No man can watch a Sylvester Stallone film and come away unchanged. For three decades, Sly combined adrenaline, bafflingly illogical plots and a complete lack of normal human emotion to somehow create something greater than the sum of its parts. Something ... magical.
Below are what we consider the seven "Stalloneyest" moments in film history. WARNING: reading the following might cause you to grab the very next person you see and throw them through a plate glass window.
Before the awful remake of Death Race, there was the pants-shittingly great, Death Race 2000. In the film, Sly plays Machine Gun Joe Viterbo, one of the various antagonists. In a movie based around a vehicular homicide game show, you'd be hard-pressed to find a true protagonist. As his name suggests, Joe has a passion for using depression-era machine guns.
This guy hosted the game show...
There are so many to choose from. When Joe arrives at the race, he stands in his driver seat bringing out twin tommy guns. Using a move that would later be emulated in the Pacino classic, Scarface, Viterbo addresses the crowd with, "You want Frankenstein? Hokay." He then opens fire on the crowd, which responds with resounding boos and hisses.
Hell of an entrance.
Surely this must be the Stalloneyest moment. And to you, we say nay. This is a movie that sees Stallone uttering zingers like, "You know Myra, some people might think you're cute. But me, I think you're one very large baked potato." And the unforgettable scene where, while strangling a woman, he utters this cryptic message, "How does it feel to know you're gonna spend the rest of your life in pain?" He then feels that he must clarify his intentions even further, "The rest of your life is about a minute and a half." But none of it holds a candle to the scene two minutes into this YouTube clip:
Stallone becomes inexplicably enraged when an angler tells him that he is his biggest fan. There are many surreal aspects to the scene: the goofy music that makes it seem like you're watching a vehicular homicide take place on the Benny Hill show, to the fact that Sly's victim manages to hang on to his fish until the gory end.
"These should come in handy later."
But Stallone's performance steals the show. The hurried, almost violent way he promises to murder the man and slams on his helmet suggests that there is no acting taking place: Stallone literally can't wait for his character to kill this man.
"I'm not totally sure why I have a boner right now."
Imagine, if you will, flying to Seattle for your brother's funeral and upon attending the funeral, you discover that your brother's death was no accident, but he was targeted and murdered by a Seattle-based mob. Harsh bud, right?
Like this, but with the Space Needle and flannel shirts.
But while this may sound far-fetched, it happened big time to Jack Carter (Stallone). And if there is one thing that Get Carter can teach us, it's that you just don't fuck with Jack Carter. Most normal people would take some time to mourn and allow law enforcement to track down the responsible parties. Most normal people aren't portrayed by Sylvester Stallone. Equipped with finely groomed facial hair and a complete lack of common sense, Carter hits the mean streets of Seattle. With all due respect to Shaft, Jack Carter is the man who would risk his life for his (dead) brother-man.
Only he's not asking if "You dig?"
Carter is bent on finding the truth by using the traditional action movie method of kill first and don't ask any questions at all. The movie rolls along like a semi sent straight from hell, bent on demonstrating that two wrongs don't make a right ... unless one of those wrongs is brutally murdering dozens of mobsters. In a film described by Roger Ebert as, "chock full o' corpses," narrowing down just one moment that encapsulates all that is Stallone is a heavy burden. But, like Jack Carter, we will let nothing stand in our way.
In a cruel joke, the Stalloneyest scene has been split in twain. Both clips stand on their own, but when viewed together, something magic happens. In the beginning of the scene Stallone wanders into, what appears to be, a very nice establishment.
By his gait, one would assume that he is literally drunk off bloodlust. He gets on the elevator, where he is confronted by Dr. Cox from Scrubs some other soon-to-be dead guy and an innocent old lady. While Cox rattles on about something, Stallone fantasizes about possible confrontations.
Just look at that asshole.
The real question is why, in his hypothetical imaginings, Carter ends up dying? Thankfully, the old woman's Stalloney sense begins tingling and she wisely exits the elevator at which point Carter springs his plan into action. His plan includes stabbing part of his hand into the sidekick's trachea, before clubbing the flamboyantly dressed Cox into submission ... with his fists. Stallone then exits the building looking relaxed as a man leaving a massage parlor ...
... and walks right into an ambush, making it clear that the mob knew that two men in an elevator would not be enough to slow down Jack Carter (and begging the question why they sent Dr. Cox in there in the first place). Stallone leads the bad guys in a roughly four-minute car chase during which his face communicates "nice Sunday drive" rather than "Holy shit-balls. They're trying to kill me!"
