Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around

Sylvester Stallone

Review: Creed

Nov 29 // Nick Valdez
[embed]220168:42717:0[/embed] CreedDirector: Ryan CooglerRated: PG-13Release Date: November 25th, 2015 Rocky started out as a humble film where the titular character was in search of his prime. Themes of resurrection, Jesus imagery, and bouts between mythical legends blew the series into the huge proportions its known by today. But just like how the sixth film, Rocky Balboa, saw to end the series, Creed chooses to bring it back down to Earth. Adonis (Michael B. Jordan) is Apollo's illegitimate son and after years of self-taught boxing and fighting underground in Mexico, he's ready to take on the sport full time in order to break out of the shadow of his famous father. After heading to Philadelphia, he convinces his father's old rival and friend, Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone), to train him through some of the biggest fights of his life.  Creed manages to accomplish something I've never seen before. It's only something a series seven films in can do, really. Although it can technically be the start of a whole new set of films, it feels like an appropriate epilogue to Balboa's saga. Stallone may not have written this film, but lots of the film's lines and themes fit right in with the other six films. Everything from the little story touches (Balboa knows every person in town, and people still call him "Champ"), to Balboa's dialogue sounding exactly like how he should (he's a big dumb lug, but he's got heart), and to little homages folks can miss completely. It's a film informed by history so fans of the series will absolutely love all the shout outs, but newer viewers won't feel lost without that knowledge. The homage is all in the background (other than two scenes, and only one of those is a major setpiece); stuff you'd pick up if you're paying attention. Like its major theme of trying to break out and create its own legacy, Creed isn't weighed down by the past but is made that much better for acknowledging it a little.  Creed is also a technical marvel. It's running time (two hours and 14 minutes) gave me pause at first because while the Rocky saga was always great, it tended to run long. And while Creed does indeed have some scenes that could be skimmed down, it's edited kind of perfectly. The story has the time it needs to breathe, and it allows the audience to get used to this new perspective of this old world. We have enough story bits to move the film forward, but there's still plenty time to develop the characters. The story isn't perfect as there are a few threads that get lost with an entire secondary group of characters that get shoved aside for an odd feeling title match we're not really invested in (so Wood Harris is ultimately wasted as a result but I don't want to talk about it too much because it'll spoil the film), Phylicia Rashad isn't really needed, the love interest seems tacked on (but Tessa Thompson is great), and unfortunately we don't get to the root of why Adonis wants to be a boxer other than the fact that his father once was. But it's hard to mind because everything works so well. Especially watching the fights unfold. The film strives for a realistic take on boxing. Unlike the grandiose nature the sport takes in the later films of the Rocky saga, director Ryan Coogler brings the sport back down to its gritty appeal. Fights are visceral, we're reminded on a few occasions of the damage boxing can do as Apollo's death in the ring comes up a few times (and feels real each time), and watching Stallone as a older, weaker Balboa who's been ravaged by the sport is very compelling. And the matches themselves are some of the most engrossing fights I've ever seen in boxing films. One of the weaker aspects of the Rocky saga has always been the boxing matches themselves. That's why there was always care to develop the personalities of the fighters themselves because we're more likely to get invested in an admittedly goofy fight regardless. But in Creed it's the other way around. While there's some attention to fighter detail, it's more about what happens in the ring. And it's definitely something I'd like to see more of should there be more films (of which I'd gladly see). It's a cool way to modernize the typically old fashioned saga for sure. Adonis' first official match is a huge stand out, and I want to talk about how marvelous it is here but I want you to experience it for yourself. It's quite a sight.  Now for the part I've wanted to talk about the most. As mentioned before, Sylvester Stallone may not have written the film this time around, but it definitely feels like it. As the new school props up the legends of old, every scene with Stallone is absolutely enthralling. Stallone wears Balboa's iconic image like a glove, and it's like the saga never ended. It's kind of amazing how he nails each bit of dialogue, humor, and physicality. His arc in the film is fantastic, and it's quite emotional given our history with the character. If you've watched any of the films in the past, expect to cry a little. It's a staunch reminder of the kind of actor Stallone can be in case you've forgotten after watching him in films like The Expendables. Creed subdues his image a bit, but as much as the film tries, it doesn't dim Balboa completely. Michael B. Jordan turns in quite a performance here, adding the necessary believable edge and charisma, but he's pretty much outclassed by Stallone in their scenes together. It's to be expected since Stallone has many years of the role under his belt, but it doesn't even matter too much since this is a bridge film that serves to pass the torch along. So even this slight negative feels like another positive.  My only major concern is whether or not someone unfamiliar with the Rocky series will be able to enjoy Creed to its full potential. Since I'm far removed from that position, I can only offer a few key points: Creed is an entertaining boxing film in its own right, so you're likely to get invested without knowing the history, there are a few iconic Rocky images that float around in the pop culture space and they're paid homage to here so you'll at least recognize those, and it's just a fantastic film all around. Creed isn't a perfect film, but it's as close to perfect as you can get.  Folks, let me let you in on some behind the scenes stuff for a bit. The first thing I've ever written for this site was, in fact, a post about Rocky's training montage.  I started writing community posts here and there before being brought on to the staff full time, eventually working my way up to the guy who gets to review stuff every now and then. So three years later, it's surreal to take on Creed for my 100th review. Creed hit me hard, folks. I've been writing, re-writing, and completely erased a draft to write it all over again just to get it right. It's a film I liked so much that it was hard to put in words. It's the best film I've seen all year, and there's a good chance nothing will top it for some time. Whether there are more or whether this is the last Rocky universe thing I'll ever see, I'm perfectly happy.  Hollywood, if you want to reboot everything, give every old property sequels, spin-off into cinematic universes, take note of Ryan Googler's Creed. This is how you do it. 
Creed Review photo
Gonna fly now, gonna fly forever
Twenty years ago, my father had a bout with lymphoma. In the following years of recovery, I searched for any means to get closer to him. One of the first things we did together was watch a bunch of his favorite films. Godzill...

