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Face-Off: Sylvester Stallone vs. Mel Gibson

08.14.2014by: Dave Davis
Last week's Face-Off column put two of the most popular comic book movie villains against each other, and the majority of you agreed that Heath Ledger's Joker from THE DARK KNIGHT took the crown from Marvel's Loki.

This weekend rounds up an array of familiar faces for THE EXPENDABLES 3, which finds Sylvester Stallone facing off with nemesis Mel Gibson. How do the careers of these two Hollywood veterans stack up against each other?

(Please note: Face Off is an opinion column. We're not using any actual science to prove or disprove anything. It's just for fun.)
FRANCHISE
-Everyone’s favorite underdog boxer Rocky Balboa (six ROCKY movies)

-Vietnam vet and one-man army John Rambo (four RAMBO movies)

-Tough but amiable mercenary Barney Ross (three EXPENDABLES movies)
-Wasteland warrior “Mad” Max Rockatansky (three MAD MAX movies)

-Unhinged LAPD detective Martin Riggs (four LETHAL WEAPON movies)
FOR LAUGHS
It's safe to say that comedy isn't Sly's area of expertise, as demonstrated by OSCAR, RHINESTONE, GRUDGE MATCH and... STOP! OR MY MOM WILL SHOOT
Mel cranked up the charisma for BIRD ON A WIRE, WHAT WOMEN WANT and MAVERICK, bantered with chum Robert Downey Jr. in AIR AMERICA and the oddity THE SINGING DETECTIVE, and gave his voice to a roguish clay rooster in CHICKEN RUN. Also, his kooky cop dabbled in slapstick in the LETHAL WEAPON movies, and he popped up as a body-piercer in the Robin Williams/Billy Crystal comedy FATHER'S DAY
GETTING SERIOUS
Stallone showed chops in earlier work like PARADISE ALLEY, ROCKY, FIRST BLOOD, VICTORY, NIGHTHAWKS and F.I.S.T., but then let his physique do all the heavy lifting for about 15 years until dipping into the donuts for COP LAND
Mel focused on the drama for a solid stretch -- GALLIPOLI, THE YEAR OF LIVING DANGEROUSLY, THE RIVER, MRS. SOFFEL, THE BOUNTY.

After that, in between hamming it up and shooting people, he kept a straight face for HAMLET, FOREVER YOUNG, RANSOM, THE MAN WITHOUT A FACE, SIGNS, EDGE OF DARKNESS and (puppet notwithstanding) THE BEAVER
BEING BAD
Sly made an early appearance running down pedestrians as Machine Gun Joe Viterbo in the Corman classic DEATH RACE 2000, and menaced the clever youngsters in SPY KIDS 3D.

While those were Stallone's only straight-up bad guy roles, he had a minor part as mob thug Frank Nitti in CAPONE, and he's also been a professional hitman in BULLET TO THE HEAD and ASSASSINS, a casino enforcer in the GET CARTER remake, and a con artist in SHADE
Mel was a charming drug dealer in TEQUILA SUNRISE, a relentless crook seeking his stolen cash in PAYBACK, and a robber stuck south of the border in GET THE GRINGO.

More recently he's embraced his inner villain, trying to eliminate Robert Rodriguez's favorite Mexican in MACHETE KILLS and Sly's entire crew in THE EXPENDABLES 3
MAN OF ACTION
Stallone didn't become one of Hollywood's most notable action stars without good reason. He clobbered opponents in the ring in the ROCKY series and was an unstoppable war machine in the RAMBO movies, and flexed his muscles in a steady string of action flicks -- COBRA, LOCK UP, TANGO & CASH, CLIFFHANGER, DEMOLITION MAN, THE SPECIALIST, JUDGE DREDD, ASSASSINS and DAYLIGHT (and OVER THE TOP, if you count arm-wrestling as "action"). He also got his knuckles bloody and exercised his trigger finger in GET CARTER, EYE SEE YOU, ESCAPE PLAN and BULLET TO THE HEAD, while gathering up a grizzled team of hired guns for the EXPENDABLES movies
Gibson has seen his fair share of war -- GALLIPOLI, ATTACK FORCE Z, AIR AMERICA, BRAVEHEART, THE PATRIOT and WE WERE SOLDIERS. He also blew away dozens of bad guys in the LETHAL WEAPON series, beat up and gunned down some fellow criminals in PAYBACK, handled post-apocalyptic marauders in the MAD MAX movies, and took on the government in CONSPIRACY THEORY
DIRECTING
Sly was both behind and in front of the camera for PARADISE ALLEY, ROCKY II, ROCKY III, ROCKY IV, ROCKY BALBOA, RAMBO and THE EXPENDABLES, and filmed a prancing John Travolta in the SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER sequel STAYING ALIVE
Mel directed himself in THE MAN WITHOUT A FACE and BRAVEHEART before focusing on other actors with THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST and the Mayan chase movie APOCALYPTO
AWARDS
Oscar and Golden Globe nominations for Best Actor and Best Screenplay - ROCKY

