Movies & TV / Columns

The Top 5 Sylvester Stallone Movie Villains

December 9, 2019 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz


Sylvester Stallone has been a movie icon since 1976’s Rocky, the very first Rocky Balboa movie, and has been a full on action movie icon since First Blood in 1982, the very first time Stallone played John Rambo. While he did do two more Rocky movies, a cop flick with Billy Dee Williams and Rutger Hauer (Nighthawks), and a World War II POW/soccer movie in-between Rocky and First Blood, I don’t think Stallone really hit action icon until John Rambo decided to defend himself and take on Brian Dennehy and a whole town’s police force in the Washington state forest. I’m assuming that he tried to dispel that “typecasting” by directing the Saturday Night Fever sequel Staying Alive right after the release of First Blood, but, really, how many every day, regular people even know that Stallone directed Staying Alive? So the man has been an action icon for almost four decades. And with the upcoming home video release of the fifth Rambo movie, Rambo: Last Blood (check out my review of Rambo: Last Blood here), I figured it was high time to do a Sylvester Stallone movie villains edition of Dumpster Fire of the Week. Plus, I’ve already done Chuck Norris, Steven Seagal, and, several years ago, Ahnold Schwarzenegger, so it was really only a matter of time before this list was compiled anyway. I mean, it was going to happen eventually. And now seemed like a good time to do it.

And so, without any more what have you (does Sylvester Stallone really need a “proper” introduction? He’s Sylvester goddamn Stallone), the Dumpster Fire of the Week: The Top 5 Sylvester Stallone Movie Villains Edition.



Up first, the honorable mentions:


5-The Night Slasher- Cobra: As portrayed by Brian Thompson, the Night Slasher is the leader of some sort of violence cult that seems to revel in chaos and murder. And by leader I mean he provides inspiration for his followers, but the Night Slasher isn’t above going out into Los Angeles and killing people at random. It’s all he seems to live for. When there’s a witness that can identify him as the Night Slasher (Ingrid, as played by Brigitte Nielson), the Night Slasher sort of stops the random killing spree so he can focus on killing her. And he and his followers, including a female cop that ends up working with Stallone’s badass cop Lt. Marion “Cobra” Cobretti, will stop at nothing to kill Ingrid. If they have to destroy the goddamn city they will do it. And when Cobretti removes Ingrid from Los Angeles and takes her out into the boonies, the cult follows and takes over a small town just so they can kill her. The Night Slasher coordinates all of this, leads the charge, and gets pretty damn close to killing Ingrid before Cobretti takes his ass out. And, man, does Cobretti takes his ass out. Beats him into submission with the butt of his .45 magnum, then puts his body on a giant hook and sends him into a giant furnace to be burned to death. And the motherfucker deserved all of it.

Yeah. The New World. The future. Fuck all of that shit.


4-Jean Vilain- The Expendables 2: Played by fellow action icon Jean-Claude Van Damme, Vilain is the leader of a criminal terrorist outfit known as the Sangs. As a domineering, ruthless prick, Vilain seems to exist simply to make money, kill people, and cause unimaginable suffering. He kills Billy the Kid (Liam Hemsworth) right in front of Barney Ross and the Expendables team, even after telling the team that he wouldn’t. Vilain takes over and essentially destroys an entire town while trying to retrieve a large cache of plutonium that he can then sell to the highest bidder. The man is a goddamn super villain, isn’t he? I mean, what other type of person would ever attempt to do such a thing? When he eventually fights Ross one-on-one, he almost beats him (Vilain is a martial artist while Barney isn’t), but Ross bests him and, off screen, cuts his fucking head off. It’s too bad we didn’t get to see that. I think the movie watching public would have enjoyed seeing that. I know I would have.

Fucking Vilain. You’d think he would have found a different “professional” name for himself. Vilain is a little too close to “villain” for my tastes, a little too on the nose.


