanwhile, the fourth film kinda just tramples on all that. The ONE thing it has going for it is the notion that everything to do with the Cold War and the rivalry between the two countries, and the whole international circus is completely lost on Rock. He's not tuning it out, he doesn't even see it or care at all, he is so single-minded of purpose that all of that just becomes silliness and has nothing to do with his revenge-plot.
Anyway, that's all I have to say... about Rocky.


Sun Nov 11, 2018 3:32 am
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Wooley wrote:
One last thing (from me) on the subject:
For me, the first three Rocky films are all good films. I tend to like the third more than the second and I'll get into that in a minute.
Rocky IV is the film that ruins everything in my opinion.
Rocky IV turns Rocky into a superhero and a sort of jingoistic, nationalist, Cold-War America super-hero. It is silly beyond belief, it lacks any real drama, it fails to be original by recycling the mentor-dying as motivator trope from the third film (but while that film gave Rocky many complex motivations like an actual person, IV turned it into a straight-up revenge film with the character having only one purpose and one thought in his head, something else I'll get to in a minute), it has a cartoon villain utterly lacking the charisma of either Apollo or Clubber, and it really has The Sheen (not Martin or Charlie, but the 80s cinematic Sheen).
Now III is a good film with a great deal of character-study and motivational complexity. And it gives Adrian something to do, which is nice.
What people forget, when they haven't seen the film in a while or enough to have picked up on everything, is that Rocky is the current Heavyweight Champion, but he has actually never proved he is a great champion. People watch that movie and think he's supposed to be this unstoppable force who also has everything but that is not the narrative of the film. Clubber calls him a "paper champion" and Clubber is kinda right. The montage at the beginning with Paulie shows him fighting all these fights but it is later revealed in a scene that's nicely set up and written that Mickey has been shielding Rocky from the best contender to keep him on top. And why? Because Mick likes all the money and stuff? No, Mick actually really, really doesn't. But he loves Rocky. He actually loves him like a son and he's lied to him to protect him and give him a better life. And he knows that while Rocky is a great fighter, he's not that great, and he will lose to someone like Clubber. Now suddenly Rocky is filled with tremendous self-doubt, which he covers up with this fiasco of a training circus and now, facing his first real contender, he gets his ass absolutely beat-down. Stomped. At this point, with his mentor dead, his illusion shattered in fragments around his feet, and physically just defeated, he is a man in crisis.
Which sets up one of my favorite parts of the movie, when Adrian asks him, "We got everything but the truth. What's the truth, dammit?!"
And Rocky says, "I'm afraid."
Such a great moment and so utterly consistent with the Rocky we know from the first film. He's human. That's why we love him. And that's what makes his ultimate triumph, when he's not actually good enough, but he perseveres, that's what makes Rocky an icon. Not being "a piece of iron". :roll:
When you add to this a really memorable villain ("My prediction? Pain."), really great fight scenes, a strong Stallone performance, my favorite performance by Carl Weathers, and legitimate things for all the characters to say and do (quality moments here between Rock and Paulie, Rock and Adrian, Rock and Mickey, Rock and Apollo), and hell, Hulk Hogan just thrown in for free, hey, it ain't a Great Film, but it's a good one.
Meanwhile, the fourth film kinda just tramples on all that. The ONE thing it has going for it is the notion that everything to do with the Cold War and the rivalry between the two countries, and the whole international circus is completely lost on Rock. He's not tuning it out, he doesn't even see it or care at all, he is so single-minded of purpose that all of that just becomes silliness and has nothing to do with his revenge-plot.
Anyway, that's all I have to say... about Rocky.


Good thoughts on III. You probably like it a little more than me, but it is still one of the better films of the franchise (of which I am a fan of the first 4, and liked Creed well enough, mostly because of Stallone)

You're correct in saying IV is a world apart from the previous movies. And by most definitions it is a very bad film. It is really a strung together collection of music montages and synthetically scored training scenes. It burrows right down into the worst sports film cliches, 80's film tropes and completely calorie free excess. The dialogue is ridiculous. The concept is preposterous. It has no relation to the real world. Which is why I love it, and can rewatch it endlessly. It does betray the roots of the originals, but I'm good at giving a big so what to those sorts of crimes. I can love the first three for what they are, and love IV for all it isn't. I don't like a lot of stupid feel good movies, but somehow Rocky IV makes me feel good while I'm watching it. Maybe because of how much I'm laughing at it. Maybe because I'm falling for it's brazenly calculated nonsense. Either way, great stuff.


