There’s really only one thing I can say about what I know about this movie. It’s pretty clearly meant to be a “Die Hard on an X” type adventure. There’s a single guy accidentally in the wrong place at the right time thwarting bad guys. Like Under Siege. Like Air Force One. Probably like other movies I’ve blogged and can’t remember.
However, it’s also Sylvester Stallone fighting the bad guys single-handedly, so it’s probably also meant to be like Stallone movies likeFirst Blood, or rather, like the Rambo sequels that dropped the main thematic point of the original.
All of that is to say that I don’t know what this movie is, but I’m pretty sure I know exactly what other movies they wanted me to think of by making it.
I expect this movie to be a lot like RoboCop. A police state dystopia set in the near future that is now both uncomfortably dated and also overly optimistic about technological advances.
I’m not sure if Dredd is a satire or just a warning, but I know the point of him is that the degree of force he and other law enforcement are allowed to use is meant to be far beyond excessive. I don’t know if that carried through into the movie, or into fan understanding of the comic or the movie. Starship Troopers is mostly loved for the hyperviolence it was meant to be satirizing, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the same happened to Dredd.
The problem with Sylvester Stallone’s franchises is that they were really never meant to be franchises. But then I say that having never seen any of the Rocky or Rambo sequels. However, I get the sense that the Rocky movies did better at retaining its emotional center than Rambo.
As I understand this, the original Rambo film is a fairly faithful telling of a story contemplating what happens to Vietnam veterans with difficulty adjusting to civilian life (in this case, get triggered and start shooting people), while the later movies recast the character as a warrior put in contexts that need a warrior for the sake of letting him shoot more people. So I expect this one to be thoughtful on a level somewhat beyond a typical gritty action movie.
Stallone gets typed as an action star, but it’s clear from Rocky that he can portray human vulnerability, and I hope to see that on display here in the pacing scenes.
And now another installment of “how could you never have seen…?”
Yes, I’ve never seen any Rocky movie. Or maybe I’ve seen them all, thanks to spoofs, parodies, homages, reference clips, and a handful of “underdog solo athlete” genre movies that I have seen. But that just proves the cultural relevance of the film and why I should be seeing it. The story of Stallone’s million to one shot of getting this made was more interesting to me than a David and Goliath story about a boxer. There’s probably a documentary or biopic about that out there.
This has a reputation of being a terrible misstep in Sylvester Stallone’s career. For a career built on major action spectaculars, maybe so. As a movie, we’ll see. I think Stallone could be good in the role, I think the premise is good, but maybe it doesn’t add up to a good whole. Maybe Stallone phones it in. Maybe he has no chemistry with his costar. But I’m optimistic right now.
I get the sense that the 90s were a rough time for sci-fi movies, especially the early 90s. However, I can’t back that up with anything, and all the examples I can come up with are good.
I was never very interested in this movie as a killer vs. killer in the future action flick, but I’ve recently learned that it makes culture shock jokes about how society has changed, which is an interest of mine. I like to think about how the future will get us wrong, and otherwise how foreign it would probably be.
As an action sci-fi this never stood out. As a sci fi action comedy, Demolition Man might actually be a fun experience. Continue reading →