Saturday, July 18, 2009

Stallone vs. Schwarzenegger

This biased essay was written by Travis Hurst, aka Tattered Curtains.
Who is the greatest (white) action hero of all time? Sly or Arnie? I am laying down my argument for Stallone in a point by point. To the argument!

The garbage: Both actors have certainly made some regrettable career choices. But while Stallone is largely responsible for only ridiculous cop movies and other such action garbage, Schwarzenegger has given us such unclassifiable pics as Junior. C'mon, how do you not punish Arnold for his indulgencies.

Ridiculous Sly Flicks: Basically everything he has released since 2000 has been garbage, I haven't seen Rocky Balboa, but I'll accept the Irvine Bros. contention that its terrible. However, Stallone does appear--in my estimation at least-- to be about to redeem himself with John Rambo. Stallone did some pretty unforgivable garbage in the 90s, most notably Stop! or my mom will shoot, Cliff Hanger, and Judge Dredd, but for every horrible movie Stallone produced something that was at the least watchable, Cop Land, vastly under rated in my opinion, Demolition Man, while dated now when we actually live in the future, was good when it came out, and Assassins and The Specialist were both at least worth watching on Showtime. The late 80s were the worst for Stallone, Tango and Cash, Lockup, Over the Top, and Cobra, are all irredeemable pieces of garbage, with the possible exception of Over the Top, because it is pretty sweet to crack wise on that movie. Who the fuck makes a movie about arm wrestling?

Ridiculous Arnie pics: Kindergarten Cop? Are you kidding me? The 6th day, Eraser, Batman and Robin, and Jingle All The Way? C'mon Arnold. Junior? Last Action Hero? I mean, Sly put out some crappy movies, he even went so far as to let his sidekick be the main characters mother. But at least he never got knocked up. At least he stayed true to form and put out crappy action flicks. Arnold starred opposite Sinbad! Arnold starred in just as much crap as Stallone, and Schwarzeneggers turds stink much worse.
Analysis: Point Stallone

Now onto the real nuts and bolts of the case, each actors best. Arnold's best movies are certainly more diverse than Stallones, but any criticism of Stallone on this part is misguided. Why should we punish Stallone for giving us not one, but two franchises? That being said I forgot just how many great movies Arnold made, Total Recall completely slipped my mind, and the results may be much closer than I had originally anticipated.

Arnold's Best: Commando, one of the greatest kill fests of all time. Also features Arnies Best one liners: "Let off some steam Bennet!" "Don't Bother my friend, he's dead tired." Great movie, action packed, one of my all time favorites for sure. Total Recall, amazing movie, one of the most violent flicks of all time. Predator, one of the greatest supporting casts of all time. Dope alien. Predator was the shit, undoubtedly. However, did Arnold really bring that much to the table there? What would Predator have been without The Body--"Y'all a bunch slack-jawed faggots, this shit here will make you a god damn sexual Tyrannosaurus...Just like me"--also, Arnold's guerilla tactics come up wanting when compared with Stallones in the Rambo trilogy. The Conan movies are both pretty tight for their era, and of course we have the Terminator series, more to come on that front later.
Stallone's Best: Although Stallone did release a few pretty good flicks in the 90s, he's essentially fighting back at Arnold with nothing but Rocky and Rambo, but what more do you need? He wrote and starred in Rocky which won 3 oscars including best picture, and introduced the single greatest underdog story of our time. Who doesn't empathize with Rocky? The end of that movie chokes me up every time. Try watching Rocky I and II back to back and not crying when Rocky beats Apollo. Its the most triumphant scene in movie history, I'm getting choked up just thinking about it. I mean, the guy goes 30 fucking rounds with the greatest fighter of all time and finally takes the monster down. Who is more menacing than Carl Weathers in those movies? Who? I'd rather box Darth Vader. Add to that Rocky III which introduced the world to Mr. T, thus paving the way for the A-Team, and Rocky IV, and Stallone defied the odds and made 4 bad ass Rocky movies. Who else could have pulled that off? Add to that Rocky V, which is way over-maligned, and Rocky Balboa which I haven't yet scene and hear mixed reviews about and Stallone is easily holding his own.
Analysis: Edge Schwarzenegger this round, despite how awesome the Rocky series is, Arnold was actually probably in more quality flicks.
Score after 2 rounds: Stallone 1, Schwarzenegger 1

Final Round: The First Blood Trilogy vs. The Terminator Trilogy
The Terminator is undoubtedly a classic, and Arnold is completely terrifying as the Terminator. But, the movie really isn't even about Arnold, and his acting ability isn't exactly being tested here. However, that being said, the Terminator is awesome. Both spawned a quality follow up, and a ridiculous third movie. T2 might just be better than the original, and certainly goes down in the sequel hall of fame. I'm hard pressed to think of one better at the moment. T3, while ridiculous, was at least kind of entertaining for the first viewing, and Arnold was running for governor at the time so its hard to blame him for it sucking.
Then we have First Blood, a poignant tale about a vietnam veteran, drifting across the US, that is surprisingly relevant in the current political climate. Great characters, great archetypes, sweetest forest survivalist combat of all time, which is probably the sweetest type of combat. If there ever was a sequel as dope as T2, it was Rambo. The ultimate kill fest movie. The body count is beyond impossible to maintain? How many does he butcher in that helicopter? How many men does he burn alive in that field? The world may never know.(Note: the one time Wadeking and I attempted to keep a body count we gave up around 150) I bet Murdock shit his pants every night before bed for the rest of his life. Piss off John Fucking Rambo? No way. Rambo III, while not nearly as good the first two, is much better than T3 and came out in 1988 which makes it way easier to forgive. Add to that the fact that John Rambo is going to be attacking in 2008, and Arnie will most likely never redeem the Terminator series, and it puts Stallone over the top, pun intended.
Final score: Stallone 2, Schwarzenegger 1
In the end, though the final result was admittedly closer than I had originally thought, it is as I had expected. Stallone number one.
This essay originally appeared as a blog on Afro-Leninist Eco-Marxist's myspace. thanks again Travis for contributing ;)


  1. Now that I've seen John Rambo and Rocky Balboa it really is no contest. Stallone 4 life!

  2. Also, I'm still awaiting the Irvine Bros. counterpoint...

  3. great idea for column, other possible topics: tony vs ridly scott, deniro vs pacino. do it.

  4. thanks for the feedback, jeff. those are a good ideas as well.

  5. Aliens is definitly the best sequal of all time by far...

  6. stallone is a man macho man..

  7. Vin Diesel vs Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson

  8. nice blog...happy wid the result..appreciated