Sun Nov 11, 2018 4:53 am
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crumbsroom wrote:

Good thoughts on III. You probably like it a little more than me, but it is still one of the better films of the franchise (of which I am a fan of the first 4, and liked Creed well enough, mostly because of Stallone)

You're correct in saying IV is a world apart from the previous movies. And by most definitions it is a very bad film. It is really a strung together collection of music montages and synthetically scored training scenes. It burrows right down into the worst sports film cliches, 80's film tropes and completely calorie free excess. The dialogue is ridiculous. The concept is preposterous. It has no relation to the real world. Which is why I love it, and can rewatch it endlessly. It does betray the roots of the originals, but I'm good at giving a big so what to those sorts of crimes. I can love the first three for what they are, and love IV for all it isn't. I don't like a lot of stupid feel good movies, but somehow Rocky IV makes me feel good while I'm watching it. Maybe because of how much I'm laughing at it. Maybe because I'm falling for it's brazenly calculated nonsense. Either way, great stuff.

Honestly, I totally get that, and if I can separate it from the other films and from the slight on the other films I feel it is, I can probably watch it and even enjoy it.
I don't think III needed a sequel, honestly, and I think V was more in the spirit but just wasn't a good movie. I didn't see Balboa. Creed was a good movie, although I'm just not as in love with Jordan as so many people seem to be. He teeters on the very edge of overacting seemingly at all times.


Sun Nov 11, 2018 5:23 am
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Rocky III's structure is borderline genius. You've got an undeniably charismatic villain and you spend an hour or so making the viewer absolutely despise him. (Tween-aged me had never felt despair as low as the combination of Mickey dying right after Rocky having lost the first fight.) And because this is a movie about boxing, the climax of the film is that villain literally receiving a beatdown. Catharsis doesn't get much sweeter than that, which is why audiences literally stood and cheered at the end. (I may or may not have joined them. I'm not telling.)

Rocky III is my go-to example whenever discussing comic book movies. So many of them devolve into fist fights with no stakes or emotion, but here's an example of how to make a punch-fest mean something to the viewer. Take the Rocky III template and replace Balboa with the Hulk--- greatest superhero beatdown ever, guaranteed.

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Sun Nov 11, 2018 6:12 am
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Wooley wrote:
One last thing (from me) on the subject:
For me, the first three Rocky films are all good films. I tend to like the third more than the second and I'll get into that in a minute.
Rocky IV is the film that ruins everything in my opinion.
Rocky IV turns Rocky into a superhero and a sort of jingoistic, nationalist, Cold-War America super-hero. It is silly beyond belief, it lacks any real drama, it fails to be original by recycling the mentor-dying as motivator trope from the third film (but while that film gave Rocky many complex motivations like an actual person, IV turned it into a straight-up revenge film with the character having only one purpose and one thought in his head, something else I'll get to in a minute), it has a cartoon villain utterly lacking the charisma of either Apollo or Clubber, and it really has The Sheen (not Martin or Charlie, but the 80s cinematic Sheen).
Now III is a good film with a great deal of character-study and motivational complexity. And it gives Adrian something to do, which is nice.
What people forget, when they haven't seen the film in a while or enough to have picked up on everything, is that Rocky is the current Heavyweight Champion, but he has actually never proved he is a great champion. People watch that movie and think he's supposed to be this unstoppable force who also has everything but that is not the narrative of the film. Clubber calls him a "paper champion" and Clubber is kinda right. The montage at the beginning with Paulie shows him fighting all these fights but it is later revealed in a scene that's nicely set up and written that Mickey has been shielding Rocky from the best contender to keep him on top. And why? Because Mick likes all the money and stuff? No, Mick actually really, really doesn't. But he loves Rocky. He actually loves him like a son and he's lied to him to protect him and give him a better life. And he knows that while Rocky is a great fighter, he's not that great, and he will lose to someone like Clubber. Now suddenly Rocky is filled with tremendous self-doubt, which he covers up with this fiasco of a training circus and now, facing his first real contender, he gets his ass absolutely beat-down. Stomped. At this point, with his mentor dead, his illusion shattered in fragments around his feet, and physically just defeated, he is a man in crisis.
Which sets up one of my favorite parts of the movie, when Adrian asks him, "We got everything but the truth. What's the truth, dammit?!"
And Rocky says, "I'm afraid."
Such a great moment and so utterly consistent with the Rocky we know from the first film. He's human. That's why we love him. And that's what makes his ultimate triumph, when he's not actually good enough, but he perseveres, that's what makes Rocky an icon. Not being "a piece of iron". :roll:
When you add to this a really memorable villain ("My prediction? Pain."), really great fight scenes, a strong Stallone performance, my favorite performance by Carl Weathers, and legitimate things for all the characters to say and do (quality moments here between Rock and Paulie, Rock and Adrian, Rock and Mickey, Rock and Apollo), and hell, Hulk Hogan just thrown in for free, hey, it ain't a Great Film, but it's a good one.
Meanwhile, the fourth film kinda just tramples on all that. The ONE thing it has going for it is the notion that everything to do with the Cold War and the rivalry between the two countries, and the whole international circus is completely lost on Rock. He's not tuning it out, he doesn't even see it or care at all, he is so single-minded of purpose that all of that just becomes silliness and has nothing to do with his revenge-plot.
Anyway, that's all I have to say... about Rocky.