New Creed trailer photo
New Creed trailer

New trailer for Creed fleshes out the drama between Adonis and Rocky

You gotta know your chicken
Sep 17
// Hubert Vigilla
The first trailer for Creed showed a whole lot of promise. Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) has become a new Mickey and Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan) is a hungry newcomer to the ring. This second trailer for Creed reveals...
Creed Trailer photo
Gonna fly now, gonna fly forever
Everyone's got that one film franchise that means more to them than anything. Some have Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings, Jurassic Park, and there's probably a few folks that really want more of Pixar's Cars. But me, I've got...

Hulkamania photo

Hulk Hogan says he's playing the villain in Expendables 4

Rocky vs. Hulk: the rematch no one wants
May 27
// Matthew Razak
Think The Expendables is going to run out of aging, muscle-bound actors? Think again. Hulk Hogan is claiming that he'll be playing the villain for the fourth film in the implausibly continuing series. Of course, as with ...


First official photo from Rocky spin-off Creed

Eye of the (old) tiger
Apr 13
// Matthew Razak
We're mostly just posting this to remind you that, yes, another Rocky film is coming and it's called Creed. Remember? Probably not since it's hard to get excited outside of the fact that Michael B .Jordan is starring in it as Apollo Creed's son. Here we have what must be an image of him visiting a retirement home and teaching the elderly how to box.  Creed releases on November 25. 
Creed photo

Rocky spin-off Creed gets a sad synopsis

I'm not ready for this to be over again :(
Feb 26
// Nick Valdez
It took me years, YEARS, to get over Rocky Balboa. When the three decade long Rocky saga finally came to end, it was a good end but I still wanted much more. The Rocky films mean so much to me (so much that I wrote my undergr...

Stallone working on Rambo 5 next after Creed

Titled Last Blood: Rambo, which is a dubious claim
Dec 30
// Matthew Razak
While Sylvester Stallone is currently on his way to the city of brotherly love to film Creed, the Rocky spin-off in which Rocky trains Apollo Creed's son to box (just stand there and get punched a lot) he's revealing tha...

