Face-Off: Sylvester Stallone Vs. Bruce Willis

Well, our last Face-Off was much closer amongst the readers than the actual score indicated. I had a feeling we'd get a lot of Spartan supporters coming out of the woodwork on this one once they saw how handily Quaid took the W. Perhaps that's why today's newest battle doesn't veer very far from the previous one? We're takng two of the most successful members of THE EXPENDABLES 2 and having them go toe to toe career wise. So, who's had the better film career? Sly or Bruce? Let's get it on!
Best Dramatic Role
Yes, I know of ROCKY, the Oscar-winning dramatic film that catapulted Sly into superstardom. There's no question that his performances here and even in the sixth ROCKY BALBOA were fantastic. My only slight gripe is that he was still essentially playing a version of himself. It didn't seem like a super stretch. However for this category's pick, I've gotta say that even though it didn't quite pan out as huge as many hoped, Sly still gave a stellar, understated turn as "Freddie Heflin" in COP LAND. No balls-to-the-wall action, no drag down brawls, and he even grew a gut for the role. This was a quiet, subdued Sly; just an average Joe nice guy. When does Stallone ever do that? He did it here and he did it extremely well.
I think it's pretty cool that some of Mr. Willis's best dramatic work has been within the confines of our beloved genre. While mulling over his best dramatic work, THE SIXTH SENSE instantly came to mind. Wonderfully subdued stuff, but then it made me think of UNBREAKABLE (one of my all-time faves) where Bruce again masterfully scales things back. However, my pick for this category is a whacky little sci-fi spectacle called 12 MONKEYS. Bruce runs the gammut of emotions here as a time traveller from a desolate future who is sent back to our present day in order to prevent a virus that nearly whiped out humanity. Throughout the length of the film, Willis endures an onslaught of both mental and physical torture that is made all the more powerful by his remarkable performance. See this movie and tell me I'm wrong.
Most Iconic Role
This is a toss up between the aforementioned Rocky Balboa and the war hero John Rambo. Pretty good career if you've got two iconic roles worth mulling over. Call me nuts, but I'm going to go with the Italian Stallion. A humble, slightly slow-witted boxer from the streets of Philadelphia whose harsh left hook earns him a shot at glory. Oh, and did I mention his heart of gold. It's an inspiring underdog character for the ages who everyone loves. Six great sequels (well part V sucked) and even an Academy Award for best picture, the world knows Stallone as only one name: Rocky! Rocky!
The best action movie ever made owes a great deal of that honor to the lead performance by Mr. Willis. I don't know a genre fan alive that doesn't still get goosebumps every time they watch John McClane take down the track team of terrorists at Nakatomi Plaza. In terms of descriptions such as bad-ass, old school, wild west sheriff, humorous one-liners, everyday hero, real American, the character of John McClane runs the gamut. He's the ultimate action hero and you can't help but root for him. The main reason, he's still a fallible human being and not some unstoppable fighting force.
Best Fight Scene
Let's face it, Sly's had so many friggin' fight scenes (his most iconic role was a boxer) that trying to narrow it down to one is nearly next to impossible. However, there is one that I feel deserves elevated status. The final fight in ROCKY III between Sly and Mr. T. is a culmination of a huge emotional arc the ol' Rock-o goes through from losing his title to the death of Mick to an unsure start of training with Apollo to his eventual gaining of the "eye of the tiger". It's a true joy witnessing Rocky put all his new training to the test as he enters the remake with Clubber Lang a totally changed fighter. And it makes Rocky's awesome victory (that only takes 3 rounds) that much more triumphant. Seeing his initial exhaustion at the fight's end is a powerful reminder of the hell he went through to achieve this great glory.
It just wouldn't feel right if Mr. Willis's best fight didn't come from the best action film of all time. The throwdown that he gets into with Karl in DIE HARD is nothing short of epic. First, you have McClane, whose been pushed to the limit by a gagle of terrorists while trying to save his wife. Then, you have crazy Karl, a psycho bent on revenge because McClane killed his smalled-footed brother. When these two clash, it's completely down and dirty and real. You 100% believe that these two guys are out for blood. Ultimately the intense battle ends with McClane somehow able to hang Karl with a dangling chain. Incredible! And, I just have to add that at DIE HARD's closing, I could watch Al Powell finishing off McClane's fighting nemesis on a continuous loop for 24 hours. Goose bumps.
Least Terrible Comedy
"Stop! Or my mom will shoot!" "Stop! Or my mom will shoot!" "Stop! Or my mom will shoot!" I just wonder if Sly ever wakes up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat after hearing that line repeated over and over in his sleep. I'm sure there was a time when the concept of a tough cop's mommy interfering with his case sounded like comic gold. Unfortunately, said concept got dragged through the shitter before it reached the big screen. Seeing Sly being babied by Estelle Getty just gives off this icky, pussified feel that is so un-Stallone, it should be vaporized.
Back in 1991, were you ready for the comic caper adventure of the summer? Then, you must have caught the Hawk! And were probably very disappointed. From the advertisements, this Bruce Willis romp looked to be another surefire summer hit. Then we learned of the ridiculous plot, the atrocious performances, and the shitty comedy. This movie is one of the biggest turds ever created. This flick nearly annilhilated the infalible greatness that was "John McClane". Shame on all that was involved.
Most Memorable Lines
This category could go on forever, so I'll list most of the best. Feel free to add more in the bullets section below.


"They drew first blood, not me."

"Nothing is over! Nothing! You just don't turn it off! It wasn't my war! You asked me, I didn't ask you!"

"You're the disease. I'm the cure."

"I look at this town, and I don't like what I see."

"Send a maniac to catch a maniac."

"You're gonna regret this the rest of your life... both seconds of it."

"I am the law! Put down your weapons and prepare to be judged."

"I'm your worst nightmare."

"What's so crazy about standing toe to toe with someone saying "I am"?"

This category could go on forever, so I'll list most of the best. Feel free to add more in the bullets section below.

"Welcome to the party, pal!"

"Yippee-ki-yay, motherfucker."

"Call me… Roy."

"Come out to the coast, we'll get together, have a few laughs."

"I promise I will never even *think* about going up in a tall building again. Oh, God. Please don't let me die."

"Happy trails, Hans."

"Nobody likes you. Everybody hates you. You're gonna lose. Smile, you fuck."

"If you touch me again, I'll kill you."

"Be prepared, son. That's my motto; be prepared."

"Just once, I'd like a regular, normal Christmas. Eggnog, a fuckin' Christmas tree, a little turkey. But, no. I gotta crawl around in this motherfuckin' tin can."

"How can the same shit happen to the same guy twice?"

"I'm looking for the Army of the Twelve Monkeys."

"I've never been sick, I've never been injured... what do I do now?"

Sylvester Stallone
Well, it was one close fight between these two incredible action stars. I'm guessing that many of you are gonna agree that Sly should have indeed taken the bout, but I'm curious about how many Bruce Willis supporters will chime in with their opinion. What I'm sayin' is, let the bullets fly below. And feel free to send any future Face-Off ideas to me at [email protected].

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