Robbi Rodroguez did a Rocky sketch for me at last year’s Heroes Convention. When I saw that Robbi was going to be at Heroes again this year and was taking commissions early, I asked for an iconic black and white piece of Sly as Jack Carter. Robbi knew exactly what I was looking for and came through like a champ with this piece. I was totally blown away.
So I requested another Stallone piece, this time totally of Robbi’s choosing. He decided to go with Sly as Machine Gun Joe Viterbo from Death Race 2000. It was a unique choice that I quickly got behind. Robbi not only drew Machine Gun Joe standing in his race car with a smoking machine gun, but threw in Joe’s co-pilot as well. I can’t say enough great things about Robbi’s commissions except that I want another!
You can see more of Robbi’s art here and here… and definitely again here at the SZ in the future.
On June 18, 2010, Entertainment Weekly ran a review of Death Race 2000 that featured a smaller version of the photo above of Sly in his role as Machinegun Joe Viterbo. Overall Death Race 2000 was given a B- rating. Here are some of the comments about it…
Jason Statham starred in 2008’s straight-faced remake, but forget that stink bomb and stick with the original…
David Carradine is top-billed, but watch for a pre-Rocky Sylvester Stallone…
Death Race 2000 isn’t the sharp satire Corman thinks it is, but it’s fun…
To read the whole review click here and here to buy the Death Race 2000 Blu-Ray.
On November 13, 2009, EW.com posted a piece called: “Roger Corman: Scoreses, Stallone, Sayles and other A-Listers talk about the B-Movie King”. Here’s Sly‘s section:
Sylvester Stallone (before Rocky, the future Italian Stallion costarred in two 1975 Corman productions, Capone and Death Race 2000, pictured) “In ‘72, Lords of Flatbush came out and I thought that was going to be my entrée into movies. But nothing happened. Henry Winkler got the role of the Fonz on Happy Days. I told him I really needed a break and I could be his mentally challenged cousin on the show. So I swung out into obscurity living way way out in the Valley. It was bad. I had to sell my dog. I hadn’t written Rocky yet. So I would read these trade papers and there was a casting ad for Capone. And I got this tiny part. What happened on that set is I finally got an idea of what it was like to be on a serious movie set. Everything was such clock-like precision. When we did Death Race 2000 in 2 1/2 weeks, it shows you it could be done. It was the only unofficial college of the arts where you got to learn filmmaking for free by a master. I guess after Capone, I must have become a part of the Roger Corman family because when Death Race came up, I got the part automatically. The director of Capone said, ‘You did this classy film, you showed that a dramatic side of yourself, Death Race is gonna kill your career, it’s a step backward!’ And I thinking, ‘Excuse me, Capone was a rip-off of The Godather.’ If anything, Death Race was a lot more original than Capone! I was very happy to do it. Roger’s a very sophisticated man. He looked like a senator and yet his films were done in such an assembly-line way. I really enjoyed it because it was the first time I felt like I was really in the big time. If I hadn’t done those parts I probably wouldn’t be here today. That he was a launching pad who allowed a lot of unguided missiles to be launched into space. He provided a forum for a lot of us to grow. We were the seeds and he owned the farm. If you look at those early movies with Jack Nicholson, you can see it — that he was building his rhythm back then. You can see that he had it. He would allow out-of-the-box people like Scorsese and De Niro to flourish. He didn’t go with the status quo. He was a master at spotting talent.”
On January 13, 2009, Nick Cowen and Hari Patience took a look at “Death Race 2000” for the Telegraph.uk.com. The review was positive and gave special praise to Sly’s work in the film.
…top marks go to Sylvester Stallone who shows genuine comedy chops in his portrayal of Machine Gun Joe.
…Stallone is really the best thing about this film.
…Surprisingly enough, Sylvester Stallone, whose knowingly over-the-top performance as Machine Gun Joe is pure comedy gold.
…In Stallone’s hands, every single line of dialogue is laugh-out-loud hilarious.
You can read the entire review here.
Our POW [Picture of the Week] is a shot of Sly from “Death Race 2000.” It comes to us from SZoner,
Dede Richard Boyd’s personal collection.
On Friday, Dark Horizons posted an item based on an article in the The Chicago Sun Times in which director Paul Anderson [“Resident Evil’] discussed plans to re-make “Death Race 2000” as “Death Race 2000!” The kicker is that the film is being developed as a Tom Cruise project. Anderson revealed that, “Tom plays Frankenstein, the best driver in the world. But he has that nickname because he’s been in so many crashes. He’s a little bit beat up. He’s a little reckless.” A script was turned in last week and Anderson is excited about it.
What makes this film really cool for SZoners? Anderson was quoted as saying, “I’d love to cast Sly Stallone and bring him back as the same character he played in the first one. He was a great Machine Gun Joe.”
– Craig Zablo (March 9, 2002)
Here are four interesting Sly tidbits:
1. In the September 10, 2001 issue of US Weekly, Sly is mentioned in Michael Lewittes “The Scene” column: Sylvester Stallone, in an olive-green suit, chomping on a cigar and eating dinner with 15 Minutes writer-director John Herzfeld in the back of Elaine’s in New York.
2. SylvesterStallone.com updated last week with three voice messages from the man himself. Sly talks about the possibility of Rocky 6, Rocky on Broadway, several tv series that he is developing (but not going to star in, plus Avenging Angelo, Dolan’s Cadillac, and more!
AIN’T IT COOL NEWS posted a news item (written by SZ regular Andrew aka ABKing) about the update as well.
3. On Tuesday, Dark Horizons posted information from a Q & A session with director Paul Anderson. Sly fans will be excited to hear that Anderson’s next project is “Death Race 3000” and that Anderson is confident that Tom Cruise will play the lead character and Anderson “mentioned that he wanted Sylvester Stallone to return and play the same role that he played in the original.”
4. TV Today (a German magazine) recently ran piece on Celebrity Websites. We are proud to say that the Sylvester Stallone site that they chose to profile was Craig Zablo’s StalloneZone! That’s right, SZoners, we were recognized in Germany! Thanks to Lot Of Sly for giving us the heads-up on the article. I would also like to thank John Beatty, Ernest “Jazzman” Resendes, and Rob “rOb” deVera – the best non-paid staff anywhere. I would also like to thank all of the SZoners who support our efforts… and of course Mr. Sylvester Stallone. (The article is reprinted above — if anyone could translate it, it would be greatly appreciated!)
– Craig Zablo (September 3, 2001)
On Tuesday, Dark Horizons posted information from a Q & A session with director PAUL ANDERSON. SLY fans will be excited to hear that ANDERSON‘s next project is “Death Race 3000” and that ANDERSON is confident that TOM CRUISE will play the lead character… and ANDERSON “mentioned that he wanted SYLVESTER STALLONE to return and play the same role that he played in the original.”