3-Murdock- Rambo: First Blood Part II: As portrayed by the now late but always great Charles Napier, Murdock is a shifty, sleazy, asshole bureaucrat of some sort, and we know that before we actually see him do or really say anything. And when we find out that he’s willing to leave American POW’s behind in Vietnam, even after Rambo gets real deal proof of their existence, we know that Murdock is the scum of the Earth. Oh, sure, Murdock was just doing his job and “protecting the United States” from having to commit millions of dollars to accuse the government of Vietnam of keeping American POWs and creating an international incident, but that’s all just bullshit. When he found out that there really were POWs in Vietnam he should have done everything in his power to rescue them. They were real men, real people, going through hell for years. Why doesn’t that matter?

I get why Rambo didn’t jam his giant fucking knife into Murdock’s face/chest after shooting up the communications room (Rambo isn’t going to kill a defenseless man, no matter how awful he is, and Rambo doesn’t want to go back to prison), but I bet it would have been cinematically satisfying to see. Because Murdock is exactly the kind of guy that deserves that kind of thing. Piece of garbage.


2-Dr, Raymond Cocteau- Demolition Man: As played by the great Nigel Hawthorne, Cocteau is a “visionary” who changed the world and brought order to chaos by creating a kind of utopian society where everyone and everything is, well, nice. When that society is threatened by the presence of an underground population that has no interest in following his utopian ideals and whatnot, Cocteau decides to revive a super criminal from the past, Simon Phoenix (Wesley Snipes), and send him after the leader of the underground resistance, Edgar Friendly (Dennis Leary). Now, allowing Phoenix to exist in a world that has no hope of battling him/containing him is bad enough, but also making him stronger and smarter is just a recipe for disaster. Thankfully, the police chief, George Earle (Bob Gunton), authorized the revival of super cop John Spartan (Stallone) to combat Phoenix because, if that didn’t happen, Phoenix was just going to run roughshod over the entire world.

Yes, Cocteau did put in a sort of control on Phoenix (Phoenix couldn’t kill Cocteau), but how did Cocteau not see that plan eventually shitting the bed? Arrogance, man. It gets you every time.



And the 411 Dumpster Fire of the Week: The Top 5 Sylvester Stallone Movie Villains Edition top spot goes to:


1-Ivan Drago- Rocky IV: Out of all of the opponents Stallone’s Rocky Balboa fights in the Rocky franchise, Ivan Drago is easily the most dangerous. As played by future fellow action icon Dolph Lundgren, Drago is a gargantuan Soviet boxer that makes his mark on the professional boxing world by killing former world champion Apollo Creed in the ring in an exhibition bout. And Drago did it deliberately. I don’t think Drago would have said “If he dies, he dies” while staring directly at Stallone’s Rocky Balboa if killing Creed wasn’t something he sort of planned on doing. Now, you could argue that it was Creed’s fault that he died in the ring because he could have forfeited the fight after the first round, when it was obvious that he was absolutely no match for Drago, but Drago didn’t have to hammer Creed as hard as he did, either. Drago was in control of the fight from the beginning. And since the fight was “just” an exhibition, what difference would it have made if Drago himself stopped the fight?

As for Drago’s eventual fight with Balboa, the only reason Drago lost the fight was because it was in the script and he had to. Stallone may be a big guy himself and tough and whatnot, but how the hell would he go toe-to-toe against a guy as gigantic as Dolph Lundgren? There’s no way Stallone would win that fight. There’s no way Stallone could win that fight. So Drago had to lose because he was the villain and it was a movie. Otherwise, Drago rules the world.

How the hell are you going to fight a guy that says “I must break you” and he can really do it without breaking much of a sweat? How?


Thanks for reading. Agree? Disagree? Sign up with disqus and comment. You know you want to, so just go do it.

Please “like” The Gratuitous B-Movie Column on Facebook!

Oh, and B-movies rule. Always remember that.