oh shit, maybe I have to see Rocky 3 after all.


Sun Nov 11, 2018 6:23 am
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Oxnard Montalvo wrote:

oh shit, maybe I have to see Rocky 3 after all.


I just spoiled the hell out of it, sorry.

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Sun Nov 11, 2018 6:25 am
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Captain Terror wrote:
Despite my grouchiness as a teen, one thing about the '80s that I did embrace was the Rocky series. When Rocky III hit cable, my brother and I watched it on a seemingly daily basis. One Christmas, when my brother received the Thriller LP, I was given the Rocky III soundtrack. (Eye of the Tiger > Beat It) The point of this story is that while I've had some unkind things to say about Arnold and Bruce Willis earlier in this thread, Stallone was always my guy. That may be hypocritical of me, as Stallone was capable of being equally cartoonish as Ahnold, but it is what it is. Which leads me to----

FIRST BLOOD (1982)
I'm not sure how this holds up as an examination of the Viet Nam vets' plight, and it's possibly downright insulting in that regard, but as an action film I was completely on board. I should have watched this a long time ago.
(Midway through the film I was struck by how much Richard Crenna's character resembles Halloween's Dr Loomis, in that his purpose is to roam from scene to scene telling people (and the audience) things like "You have no idea what he's capable of!" Am I crazy or has anyone else noticed that before?)

RAMBO: FIRST BLOOD PART II (1985)
Had myself pumped for this one but it didn't quite deliver. It's bigger and louder but decidedly not better. Some great moments - the chopper vs chopper sequence was pretty sweet - but it just felt a bit corny. From what I've gathered, Part III isn't going to be much of an improvement but I'm ready for it anway.

And another one for the I'm Clueless File: Didn't know that Jimmy Cameron was involved in this series at all. (He co-wrote II)


I've been a huge fan of First Blood since I first saw it 30+ years ago. Back then it was the action, the survivalism, etc. but now I'm more drawn to the emotional and psychological aspect of the character and his surroundings. I'm not sure how clinically accurate it might be or how "downright insulting" it might be nowadays, but I don't think that changes the overall effect a lot.

Rambo takes everything that made the first one great and exchanges it for the same violent excesses and war glorification that the first one seemed to be criticizing. It's baffling why they took that route, but hey, it's 'Merica against Vietnam, so rah-rah, I guess. I haven't seen it in a good while, but I've never felt drawn to it. I haven't seen Rambo III in a long time either, but all I remember is it being quite boring.

In my mind, John Rambo is the only other one that exists. Is it violent? Yes, but it's entertaining, balances the character of Rambo with the other soldiers quite well, and offers a nice closure to the character. Not sure why Sly felt compelled to go back to the character, but money is money, I guess.

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Sun Nov 11, 2018 6:34 am
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Captain Terror wrote:

I just spoiled the hell out of it, sorry.


s'okay. now that I know the 'what', I can focus instead on the 'how'.


