There’s No One Better Than Rocky
Admittedly two movies from the Rocky series were worse than most of those Saturday Night Live skit movies, however, if one just counted the first picture, this is still easily Stallone’s best work. Rocky won three Oscars, including Best Picture in 1976. Does the entire Rambo series even have three Oscar nominations combined? Not only that, the entrance to the Philadelphia Museum of Art has been nicknamed the “Rocky Steps.” In addition, there is a statue of Rocky just outside the museum. Don’t remember the last time I saw a Rambo statue anywhere. Rocky cost less than $1 million to make, but took home roughly $225 million. I’d say that’s the definition of box office success.
In the course of the three following superb sequels, Rocky wins the title to secure his rags to riches dream, wins his battle against fear, and defeats a Russian boxer on more steroids than Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, and Manny Ramirez combined. While accomplishing all of this, the films tackle such topics as family dynamics, mentorship, death, perseverance, and a belief in self. Rocky showed that it’s possible to defeat your enemies without having to resort to murder … unlike the popular Green Beret Rambo. I’d be remiss if I didn’t also mention that Rocky ended the Cold War at the end of Rocky IV. He ends boxing matches with his powerful fists, and ends political conflict with a shrewd tongue.
Rocky V and Rocky Balboa will never win anything more than a Razzie, but even with those two stinkers on the ledger, the Rocky series is easily Stallone’s best work. Rocky is the most famous “boxer” next to Muhammad Ali and even garnered Stallone a spot in the boxing Hall of Fame. Let’s end the debate with an appreciation of Rambo, and his lack of psychiatric help, being a close second to the great Rocky Balboa.
Rambo Was a Bona fide Badass
Anyone who doesn’t think that the Rambo series was Stallone’s best is crazy. The 1st film, released in 1982, (actually titled First Blood) was in reality an epic psychological thriller, not the perceived mindless action flick. It told the story of Special Forces military veteran John Rambo and his difficulties trying to re-assimilate into American culture after serving in Vietnam. On a quest to simply locate one of his former unit friends, Rambo is needlessly arrested and assaulted by local police officers. Thanks to PTSD and the associated flashbacks, he attacks, escapes, and thus begins a chain of events that display how badass he is. The next time Rocky deals with anything like PTSD and becoming a POW will be the first time. Most of the movie is based upon a novel that was written in 1972, but the endings are different; there wouldn’t be much of a movie series if Rambo died at the end of the first movie. Despite only requiring $15 million to produce, First Blood grossed about $125 million worldwide. Any movie that generates over 8 times its production cost I consider to be a success.
Rambo: First Blood Part II (affectionately called Rambo 2) is the quintessential action movie from beginning to end. Rambo is dropped in the middle of the jungle in Vietnam, and is forced to take on scores of Vietnamese and Soviet soldiers with only his bow, arrows, and knives. Who do you think was at the disadvantage? First Blood Part II also displays the softer side of Rambo, as he shares a moment of intimacy with a young native woman before she they are ambushed and she is killed. Her death only further fuels his rage, and the ass kicking ticks up a notch after her death. While Rambo is illustrating survival skills in a jungle, Rocky is busy being too scared to get in ring against a guy named Clubber Lang. When is it okay for a boxer to display fear? John Rambo has never even heard of the word. Rambo 2 earned over $300 million internationally (on a roughly $45 budget), and is still considered one of the greatest action movies of all time.
Rambo III and the fourth movie of the series Rambo were decent pictures, but don’t carry the depth and emotion of the first two installments. None of that matters, as every Rambo movie can stand alone as successful, unlike the last two Rocky movies that are completely unwatchable. Rocky may be more popular, but his struggles, id, and intricacies pale in comparison John Rambo’s. Rambo is easily Stallone’s greatest creation.