Review: The Expendables 3

Aug 14 // Nick Valdez
[embed]218182:41744:0[/embed] The Expendables 3Director: Patrick HughesRated: PG-13Release Date: August 15, 2014 During a routine mission into some nondescript country, Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) and his Expendables run into Stonebanks (Mel Gibson), a cofounder of The Expendables who has gone rogue and now runs a small militia in "Azmenistan." After the mission ends in failure, Ross disbands the group and hires a batch of younger mercenaries (including Kellan Lutz and Ronda Rousey) for a revenge mission. After some shenanigans, it's up to Ross and the older crew to save the younger crew and stop Stonebanks once and for all.  The Expendables 3 has the most promise in the franchise at the outset. Banking on the back story once considered to be stifling, the film probably would've had more effect had the seeds been planted sooner. The Expendables' concept is inherently great as it allows the films to replace, recast, and add actors whenever it chooses (by focusing the story on a team of ever changing members) so the fact there's a member we've never heard of makes sense, but it's executed in such a haphazard fashion as they just kind of stumble on him. That seems to be the major current running through the film. It's full of decisions that seem like a good idea in theory, but are marred by awful follow through.  For example at one point, The Expendables 3 is quite awesome. It presents this "old blood vs. new blood" theme that works as both a nostalgic fix (as that's one of the major staples of 80s action) and fun plot, but it's abandoned about fifteen minutes after it's picked up. Instead this awesome idea bloats the screen time of the already pushing its luck film beyond understandable limits. The "new" crew full of relative nobodies (sorry, Rousey) is a complete waste of time as there's an incredibly long montage (featuring Kelsey Grammer for some reason) that introduces that crew as if we'd care about them, then pushes them to the side for the majority of the film when shenaningans lead to their capture. The only newbies who get attention, Rousey and Kellan Lutz, only serve to befuddle the audience. Rousey's character is a blatant attempt to make up for the lack of strong women in the series, but is shown fighting in heels and is the only one who gets direct abuse from her captor. And someone in Hollywood is still trying to make Kellan Lutz a thing. It's even worse when he starts riding a dirt bike through tanks and you realize he's been wearing biking gear this whole time. It's sort of an unintentionally funny moment that almost cycles around to being entertaining. It's funny how the most nostalgic thing about this film happens when it's trying to distance itself from it. And it plain sucks that the newbies get so much attention when the new additions to the older crew are brilliant.  Wesley Snipes, Mel Gibson, and Antonio Banderas? Fantastic. Wesley Snipes has the same swagger that's really been lacking in actin films lately. With a suave darkness, his scenes are very enjoyable even if they're criminally in short supply. Gibson has a great turn as a villain, and while he's not as cheesily great as he was in Machete Kills, he really colors the film when on. And Banderas gets a lovely turn as the comic relief, but only gets to use his Desperado flair once. While his jokes actually land, it's sort of a toss up as I selfishly wanted him to be more of a badass. Speaking of comic relief, the comedy actually kind of maybe works here and there. When it's intelligible through the majority of the cast's thick accents, a lot of the jokes work. Sure, some are forced, but I'll take what little works.  You may have noticed that I've really only talked about the cast and general plot for this review and are wondering why I've seemingly skipped over everything else. Well, the rest of the film is really, really bad. So bad in fact, I just want to focus on the few bright spots. The film borders on boring at times, the needless back story building is still here, and while the practical effects are okay, the CG is just far too funky for a film with a budget like this. You just have to assume the bulk of the film's money was used paying actors and the rest of the film had to be shot in some styrofoam building somewhere. And for those wondering about the film's PG-13 rating, don't worry the violence is still here and is in fact helped by the lack of the terrible looking CG blood from the first R film.  If you're wondering whether you'll like The Expendables 3, let me tell you a bit more about myself. I love Sylvester Stallone's filmography so much, I once wrote a 15 page thesis on Rocky's montages. I grew up with these types of films, and while I got a few knowing chuckles out of hearing Schwarzenegger playfully yell "Get to the choppa!" I don't think it's worth sitting through the rest of this. If I could gauge how tired everyone seems to be (and Harrison Ford? Yeesh.), I'm sure you can too. There's no hiding it anymore. Everyone involved needs to stop lying to themselves. Stallone can't do this again.  Matthew Razak: The Expendables 3 is easily the best film in the series. Now you might be of the opinion that that isn't saying much, but for me the films have always been a solid throwback to action films of yesterday. Solid, but not great. They always seemed a little flat, with the first film suffering from only one truly big action sequence and the second a bit over stuffed. This one, however, is all action and almost entirely fun. Easily the best scripted with some fun humor and awesome throwback one-liners it all builds (as much as a mostly plotless movie can) to a fantastic, all out action sequence that smartly weaves everyone's skill into one violent explosion of action. It took three films, but Stallone finally nailed it. 78 - Good
The Expendables 3 photo
One last, tired, soggy ride
The Expendables could've been a good series had it been advertised differently. First touted as a return to form for aging 80s action stars as they wax nostalgic about their glory days, The Expendables turned out to be a grey...

Expendables 3 Trailer photo
Expendables 3 Trailer

Final trailer for The Expendables 3

Aug 04
// Nick Valdez
Due to some unfortunate events, a digital copy of The Expendables 3 was leaked onto the Internet and was pirated more than 2 million times. Now Lionsgate is trying to sue the individuals responsible claiming that the piracy ...

See The Expendables 3 early and free

Washington DC screening
Aug 04
// Matthew Razak
I'm not sure any of us really thought The Expendables was anything, but a one hit wonder, but thanks to Stallones ability to crank these babies out and continuously put more over-the-hill action stars into his films its ...
The Expendables 3 photo
The Expendables 3

Character posters for The Expendables 3 get colorful

Jul 22
// Nick Valdez
While the trailers for The Expendables 3 refuse to drop the Fast & Furious-style title font, at least it's trying something different with the rest of its marketing. In a lighthearted move to remind us the film will be ra...