Sun Nov 11, 2018 6:37 am
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Wooley wrote:
One last thing (from me) on the subject:
For me, the first three Rocky films are all good films. I tend to like the third more than the second and I'll get into that in a minute.
Rocky IV is the film that ruins everything in my opinion.
Rocky IV turns Rocky into a superhero and a sort of jingoistic, nationalist, Cold-War America super-hero. It is silly beyond belief, it lacks any real drama, it fails to be original by recycling the mentor-dying as motivator trope from the third film (but while that film gave Rocky many complex motivations like an actual person, IV turned it into a straight-up revenge film with the character having only one purpose and one thought in his head, something else I'll get to in a minute), it has a cartoon villain utterly lacking the charisma of either Apollo or Clubber, and it really has The Sheen (not Martin or Charlie, but the 80s cinematic Sheen).
Now III is a good film with a great deal of character-study and motivational complexity. And it gives Adrian something to do, which is nice.
What people forget, when they haven't seen the film in a while or enough to have picked up on everything, is that Rocky is the current Heavyweight Champion, but he has actually never proved he is a great champion. People watch that movie and think he's supposed to be this unstoppable force who also has everything but that is not the narrative of the film. Clubber calls him a "paper champion" and Clubber is kinda right. The montage at the beginning with Paulie shows him fighting all these fights but it is later revealed in a scene that's nicely set up and written that Mickey has been shielding Rocky from the best contender to keep him on top. And why? Because Mick likes all the money and stuff? No, Mick actually really, really doesn't. But he loves Rocky. He actually loves him like a son and he's lied to him to protect him and give him a better life. And he knows that while Rocky is a great fighter, he's not that great, and he will lose to someone like Clubber. Now suddenly Rocky is filled with tremendous self-doubt, which he covers up with this fiasco of a training circus and now, facing his first real contender, he gets his ass absolutely beat-down. Stomped. At this point, with his mentor dead, his illusion shattered in fragments around his feet, and physically just defeated, he is a man in crisis.
Which sets up one of my favorite parts of the movie, when Adrian asks him, "We got everything but the truth. What's the truth, dammit?!"
And Rocky says, "I'm afraid."
Such a great moment and so utterly consistent with the Rocky we know from the first film. He's human. That's why we love him. And that's what makes his ultimate triumph, when he's not actually good enough, but he perseveres, that's what makes Rocky an icon. Not being "a piece of iron". :roll:
When you add to this a really memorable villain ("My prediction? Pain."), really great fight scenes, a strong Stallone performance, my favorite performance by Carl Weathers, and legitimate things for all the characters to say and do (quality moments here between Rock and Paulie, Rock and Adrian, Rock and Mickey, Rock and Apollo), and hell, Hulk Hogan just thrown in for free, hey, it ain't a Great Film, but it's a good one.
Meanwhile, the fourth film kinda just tramples on all that. The ONE thing it has going for it is the notion that everything to do with the Cold War and the rivalry between the two countries, and the whole international circus is completely lost on Rock. He's not tuning it out, he doesn't even see it or care at all, he is so single-minded of purpose that all of that just becomes silliness and has nothing to do with his revenge-plot.
Anyway, that's all I have to say... about Rocky.


This is a franchise I have to revisit. I haven't seen the first three in probably a decade or more. But as far as I remember, I agree with your take.

As for Rocky IV, I've always said that it's both the worst and the most awesome film ever, all at the same time. It's jingoistic propaganda, but I will never forget the emotion and adrenaline of an 8-year old me watching this in theaters. It was a unique experience.

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Sun Nov 11, 2018 6:40 am
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Captain Terror wrote:

I just spoiled the hell out of it, sorry.

Yeah, me too, sorry.


Sun Nov 11, 2018 6:59 am
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Rock wrote:

First Blood is a top tier action film. Considering that it's directed by Ted Kotcheff, who also did Wake in Fright, it's no surprise how great its use of its environment is. Dennehy makes a great villain. And I'm with you on Stallone. Rambo might not necessarily be the most sensitive or psychologically realistic portrayal of a Vietnam veteran, but he brings a sincerity and poignancy to his portrayal that makes his character genuinely affecting in the context of this lean, no frills actioner. Those qualities even make his character in the increasingly meatheaded sequels, which I think still deliver ably on the action goods if lacking the greatness of the original.

