On Rocky Ground

Just two weeks after it was reported he will be making another Rocky movie this winter, actor Sylvester Stallone is going to be revisiting the other role that cemented his movie icon status: John Rambo. Production is set to begin on “Rambo IV” once Stallone completes “Rocky Balboa.” The first three films of the Rambo franchise, launched in 1982, have grossed $614 million worldwide.

Why would Stallone revisit his two biggest roles (other than money)? The actor turns 60 this year and imagining him in jungle combat gear or boxer’s trunks gives me “1980s-era Roger Moore as James Bond” vibes. You also have to question the wisdom of messing with established franchises so many years after the fact; “Rambo III” was released in 1988 and the last Rocky (which as Bill Simmons likes to remind us, “never happened”) in 1990. Just look at the inability of the Star Wars prequels to recapture the magic of the originals. I have serious doubts about these two films, and about “Indiana Jones 4,” which is currently scheduled for a 2007 release. At this rate, by the time Rocky 10 comes out, the only people Balboa will be able to beat up are nursing home security guards.

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