Nominated for 31 Razzie Awards
Oscar and Golden Globe winner for Best Director – BRAVEHEART

Golden Globe nominations for Best Actor – RANSOM, WHAT WOMEN WANT
BOX OFFICE
$3.1 billion worldwide
$3.7 billion worldwide
MEL GIBSON
Gibson may still be recuperating from some public embarrassments (you might recall the DUI, controversial declarations and volatile voicemails), but it's hard to argue with what he's put on screen. Stallone's Rocky and Rambo characters are global icons, but he otherwise doesn't have a BRAVEHEART of his own or a particularly nuanced filmography -- unless you count the diversity in how he's dispatched other humans in his abundance of action flicks.

With plenty of experience acting, writing, producing and directing, both Gibson and Stallone are clearly multi-talented guys. And while I can always watch a ROCKY or FIRST BLOOD (or TANGO & CASH), Gibson has a more magnetic presence and wider range -- I find myself more intrigued by Mel's warrior of the wasteland and his playfully dangerous LETHAL WEAPON character, along with some of the more subtle and varied efforts in his career.

Agree? Disagree? Which do you prefer?
POST YOUR CHOICE BELOW!

MORE FUN FROM AROUND THE WEB

10:23AM on 08/21/2014
Love these guys.but love Mel more.he is one of my favourite directors.love his direction in Braveheart,Apocalypto.he need to direct more films
Love these guys.but love Mel more.he is one of my favourite directors.love his direction in Braveheart,Apocalypto.he need to direct more films
Your Reply:



+0
4:51AM on 08/15/2014

Mel easily in every category.

Mel, without a doubt. He's a fantastic actor, and back in his heyday (the 80s through early 2000s), he was almost easily the best of all the superstar A-listers (for me, he was neck and neck with Harrison Ford during that span). Of all the aging 80s/90s superstars, he's the only who really seems to be giving it his all these days, as he delivered great work in Edge of Darkness, Get the Gringo, and The Beaver. And even with just four movies, he's proven himself as one of the finest visual
Mel, without a doubt. He's a fantastic actor, and back in his heyday (the 80s through early 2000s), he was almost easily the best of all the superstar A-listers (for me, he was neck and neck with Harrison Ford during that span). Of all the aging 80s/90s superstars, he's the only who really seems to be giving it his all these days, as he delivered great work in Edge of Darkness, Get the Gringo, and The Beaver. And even with just four movies, he's proven himself as one of the finest visual directors in the industry. Here's hoping Blood Father absolutely rocks and he gets back for good on the big screen.

BTW, I knew Stallone had been nominated for some Razzies before, I had no idea the tally was 31!
Your Reply:



10:35PM on 08/14/2014
Gibson, easy.
Gibson, easy.
Your Reply:



5:29PM on 08/14/2014
Mel is awesome, but I prefer Sly.
Mel is awesome, but I prefer Sly.
Your Reply:



1:50PM on 08/14/2014

yes!

don't get me wrong I like Stallone & his films But Mel Gibson is on another level to me, such a talent that's great at drama, action and comedy that's being wasted right now. We need to see him more in front of and behind the camera
don't get me wrong I like Stallone & his films But Mel Gibson is on another level to me, such a talent that's great at drama, action and comedy that's being wasted right now. We need to see him more in front of and behind the camera
Your Reply:



11:08AM on 08/14/2014
I love the constant dismissal of Sylvester Stallone as an actor. He has given some extraordinary performances and has more than proven his dramatic acting abilities. It blows my mind that people can't wrap their minds around the fact that Rocky Balboa is a fictional character. Stallone doesn't even remotely resemble Rocky other than his charm and warmth.
I love the constant dismissal of Sylvester Stallone as an actor. He has given some extraordinary performances and has more than proven his dramatic acting abilities. It blows my mind that people can't wrap their minds around the fact that Rocky Balboa is a fictional character. Stallone doesn't even remotely resemble Rocky other than his charm and warmth.
Your Reply:



+1
10:49AM on 08/14/2014

Is this a real question?