I'd actually put the fourth as the best sequel, as I find its handling of the character fairly interesting (even though the series is known for the jingoism of the second and third, Rambo's evolving relationship with the state and his role as a tool of ideological violence shifts throughout the movies and the fourth I think defines that element that makes the other sequels stronger in reflection). It also has a climax, that despite some pretty iffy shot choices, becomes thrilling through its relentless editing and sheer brutality.

I too watched the second film soon after the first film and couldn't help be let down in comparison, but it's grown on me over rewatches, particularly due to the almost nonstop action of its second half. Also, I didn't appreciate this as much initially, but after having watched Missing in Action (the ripoff that bizarrely managed to beat it to theatres), I realized that there's a fair bit of craftsmanship present that I'd taken for granted earlier but becomes more obvious when you have a much sloppier point of comparison. (As far as the Missing in Action series goes, however, the second is actually pretty good, with a prison camp setting and escape plot that give it a much higher level tension than the slapdash first and execrable third.)


I read this after posting my thoughts. I should've just quoted you. :fresh: :fresh: :fresh:

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Sun Nov 11, 2018 7:12 am
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Good to see the Rocky III love here. It's more formulaic than the first two, but pulls off that formula really well. It's interesting how it starts off as a flashy, excessive '80s movie but adopts a message of discarding that excess and going back to the basics, almost like an argument against its own decade and the next installment.

Rocky IV I recognize is not a good movie (and I hate what it does to Apollo), but I will watch it anytime it's on TV.

We don't talk about Rocky V, but I liked Balboa enough and Creed was much better than anybody could have expected.

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Sun Nov 11, 2018 1:06 pm
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Rock wrote:
Rocky IV I recognize is not a good movie (and I hate what it does to Apollo)

I'm afraid that I'm also going to hate what they do to Creed II.


Mon Nov 12, 2018 2:46 am
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Jinnistan wrote:
I'm afraid that I'm also going to hate what they do to Creed II.


Nothing about it is a good sign. I have the lowest expectations for this.

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Mon Nov 12, 2018 8:44 am
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Jinnistan wrote:
I'm afraid that I'm also going to hate what they do to Creed II.

Yeah, I saw a trailer today. Oof.


Mon Nov 12, 2018 10:39 am
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I wonder if Mr. T's son read the screenplay first.


Mon Nov 12, 2018 12:44 pm
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Jinnistan wrote:
I wonder if Mr. T's son read the screenplay first.




That's Creed III: Clubber Jr's Revenge

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Mon Nov 12, 2018 1:47 pm
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DP, is Nameless doing OK?

Last I saw he was taking off in a huff.


Mon Nov 12, 2018 1:58 pm
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RAMBO III (1988)
I think I liked this one more than II, is that an unpopular opinion? Don't ask me to explain why, I just cared more this time for whatever reason.
One thing I appreciate, a lot, is the relatively serious tone of this series. Going into this, I was prepared for winking and one-liners so it's a minor miracle that these films never indulged in that. Kudos to all concerned for that. Speaking just of the sequels, I foresee myself re-watching the Rambos more often than the Die Hards or Predators. Looking forward to the '08 Rambo, should be getting to that next week.

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Sat Nov 17, 2018 12:16 am
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Melvin Butterworth wrote:
DP, is Nameless doing OK?

Last I saw he was taking off in a huff.



more like a minute and a huff.


seriously, though - I don't know. I'm a little concerned but we were never that close so we don't really keep in touch. Have you tried PMing him? I don't think I have him on my Facebook but I'll check.

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Sat Nov 17, 2018 1:32 am
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Captain Terror wrote:
RAMBO III (1988)
I think I liked this one more than II, is that an unpopular opinion? Don't ask me to explain why, I just cared more this time for whatever reason.