For Stallone, the Seattle mob is a laughable diversion, like those orange cones they set up on driving tests. But lest you think the man is incapable of registering emotions ...
Our next Stalloneyest moment comes courtesy of an underrated classic. Nighthawks tells the story of police cop partners Deke DeSilva (Stallone) and Matthew Fox (portrayed brilliantly by Billy Dee "Colt 45" Williams) and their attempts to foil a terrorist plot. Plus Stallone is rocking a beard that would appear to be (ahem) inspired by Serpico.
You'll never see 'em in the same room together. Just sayin'.
Besides the orgasm-inducing casting choices, Nighthawks was directed by none other than Bruce Malmouth. Malmouth is the visionary behind Steven Seagal's Hard to Kill and the Dolph Lundgren vehicle, Pentathlon. If those credits don't ring any bells, maybe you'll recognize him by his breakout role as "Ring Announcer" in the Karate Kid. Yes, that Bruce Malmouth.
With Billy Dee coming off of his most famous role as Lando Calrissian, Stallone really had to work to keep the focus on himself while still maintaining his trademark apathetic blood lust. But Sly doesn't disappoint, bringing a new level of mediocrity to the 12 minute chase scene. The first half is fairly tame, but the second half is where Stallone really delivers.
We find Lando and Stallone, sporting prescription aviators while chasing a perp through the city's seedy underground. Wait a second. That perp looks like ... Rutger Hauer?! Best. Cast. Ever! The "Hauerglass" then leads Rambo and Lando on an epic chase filled with stormtrooper-esque gunfire and hostage-taking. It's shaping up to be a fairly tame chase scene as far as action movies go when suddenly, at 4:50, the action turns tragic.
When Billy Dee is slashed by a cleverly hidden Hauer, Stallone comes onto the scene and panics. As Lando apparently bleeds out, Stallone administers first aid by applying pressure to the wound and then violently shaking Lando's head like a Yoo-Hoo. Ignoring his partner's last request to "Get him," Sly opts instead to scream obscenities in Hauer's general direction. While any other actor may have played the part with emotional subtlety, Stallone proves his worth by replacing emotion with volume.
And ridiculous MC Hammer glasses.
The 1986 classic, Cobra is the quintessential renegade cop movie. This movie has it all. A terrorist organization? Check. A strictly by-the-book police captain? Check. A submachine gun with laser sight? Check fucking plus. This movie is brimming with so much testosterone-fueled badassery, that your balls will twitch at the sight of the movie poster.
His pants fit fine, but you tell us a better way to carry your grenades.
Stallone's performance as Marion Cobretti is filled with blind overconfidence in himself. Some have speculated that this zeal is just to compensate for the character's sexual ambiguity. At one point in the film, Ingrid (the female lead) asks Stallone, "Do you ever get involved?" To which Sly responds with considerable bewilderment, "With a woman?"
To be fair, this is Ingrid ...
Despite being reprimanded countless times by his superiors, Cobretti just gets more and more violent and reckless as the movie goes on. One of the finer aspects of the Cobretti character is his ability to deliver too-good-to-be-spontaneous zingers in highly inappropriate situations. This obviously rehearsed skill comes in handy on numerous occasions as Marion Cobretti wipes out members of the "New World" while making his way through a plot with so many twists that it could easily be a blood and bullet-filled crazy straw.
Without question, the supermarket hostage scene has to be the Stalloneyest moment in Cobra. Sly walks right into an extremely volatile situation, complete with bomb-wielding madman. In his efforts to diffuse the situation, he dodges shotgun fire, walks down the foggiest freezer aisle in movie history, takes a swig of (room temperature) Coors and taunts the homicidal terrorist over the intercom system.
"This seems like an appropriate thing to do right now."
Stallone's mood seems to oscillate between cool customer and heavily sedated. Eventually coming face to face with the criminal, Stallone puts his gun away, apparently deciding it's not a manly enough way to kill someone, and takes out his pocket knife. After some negotiations ("negotiations" in this case meaning "backhanded insults"), Stallone throws the knife and buries it in the criminal's chest. For good measure he empties the clip on the incapacitated man, then strikes a pose in a conveniently backlit doorway. During the course of the entire scene, Stallone only removes the toothpick from his mouth once, to take a swig of some warm Coors.