Burying the lede tends to happen by accident, particularly when the news is ridiculous. For instance, let’s say Sylvester Stallone — star of this 2013 commercial about super-pens — casually reminded people that for years he’s been trying to make a movie in which John Rambo, the Vietnam vet-turned-rogue avenger he’s been playing on-and-off since 1982’s First Blood, fought a monster. Maybe you too would inadvertently bury it in an info dump and wait for someone else to tease it out and turn it into a big deal.
Such is the case with a new Deadline piece on Stallone’s recently formed company Balboa Productions. The actor and filmmaker created it, presumably in the wake of his post-Creed resurgence, to produce projects, including Samaritan, his “dark, fresh take on the superhero genre,” which is to star Stallone himself.
It took places like /Film and The A.V. Club to suss out the real story, which is that Stallone long ago bought the rights to James Byron Hunger’s 2009 novel Hunter, about a tracker tracking a “raging beast, a half-human terror created by a renegade agency that is threatening to wreak havoc on civilization.” And when the book came out, Stallone wanted to turn it into the fifth Rambo.
This isn’t news; it was just largely forgotten over the last near-decade. According to Bloody Disgusting, soon after 2008’s Rambo, Stallone was very high up about having his grizzled hero move from fighting fascists and genocidal maniacs (or fighting alongside the proto-Taliban, as he did in 1988’s Rambo III) to battling something you’d see in a David Cronenberg movie.
“It’s a feral monster. It’s a… thing,” Stallone said circa 2009. “It’s this amalgamation of fury and intelligence and pure, unadulterated rage. It’s before men became… hu-men. This is when they were still inhuman. And so, what [Rambo] confronts is something that is everyone’s nightmare. He’s going against a feral beast that has absolute cunning and intelligence and a will to survive that is only matched by Rambo’s.”
Alas, Stallone decided to make a non-monster version of Rambo 5, which he’s shooting in Bulgaria right now, and in which he’s “only” battling Mexican cartels. That means Hunter will be a non-Rambo stand-alone that will still star Stallone. Or maybe he could bring in Rocky Balboa instead. Or why not exhume Marion “Cobra” Cobretti, the swarthy psycho-hero of 1986’s Cobra, made by the father of the guy who made the Nicolas Cage axe-and-chainsaw-a-thon Mandy? Anyway, here’s a gentle reminder that Sylvester Stallone is 72 years old.