I'm guessing it's partially a change in expectations, as the shift in tone/quality between the second and third isn't as great as it is between the first and second. But also, as good as that 30-40 stretch of nonstop action in the second is, I find it fizzles out a bit right at the end whereas the third better sticks the landing. Also, as much as I like how sweaty Charles Napier is in the second (as a fat person, I can relate heavily to this, complicating my feelings about his character as an antagonist), between his slimy bureaucrat, the Vietnamese army AND the Russians, the second one is probably juggling a few too many villains. Also, Julia Nickson-Soul is pretty terrible so the third improves at least in that regard. Also the third has more Richard Crenna, who somehow gets more naturalistic in his line delivery as Stallone's hair gets bigger and the movies get more cartoonish.

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Sat Nov 17, 2018 12:31 pm
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Melvin Butterworth wrote:
DP, is Nameless doing OK?

Born in 1990. Wrong thread.

Captain Terror wrote:
I foresee myself re-watching the Rambos more often than the Die Hards or Predators.

Serves you right for your neglegence.


Sun Nov 18, 2018 2:24 am
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Jinnistan wrote:
I wonder if Mr. T's son read the screenplay first.


His father insulted my dad and made him get back into boxing and get killed by Drago's dad and now Tiny T is calling me out Rocky.


Sun Nov 18, 2018 4:55 am
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Death Proof wrote:


more like a minute and a huff.


seriously, though - I don't know. I'm a little concerned but we were never that close so we don't really keep in touch. Have you tried PMing him? I don't think I have him on my Facebook but I'll check.


Thanks. Hopefully he's doing OK.


Sun Nov 18, 2018 5:23 am
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Rock wrote:
I'm guessing it's partially a change in expectations, as the shift in tone/quality between the second and third isn't as great as it is between the first and second.

That's probably part of it, and I'll repeat that II just had a polished look that wasn't gritty enough for the material. I admit, I fell asleep and missed some important parts. I went back and caught up with those parts, but it's not the ideal way to watch the film, obviously. Still, I found Rambo's purpose more compelling in III than the "shoot the nameless Asians" plan of II.

And I forgot to mention the hair. That's a hot 'do. Working as a laborer in the desert, but still manages to look like a member of White Lion. And I guess it's been a while since I've seen a Rocky movie because I'd forgotten how chiseled Sly was. Sweet jeezus, that's one hunk o' man.

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Mon Nov 19, 2018 11:34 am
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Captain Terror wrote:
And I forgot to mention the hair. That's a hot 'do. Working as a laborer in the desert, but still manages to look like a member of White Lion. And I guess it's been a while since I've seen a Rocky movie because I'd forgotten how chiseled Sly was. Sweet jeezus, that's one hunk o' man.

This is exactly what I started this thread to make fun of. I hope you're happy with your steroid-infused shampoo.


Tue Nov 20, 2018 4:07 am
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Jinnistan wrote:
This is exactly what I started this thread to make fun of. I hope you're happy with your steroid-infused shampoo.

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Tue Nov 20, 2018 8:09 am
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Captain Terror wrote:
That's probably part of it, and I'll repeat that II just had a polished look that wasn't gritty enough for the material.

I briefly mentioned it upthread, but have you seen Missing in Action 2? The lower Cannon Films level budget gives it a level of grit not present in Rambo: First Blood Part II (which was shot by Jack Cardiff!), and unlike the first and third Missing in Action movies, it's got a good deal of actual tension.

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Tue Nov 20, 2018 2:06 pm
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Rock wrote:
I briefly mentioned it upthread, but have you seen Missing in Action 2? The lower Cannon Films level budget gives it a level of grit not present in Rambo: First Blood Part II (which was shot by Jack Cardiff!), and unlike the first and third Missing in Action movies, it's got a good deal of actual tension.

I have not- Chuck is another big blind spot for me. (The only Norris film I've seen is Slaughter in SF, of all things. Long story.) Now that my Rambo project is over I'll put MIA in the mix shortly.

Watched the '08 film today, incidentally. About as good/bad as the other sequels, I'd say. The CG blood 'n' guts was somewhat distracting, and watching Rambo mow people down with a 50 caliber gun isn't as fun as watching him use his stealth and survival skills. Still, I liked that at the end JR seemed disgusted by the carnage, as did the heroine/potential love interest. It's not much, but once again it's treated seriously enough to make the film seem like it's at least trying to say something.

