Does “Staying Alive” Pass The Test of Time

On March 13, 2013, William Bibbiani at CraveOnline, in his Test of Time column looks at Staying Alive.  Here are some tidbits…

  • Time has not been kind to Staying Alive’s reputation. It ranks high on nearly every list of “The Worst Sequels Ever Made.” Entertainment Weekly even gave it the #1 spot, above Batman & Robin.
  • Staying Alive isn’t as bad as we all remember. It’s not a classic, and it certainly lacks the cohesion, cool and barely post-pubescent passion of Saturday Night Fever, but it’s a surprisingly soulful examination of young manhood, told from the perspective of a filmmaker who, like Tony Manero, struggled en route to stardom in the heart of New York City. Staying Alive feels like a highly personal film and, like most personal films, it’s a jumble of hit-or-miss ideas.
  • …it’s easy to grow fond of Sylvester Stallone’s attempt to turn a Saturday Night Fever sequel – a doomed proposition if ever there was one – into something personal and heartfelt.
  • Does Staying Alive pass The Test of Time? Better than you’d think. It’s a misfire, but at least it grazed the target. It’s nowhere near the quality of The Godfather Part II or Spider-Man 2 or any other sequel that arguably surpassed the original, but it continues the emotional arc of the hero and it doesn’t just regurgitate the first film’s plot. It doesn’t feel like a soulless studio cash-in. In that respect, Staying Alive is at least a hell of a lot better than The Hangover Part II or Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. No, Staying Alive is not the worst sequel ever made. In fact, it’s halfway decent.