‘Sly’ review: No more Mr. Tough | ET REALITY


“An actor is what he seems,” Sylvester Stallone told the New York Times in 1976, and more than most stars, Stallone has been seen as an action figure come to life. In “Sly,” director Thom Zimny ​​explores the acts of self-creation behind a career that spawned two indelible titular characters in “Rocky” and “Rambo,” whose underdog narratives proved highly influential.

“Sly” begins with Stallone, now 77, lamenting how life goes by quickly, followed by a montage set to Gang of Four’s sizzling “To Hell with Poverty.” Made in collaboration with Stallone’s production company, Balboa Productions, the film does not become a revelation. But it does focus on him being the son of a violently abusive father and growing up in Hell’s Kitchen in Manhattan before a series of moves.

Her resulting desire for approval is par for the course in star biographies, but that pain and her father’s fierce jealousy become the most moving aspects of the film’s increasingly predictable path. Blocked in the 1970s by stereotypes about his appearance and voice, Stallone essentially became his own screenwriting hero, and his success soon manifested when “Rocky” (1976), which he wrote, won the Oscar for the best film over “Taxi Driver”, “All The President’s Men”, “Network” and “Bound for Glory”.

What follows in this documentary is largely a psychologized tour of pop through the aftermath of “Rambo” and “Rocky,” with the occasional outlier. Quentin Tarantino, a Stallone superfan; Frank Stallone, Sylvester’s brother; Talia Shire (Adriana herself); and Wesley Morris, a Times cultural critic, offer commentary, with Arnold Schwarzenegger (who also recently received the Netflix documentary treatment) playing the hype man.

But Stallone’s flair for words (and his references to Arthur Miller’s “A View from the Bridge” and the 1968 dynastic drama “The Lion in Winter”) make one wish he’d talked about much more than his greatest hits. and failures.

Rated R for tough talk. Duration: 1 hour 35 minutes. Watch it on Netflix.

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