In honor of Friday's release of The Expendables, we're taking a week-long look at the action films of Sir Sylvester Stallone -- which is to say we're skipping his comedies. Out of respect.
Setting: Present-day 1994 Miami
Our hero: Ray Quick (Sylvester Stallone), a former CIA assassin and explosives expert hired by May Munro (Sharon Stone) to kill the men who killed her parents
Our villain/s: Ned Trent (James Woods), Quick's former partner and a current associate to drug lord Joe Leon (Rod Steiger) and his son, Tomas (Eric Roberts) -- the same Tomas who killed May's parents under Joe's orders years earlier
The stakes: Good ol' revenge How long until our first confrontation? About two minutes in. Stallone's character is reluctant to blow up a drug lord's convoy because there's a kid in the car; Woods' character doesn't care and gets the job done. Can you say "inciting incident"?
Line of dialogue that nails it: "Who gave you permission to smile?"
Coolest display of might: In theory, it'd be Quick sending half of his hotel room (and the henchmen in it) into the ocean below. In execution, though? Not so much.
Is that...? Yes, that's Rod Steiger doing his worst Marlon Brando as the vaguely Hispanic crime boss.
Did they really...? Stallone and Stone's steamy shower sex scene. (I mean steamy in the most literal sense; it's hardly provocative.)
But at least there's... James Woods doing his best James Woods. When he commandeers a hotel elevator, he shoos off tourists, telling them to take the stairs and "get a new shirt." He gives the most tolerable performance in the picture.
Acting legacy: Roberts would come to play the main baddie in The Expendables. (He's just awful in this.)
Awards legacy: Two Razzie wins (for Stone as Actress and Stallone/Stone as Couple) and another three nominations for Steiger, Stallone and the film itself.
Moral of the story: Seriously, don't watch The Specialist.
Stallone Action Scale: Despite countess explosions, 3 out of 10.