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Tue Nov 20, 2018 2:56 pm
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I'm not as well versed in Norris' work, but aside from the second Missing in Action, I'll also vouch for Lone Wolf McQuade, Code of Silence and The Delta Force. Norris isn't as good an actor as Stallone (think Bronson to Eastwood in terms of relative quality ), but he's got a similarly serious demeanour that might work well for you.

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Tue Nov 20, 2018 4:03 pm
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Captain Terror wrote:
I have not- Chuck is another big blind spot for me. (The only Norris film I've seen is Slaughter in SF, of all things. Long story.) Now that my Rambo project is over I'll put MIA in the mix shortly.

Watched the '08 film today, incidentally. About as good/bad as the other sequels, I'd say. The CG blood 'n' guts was somewhat distracting, and watching Rambo mow people down with a 50 caliber gun isn't as fun as watching him use his stealth and survival skills. Still, I liked that at the end JR seemed disgusted by the carnage, as did the heroine/potential love interest. It's not much, but once again it's treated seriously enough to make the film seem like it's at least trying to say something.

My favorite Chuck Norris movie is probably Lone Wolf McQuade, for what it's worth, likely followed by Forced Vengeance. Oh, I also like The Octagon.


Tue Nov 20, 2018 11:37 pm
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Wooley wrote:
My favorite Chuck Norris movie is probably Lone Wolf McQuade, for what it's worth, likely followed by Forced Vengeance. Oh, I also like The Octagon.


If you want some top-level cheese, there's always Invasion USA.

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Wed Nov 21, 2018 12:56 am
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Death Proof wrote:

If you want some top-level cheese, there's always Invasion USA.


Out of ammo? That's too bad.


Wed Nov 21, 2018 2:28 am
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Melvin Butterworth wrote:

Out of ammo? That's too bad.



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Wed Nov 21, 2018 2:34 am
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Best part of Invasion U.S.A. is when Norris is driving down the street and random people run up and yell at him for an entire block.

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Wed Nov 21, 2018 2:26 pm
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I think I saw Invasion USA was available on Hulu, if anyone's interested. I was tempted last night, but I had enough willpower to overcome it.

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Thu Nov 22, 2018 8:55 am
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Rock wrote:
Good to see the Rocky III love here. It's more formulaic than the first two, but pulls off that formula really well. It's interesting how it starts off as a flashy, excessive '80s movie but adopts a message of discarding that excess and going back to the basics, almost like an argument against its own decade and the next installment.

Rocky IV I recognize is not a good movie (and I hate what it does to Apollo), but I will watch it anytime it's on TV.

We don't talk about Rocky V, but I liked Balboa enough and Creed was much better than anybody could have expected.


The ROCKY saga is a gradatio of whiteness culminating in ROCKY IV with a fizzling denouement in which revisits the beginning of he cycle.

ROCKY I - A white man almost defeats a black man.
ROCKY II - A white man beats a black man.
ROCKY III - A white man becomes a little black to beat another black man.
ROCKY IV - Two white men engage in the biggest boxing match in history, thereby ending the cold war after the death of a black man.
ROCKY V - An old white man trains another white man to be the next great white hope.


Thu Nov 22, 2018 1:43 pm
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Melvin Butterworth wrote:

ROCKY I - A white man almost defeats a black man.


It's not almost to all of the people who think Rocky won.


Thu Nov 22, 2018 2:18 pm
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crumbsroom wrote:

It's not almost to all of the people who think Rocky won.

I always assume those people fell asleep in the middle of the first one and woke up in the middle of the second one during a Rocky marathon.

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Thu Nov 22, 2018 2:25 pm
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Rock wrote:
I always assume those people fell asleep in the middle of the first one and woke up in the middle of the second one during a Rocky marathon.

Now imagine if they fell asleep during the first and woke up during the fourth.

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Thu Nov 22, 2018 2:27 pm
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Rock wrote:
Now imagine if they fell asleep during the first and woke up during the fourth.


If you didn't suspect by the end of the first one that Rocky's odyssey would eventually lead him to punch the communism out of Russia, then I don't think you were paying close enough attention.


Thu Nov 22, 2018 2:36 pm
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crumbsroom wrote:

If you didn't suspect by the end of the first one that Rocky's odyssey would eventually lead him to punch the communism out of Russia, then I don't think you were paying close enough attention.


I guess what you're trying to say, is that with enough montages, I can change, and you can change, everybody can change!

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