Not that some of Sly's performances haven't been truly good, but Mel is a real actor... and a very good one.
Not that some of Sly's performances haven't been truly good, but Mel is a real actor... and a very good one.
Your Reply:



10:03AM on 08/14/2014
Mad Mel for sure!! One of my childhood heroes and I hope he bounces back and directs some more and does some acting that's NOT in an Expendables flick.
Mad Mel for sure!! One of my childhood heroes and I hope he bounces back and directs some more and does some acting that's NOT in an Expendables flick.
Your Reply:



2:53PM on 08/14/2014
completely agree, so many actors have done stupid things in their private lives that doesn't stop them getting roles, I hate that its done it to one of the decent actors who's presence on camera & behind camera makes great entertainment
completely agree, so many actors have done stupid things in their private lives that doesn't stop them getting roles, I hate that its done it to one of the decent actors who's presence on camera & behind camera makes great entertainment
-2
9:24AM on 08/14/2014
I like them both, but I'd give the edge to Sly.
I like them both, but I'd give the edge to Sly.
Your Reply:



8:30AM on 08/14/2014

I'll take Mad Mel

I really wish Stallone didn't stop acting. He was surprisingly charismatic in his early roles.
I really wish Stallone didn't stop acting. He was surprisingly charismatic in his early roles.
Your Reply:



7:54AM on 08/14/2014

Mel Gibson

Without question.
Without question.
Your Reply:



7:15AM on 08/14/2014
Tough call but I have to go with Mel Gibson. He's certainly a charismatic leading man, especially in Lethal Weapon movies and Forever Young. He also proves to us that at his age he can still kick ass in Get The Gringo.
Tough call but I have to go with Mel Gibson. He's certainly a charismatic leading man, especially in Lethal Weapon movies and Forever Young. He also proves to us that at his age he can still kick ass in Get The Gringo.
Your Reply:



7:01AM on 08/14/2014
Mel is my favorite actor so this is an easy decision for me. I think Sly is ok but his acting hasn't been good since Rocky. Mad Martin Riggs Max FTW!!
Mel is my favorite actor so this is an easy decision for me. I think Sly is ok but his acting hasn't been good since Rocky. Mad Martin Riggs Max FTW!!
Your Reply:



6:16AM on 08/14/2014
Mel Gibson.

But the Rambo movies are friggin awesome."killing's as easy as breathing."
Mel Gibson.

But the Rambo movies are friggin awesome."killing's as easy as breathing."
Your Reply:



+2
2:56AM on 08/14/2014

Definitely Mel

I don't think I even need to explain that one.
I don't think I even need to explain that one.
Your Reply:



+3
2:56AM on 08/14/2014

Definitely Mel

I don't think I even need to explain that one.
I don't think I even need to explain that one.
Your Reply:



1:30AM on 08/14/2014
IMO it's not even close. When it comes to straight up better film resume and acting Gibson wins hands down.
IMO it's not even close. When it comes to straight up better film resume and acting Gibson wins hands down.
Your Reply:



1:13AM on 08/14/2014
Great idea for a face-off. I saw a screening of the Expendables 3 yesterday and was disappointed. I think Gibson definitely had it in him to play a memorable villain, but the writing and directing let him down. I think that Mel Gibson's myriad indiscretions have certainly drawn attention away from the fact that he is talented both in front of and behind the camera. Stallone's career as an action hero plays towards his physical strengths, while Gibson is capable of action, dramatic and comedic
Great idea for a face-off. I saw a screening of the Expendables 3 yesterday and was disappointed. I think Gibson definitely had it in him to play a memorable villain, but the writing and directing let him down. I think that Mel Gibson's myriad indiscretions have certainly drawn attention away from the fact that he is talented both in front of and behind the camera. Stallone's career as an action hero plays towards his physical strengths, while Gibson is capable of action, dramatic and comedic parts, often to quite a successful degree. As it stands, Stallone wins now but I wouldn't put it past Gibson to get into people's good graces with more directing and acting gigs in the coming years. Taking into account everything from Mad Max to the Lethal Weapon movies to Braveheart to Passion of the Christ though, Gibson is the long-term winner.
Your Reply:



12:22AM on 08/14/2014
Saturday Night Fever, not Saturday Night Live.
Saturday Night Fever, not Saturday Night Live.
Your Reply:



7:51PM on 08/14/2014
Well I've never seen the movie or wanted to. I was just stating a fact.
Well I've never seen the movie or wanted to. I was just stating a fact.
6:17AM on 08/14/2014
Ulysses32-oh snap *high five*
Ulysses32-oh snap *high five*
3:33AM on 08/14/2014
That depends on your opinion of the film......
That depends on your opinion of the film......

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