Worst To Best: Sylvester Stallone

Avenging Angelo (2002)

The Film: Sly’s back being an action hero as the bodyguard to a Mafia boss (Anthony Quinn). When he’s killed, Sly helps his boss’ daughter track down the culprit.

Stallone Strength: Naturally, Stallone brings a square-jawed menace to his role as a gun-toting bodyguard, but this time he gets to layer on some sensitivity, too. Ah, he’s just a big softie really, isn’t he?

D-Tox (2002)

The Film: More gun-toting misadventures as cop Jake Malloy (Stallone) witnesses a brutal murder and checks into rehab. 'Survival is a killer' reads the tagline. Just ask LiLo…

Stallone Strength: The characters are cut-out at best, the direction (by Jim Gillespie) nothing more than workmanlike… Stallone at least gets to try something new as a bit of a nut who reacts to tough times unlike any other Stallone character – instead of fighting, he quietly goes mad.

Over The Top (1987)

The Film: Greased-up drama in the Rocky mould. Truck driver Lincoln Hawk (Stallone) is still grieving the death of his wife when he enters an arm-wrestling competition in Vegas.

Stallone Strength: The guns are the star here – the arm guns, that is, as Stallone flexes and puffs for all he’s worth. Apparently Stallone used a special weight to fortify his brachialis – something that really paid off.

Judge Dredd (1995)

The Film: Stallone’s most famous flop, based on the 2000 AD comic and directed by Danny Cannon. Sly plays Dredd, a futuristic cop attempting to keep the mean streets clean.

Stallone Strength: Sly’s running dangerously close to empty with Judge Dredd , a film universally lambasted as a mega(city) disaster – not least because Dredd should never be allowed to remove his helmet. Unsurprisingly, Stallone didn’t get anywhere near this year’s reboot…

The Specialist (1994)

The Film: Racy thriller in which Sly co-stars with Sharon Stone as bomb expert Ray Quick. He attempts to help Stone get revenge on the guys who killed her family.

Stallone Strength: The film’s forgettable fluff, but Stallone shows off his bulging, bronzed bod in some rather sexy clinches with Stone.

Cobra (1986)

The Film: A ludicrous, deeply fascist action film in which Stallone is the shades-wearing cop who’s got his sights set on a bloodthirsty cult. Meanwhile, Brigitte Nielsen provides eye candy.

Stallone Strength: ‘The strong arm of the law’ is the film’s tagline, fitting considering Stallone’s starting to look seriously bulky by this point.

Carquake (1976)

The Film: Also known as Cannonball , Carquake is based on the true-life (and illegal) cross-continent race that occurred in the USA.

Stallone Strength: Pretty weak, to be honest – Stallone only appears as Mafioso #2, and didn’t even get a credit on the movie. Rubbish.

Rambo III (1988)

The Film: Third (obviously) and least popular of the four Rambo films. This time, Stallone’s bandana-loving hero John Rambo goes on a mission to save his friend Colonel Trautman (Richard Crenna).

Stallone Strength: Sly can play Rambo in his sleep, so it’s to his credit that he brings not just muscularity, but intensity to his third go in the role. His gung-ho approach to the action is (perhaps foolishly) unreserved.

Taxi 3 (2003)

The Film: Follow-up to French action film Taxi 2 , with Luc Besson on producing duties.

Stallone Strength: Ever wondered what Stallone would sound like if he, say, spoke French? Well, here’s your chance to find out. Taxi 3 also relies on Sly for its fantastic opening action scene – which the rest of the film entirely fails to match, not least because Sly’s absence is sorely felt.

Daylight (1996)

The Film: A disaster film that isn’t quite the disaster you’d expect it to be. This ‘90s actioner from director Rob Cohen has Sly playing an emergency medical services chief who becomes a hero when the Holland Tunnel collapses, trapping him and other New Yorkers inside.

Stallone Strength: Here are a few Daylight -inspired Ds... Driven, determined, daring. Stallone’s as brawny as ever in Daylight . The fact that he’s playing an average blue-collar worker (who just happens to be really muscly) forced to do extraordinary things, adds heft to an otherwise set-piece-obsessed script.

Josh Winning has worn a lot of hats over the years. Contributing Editor at Total Film, writer for SFX, and senior film writer at the Radio Times. Josh has also penned a novel about mysteries and monsters, is the co-host of a movie podcast, and has a library of pretty phenomenal stories from visiting some of the biggest TV and film sets in the world. He would also like you to know that he "lives for cat videos..." Don't we all, Josh. Don't we all.