Rumor: Rambo V is something that maybe possibly might still happen

This times he's going south
Jun 24
// Matthew Razak
If the subtitle for the story isn't the tagline for this film, which is only a rumor and evidently only a screenplay at this time, then I'm out. See Sylvester Stallone is reportedly pitching a fifth Rambo movie, though there'...

New trailer for The Expendables 3 gets the blood pumping

Jun 17
// Matthew Razak
Been wondering if The Expendables 3 would have explosions and fight scenes and action? That's a dumb thing to wonder since it's The Expendables, but this trailer fully confirms that those things exist along wi...

Expendables 3 shoots up a PG-13 rating

Now with less gratuitous violence!
May 22
// Jonathan Wray
I guess it was inevitable. The latest version in the Expendables franchise, due for release in mid-August, will be PG-13. This move makes Expendables 3 go from that movie that annoying kids snuck into to that movie that the a...
Expendables 3 Trailer photo
That's the Furious 6 font, right?
The folks over at Yahoo Movies have released the first teaser for The Expendables 3, showing a couple action beats and the film's pretty sizable cast. I didn't much care for The Expendables One, with its dark color palette a...


Expendables 3 rolls out a whole ton of posters

Because it has a whole ton of actors in it
Apr 02
// Matthew Razak
The cast for the Expendables films just keeps getting larger and larger, and in this very rare instance that is a completely awesome thing. You can tell it's completely awesome because despite the absurd amount of charac...

Review: Grudge Match

Dec 24 // Matthew Razak
Grudge MatchDirector:  Peter SegalRated: PG-13Release Date: December 25, 2013  It's easy to see Stallone in this movie as the guy is still built like a brick wall and dumping out action films with his shirt off left and right. DeNiro on the other hand is a harder sell. He looks old, and while it turns out he's in pretty good shape the film's premise seems like a stretch. Stallone and DeNiro respectively play Henry 'Razor' Sharp and Billy 'The Kid' McDonnen, two aging boxers who were once rivals back in their heyday. The two fought each other twice, each winning once, but when the third fight was about to happen Razor dropped out. Flash forward and through a series of improbable events and the wonders of viral video a grudge match is set up between the two boxers by broke promoter Dante Slate, Jr. (Kevin Hart). If the film had solely relied on old people jokes and training montages we'd be having a far different discussion, but instead, knowing its two stars aren't actually boxing material owns up to its ridiculousness and focuses on the comedy and relationships. Does it do this especially cleverly? Not in the least, but it does it far better than a movie about two 60 plus men punching each other in the face deserves to be done. 'The Kid' has a plot line focusing on kindling a relationship with his son (Jon Bernthal) while 'Razor' works on a broken relationship with Sally (Kim Basinger). Alan Arkin, as Razor's trainer, adds some comic relief and emotional punch as well. It's the film's focus on these relationships instead of the boxing that make it better than it should be. There's barely a training montage to be had, and by the time the actual boxing match rolls around the movie has smartly parlayed the focus from the fight to the people, bluntly hitting the viewer over the head with its cliche sports movie message of sportsmanship and family. Nothing is very subtle here, but it never hits that point where the film loses the audience. It helps that its liberally peppered with enough humor to keep you moving when the lackluster screenplay doesn't keep you interested.  It's also pretty smart of the filmmakers to mostly ignore the boxing since the boxing itself is pretty damn awful. Stallone and DeNiro's previous in ring appearances weren't exactly known for their realism, but this concluding fight is a joke. As if it wasn't obvious enough that Stallone was about 100 times heavier than DeNiro, the fight is so cut up its hardly coherent. That's probably the fault of the two boxers, who aren't exactly able to jump around like they could in their youth. Still, its just enough to hit that spot where all decent sports movies hit so when the triumphant ending comes you're suckered into it even though you've seen it a million times before. DeNiro and Stallone seem to be in the same boat. The two riff well enough here and there, but it's all so obvious at what they're trying to do. At some points they're spot on and at others they aren't, but they both pull out just enough to get you going. It's really the comic relief of Arkin and Hart that keep their characters alive. The film -- to use another old person metaphor -- is kept off life support thanks to the fact that the actors pump just enough life into it to get you going with the characters. It's obvious everyone is having a bit of fun even if they aren't fully committed to it.  Grudge Match is definitely not your best option in theaters this holiday. Far, far, far, far... far... really, really, really far from it. That being said, and despite the fact that it is cliche and obvious, the movie delivers some heart. I'm not sure where they found one that was still beating with actors this age, but it's there. 
Grudge Match Review photo
Old dog. Same tricks.
Grudge Match is a movie based entirely around getting two old actors (Sylvester Stallone and Robert DeNiro) from two of the greatest boxing movies ever made (Rocky and Raging Bull) back into the ring to punch each o...

