(US/Germany - 2002)
Directed by Jim Gillespie. Written by Ron L. Brinkerhoff. Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Tom Berenger, Charles S. Dutton, Kris Kristofferson, Polly Walker, Robert Patrick, Jeffrey Wright, Robert Prosky, Courtney B. Vance, Christopher Fulford, Stephen Lang, Sean Patrick Flanery, Dina Meyer, Angela Alvarado Rosa, Mif, Alan C. Peterson, Hrothgar Mathews, Rance Howard, Tim Henry, Frank Pellegrino. (R, 96 mins)
Sylvester Stallone has had his share of ups and downs over the course of his long and storied career, but he perhaps hit his roughest patch in that post-COP LAND period from 1998 to 2006, after which he went into nostalgia mode with the surprisingly good ROCKY BALBOA. That film's success sent Stallone on an ongoing greatest hits tour that's seen him resurrecting Rambo, creating a new all-star action franchise with THE EXPENDABLES, and continuing Rocky's story in two CREED films so far, the first earning him a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination. The 1997 "indie"COP LAND came at the height of Miramax's Oscar-baiting power, and was supposed to be then-51-year-old Stallone's bid to reinvent himself as a Serious Actor. He even pulled a De Niro by putting on 40 lbs and sporting a gut to play a powerless and partially-deaf sheriff in a small New Jersey suburb that a bunch of corrupt NYC cops call home. The film was critically-acclaimed, Stallone got some of the best reviews of his career, and it was a modest hit in theaters, but it was more or less viewed as a stunt for Stallone and offers for more serious roles never materialized. So he went back to action movies with 2000's remake of the Michael Caine classic GET CARTER and the 2001 racing drama DRIVEN, and both bombed critically and commercially. Aside from his comedic turn as the villain in 2003's SPY KIDS 3-D: GAME OVER, Stallone's next three films--2002's EYE SEE YOU, 2003's AVENGING ANGELO, and 2004's SHADE, where things had gotten so dire that he took a supporting role as the mark in a ROUNDERS underground poker knockoff starring Stuart Townsend--either made it to just a handful of theaters, or (as in the case of AVENGING ANGELO, notable only as Anthony Quinn's last film and released two years after his death), went straight-to-DVD after extended stays on the shelf.
|Poster art for the European release
before Universal sold it to DEJ Productions.