film reel image

film reel image

Monday, November 13, 2023

Sly 2023 * * * Stars


Sylvester Stallone is one of the most famous actors of all time. And if you've never seen any of his films you'd probably still know who he is. 2023's Sly, well it's an outspoken documentary about Stallone's life, told chronologically from his rough upbringing in New York's Hell's Kitchen to his rise via franchise, movie stardom. "The rejection was my encouragement". Indeed.

So yeah, did we need a docu about the legend known fictionally as John J? Maybe, maybe not. You watch these types of factual pics and wonder why ultra-celebrated people would do them. I mean Stallone obviously doesn't need the money and he's already cemented his place in the successes of Hollywood. Sly's director (Thom Zimny), well he doesn't care and he's game, filling the screen with archive footage, present day rawness, and parallels between Stallone's former and current viability. The opening scene in which Sylvester is looking out into his backyard, talking about regrets and speeding train metaphors is a real doozy. Uh, I say that in a good way.

Distributed by Netflix and edited crisply and routinely as most documentaries are, Sly lets you hear from Stallone himself, the way it should be. He speaks into the camera, exposed and candid and well, defending himself (when he doesn't really need to). Sly also includes interviews from people that are part of Sylvester's journey, like Henry Winkler, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and even Quentin Tarantino. I mean I could've done without insight from some undisclosed movie critic but hey, whatever. I'm doing the same thing right now.

Bottom line: Sly is biting, well-made technically, and a sort of companion piece to other swipe about lionized celebs (remember 2008's Tyson?). Some could see it as a pseudo vanity project for good old Sly but I digress. "Sir, do we get to win this time?" Yeah you do.

Written by Jesse Burleson

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