Expendables 3 Teaser photo
Extremely brief but great.
We've been completely in the dark with The Expendables 3. We've heard about all of that ugly stuff behind the scenes about Bruce Willis, the numerous additions to the cast, but no one really knows what's going on. There...


See Grudge Match early and free

Washington DC and Baltimore screening
Dec 16
// Matthew Razak
Old people boxing? No it's not another Rocky movie, though Stallone is in this as well. It's Grudge Match, which sees not only Stallone returning to the ring, but Robert DeNiro as well. There's going to be a lot of wrinkles. ...
Homefront Trailer photo
Homefront Trailer

Red Band trailer for Homefront is so America

Oct 21
// Nick Valdez
Homefront is a film, written by Sylvester Stallone, starring Jason Statham as an ex-DEA agent who has to eventually confront the druglord Gator, played by James Franco. How has this film not been hyped more? If you're lookin...

New clip from Escape Plan has some bad one-liners

Sep 20
// Matthew Razak
"You hit like a vegetarian." It's going to be a bumpy ride sitting through Escape Plan if that's the best the movies got. In this first clip from the film we see Stallone and Arnie get in a fist fight in order to help t...
Homefront Trailer photo
Homefront Trailer

First trailer for Homefront, written by...Sly Stallone?

A film so American, only a British guy could be the hero.
Sep 13
// Nick Valdez
This first trailer for Homefront, adapted from a Chuck Logan novel with a screenplay written by Sylvester Stallone, is everything great about movies. It's about an ex-DEA agent, played by Jason Statham, who travels to a back...
Grudge Match Trailer photo
Grudge Match Trailer

First trailer for Grudge Match settles all bar bets

Who'd win in a fight between Rocky Balboa and Jake LaMotta?
Sep 13
// Nick Valdez
Let's say you're drunk and your drunk nerd friend goes, "Hey, who'd win in a fight between Rocky from the Rocky movies and Jake La Motta from Raging Bull?" Assuming any of that comes out coherently, the two of you get into a...
Rambo TV program photo
Rambo TV program

Rambo TV show in development, possibly starring Stallone

"They drew first blood, not TV."
Aug 21
// Nick Valdez
You know how that upcoming Rambo: The Video Game seemingly came out of nowhere? I think we finally know what it's attached to. Stallone has been trying to get another Rambo film off the ground for some time now (it would've i...

Maybe Stallone was on to something

Looks like Bruce IS a little on the greedy side after all
Aug 08
// Jim Schweitzer
Yesterday, we let you know that Bruce Willis had effectively been chucked from the upcoming Expendables 3. Also, that the spiritual heart / driving force of the franchise (i.e., Stallone), had Tweeted a foot into his ass on t...

Things are getting ugly in "Expendables" land

No love lost between Sly and Bruno
Aug 07
// Jim Schweitzer
USA Today is reporting that the soured relationships surrounding the upcoming Expendables 3 have taken an even nastier turn. The film's writer and star Sylvester Stallone tweeted yesterday that former co-star Bruce Willis was...
More Rocky movies photo
More Rocky movies

Michael B. Jordan to star in Rocky spin-off, Creed

Jul 24
// Nick Valdez
First of all, I'd like to go on record as saying the Rocky saga is favorite franchise of all time. More than Godzilla and The Simpsons combined. So when someone says they're making more of them (you guys weren't aro...

Mel Gibson confirmed as Expendable 3 villian

Jul 17
// Matthew Razak
The Expendables series is something that keeps seeming to work on premise alone. We're all excited to see these action stars get together and do action, and while the movies don't turn out terrible I'm always a bit disap...

Trailer: Escape Plan

Jun 27
// Liz Rugg
Escape Plan stars two big-name action heroes; Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger, as muscle-bound convicts who team up to escape from an inescapable prison. Stallone plays Ray Breslin, a man who specializes in buil...

Poster: Escape Plan starring Stallone, Schwarzenegger

Jun 07
// Liz Rugg
This new poster for upcoming action thriller Escape Plan is actually kinda cool! Escape Plan stars Sylvester Stallone as a masterful architectural engineer who specializes in structural security systems; i.e. he builds maximu...

Auto-loading more stories ... un momento, corazĂłn ...