In 2012, Stallone co-wrote the book for the Broadway musical adaptation of Rocky. In 2013, Stallone starred in the action film Bullet to the Head, directed by Walter Hill, based upon Alexis Nolent's French graphic novel Du Plomb Dans La Tete. Also in 2013, he starred in the action thriller Escape Plan, along with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jim Caviezel, and in the sports comedy drama Grudge Match alongside Robert De Niro, harkening back to the Rocky franchise. Stallone was reported to be developing an English-language remake of the Spanish film No Rest for the Wicked, though the project was shelved.
In 2010, Stallone wrote, directed and starred in the ensemble action film The Expendables. The movie, which was filmed during summer/winter 2009, was released on August 13, 2010. Joining him in the film were fellow action stars Jason Statham, Jet Li, and Dolph Lundgren, as well as Terry Crews, Mickey Rourke, Randy Couture, Eric Roberts, and Stone Cold Steve Austin, and cameos by fellow '80s action icons Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger. The movie took US$34,825,135 in its opening weekend, going straight in at No. 1 in the US box office. The figure marked the biggest opening weekend in Stallone's career. In summer 2010, Brazilian company O2 Filmes released a statement saying it was still owed more than US$2 million for its work on the film. A sequel, The Expendables 2 was released August 17, 2012, to a positive critical reception of 67% on Rotten Tomatoes, as opposed to the original's 41%. As well as returning cast members from the first film, the ensemble cast also included Jean-Claude Van Damme and Chuck Norris.More Info
Following his breakthrough performance in Rocky, critic Roger Ebert had stated that Stallone could become the next Marlon Brando, though he barely recaptured the critical acclaim achieved with Rocky. Stallone did go on to receive acclaim for his role in the crime drama Cop Land (1997), in which he starred alongside Robert De Niro and Ray Liotta. His performance led him to win the Stockholm International Film Festival Best Actor Award. In 1998, he did voice-over work for the computer-animated film Antz, which was a big hit domestically.More Info
Stallone during the 1980s was one of the biggest action film stars in the world. He attempted, albeit unsuccessfully, roles in different genres. In 1984, he co-wrote and starred alongside Dolly Parton in the comedy film Rhinestone, where he played a wannabe country music singer. For the Rhinestone soundtrack, he performed a song. Stallone turned down the lead male role in Romancing the Stone in order to make Rhinestone instead, a decision he later regretted. In 1987, he starred in the family drama Over the Top as a struggling trucker who tries to make amends with his estranged son. These films did not do well at the box office and were poorly received by critics. It was around 1985 that Stallone was signed to a remake of the 1939 James Cagney classic Angels With Dirty Faces. The film would form part of his multi-picture deal with Cannon Films and was to co-star Christopher Reeve and be directed by Menahem Golan. The re-making of such a beloved classic was met with disapproval by Variety and horror by top critic Roger Ebert. Cannon opted to make Cobra instead. Cobra (1986) and the buddy cop action film Tango & Cash (1989), the latter alongside Kurt Russell, did solid business domestically and blockbuster business overseas, grossing over US$100 million in foreign markets and over US$160 million worldwide.More Info
Following the success of Rocky, Stallone made his directorial debut and starred in the 1978 film Paradise Alley, a family drama in which he played one of three brothers who enter the world of wrestling. That same year, he starred in Norman Jewison's F.I.S.T., a social drama in which he plays a warehouse worker, very loosely modelled on James Hoffa, who becomes involved in the labor union leadership. In 1979 he wrote, directed and starred in the sequel to his 1976 hit, Rocky II (replacing John G. Avildsen, who won an Academy Award for directing the first film), which also became a major success, grossing US$200 million. In 1981, he starred alongside Michael Caine and soccer star Pelé in Escape to Victory, a sports drama in which he plays a prisoner of war involved in a Nazi propaganda soccer game. That same year, he starred in the thriller Nighthawks, in which he plays a New York city cop who plays a cat-and-mouse game with a foreign terrorist, played by Rutger Hauer.Stallone launched another major franchise, starring as Vietnam veteran John Rambo, a former Green Beret, in the action film First Blood (1982), which was both a critical and box office success. Critics praised Stallone's performance, saying he made Rambo seem human, as opposed to the way he is portrayed in the book of the same name. Four Rambo sequels, Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985), Rambo III (1988), Rambo (2008), and Rambo: Last Blood (2019) followed. He also continued his box office success with the Rocky franchise and wrote, directed, and starred in two more 1980s sequels to the series: Rocky III (1982) and Rocky IV (1985). Stallone has portrayed these two characters in a total of eleven films. In preparation for these roles, Stallone embarked upon a vigorous training regimen, which often meant six days a week in the gym and further sit-ups in the evenings. Stallone claims to have reduced his body fat percentage to his all-time low of 2.8% for Rocky III. Stallone met former Mr. Olympia Franco Columbu to develop his character's appearance for the films Rocky IV and Rambo II, just as if he were preparing for the Mr. Olympia competition. That meant two workouts a day, six days a week.More Info
In 2000, Stallone starred in the thriller Get Carter, a remake of the 1971 British Michael Caine film of the same name, but the film was poorly received by both critics and audiences. Stallone's career declined considerably after his subsequent films Driven (2001), Avenging Angelo (2002) and D-Tox (2002) were also critical and commercial failures. In 2003, he played a villainous role in the third installment of the Spy Kids series: Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over, which was a huge box office success (almost US$200 million worldwide). Stallone also had a cameo appearance in the 2003 French film Taxi 3 as a passenger.More Info
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