29 January 2016 | slightlymad22
James Woods Steals The Show
Continuing my plan to watch every Sly Stallone movie in order, I come to 1994's The Specialist.
Plot In A Paragraph: Sylvester Stallone is Ray Quick, a freelance bomb expert who lives off the grid. (Don't worry he is a good guy underneath, it is Stallone after all, he won't kill innocent people, takes in stray cats and gives up his seat to pregnant women on buses) May Munro (Sharon Stone) contacts him and wants him to kill the three men who killed her family years ago, who work for the Leon crime family, headed by Joe (Rod Steiger) and his son Tomas (a fun Eric Roberts) Their head of security Ned (A brilliant scene stealing turn by James Woods) Just happens to be Ray's former partner.
Ray Quick has to be the blandest and dullest character had played at this point. I'm not sure if he was bored in the role, but he sleep walks his way through the movie. Like with 'Cobra' we get shots of Sly looking mean and moody behind his shades, or intense and moody as he works on a bomb. Lots of posing as he listens to Stones voice over and over as he stalks her. Lots of posing not much actual acting.
Sharon Stone does, what Sharon Stone did at that point of her career, look good and take her clothes off. Eric Roberts (how did this man not have a bigger career?? I'd much rather watch him on screen than his sister) is a lot of fun, and actually under used. Steiger is surprisingly under whelming, which is a shame. But it's James Woods who this movie belongs too!! He is simply fantastic, and the movie is s lot poorer when he is not on screen.
So once again, for the second movie in a row, Stallone is completely overshadowed by his costar. Like Wesley Snipes in 'Demolition Man', James Woods not only steals every scene he is in, he walks away with the full movie!! You could argue three with John Lithgow in Cliffhanger
As with Nighthawks and Demolition Man, Stallone had scenes cut featuring the villain (This time Woods) and more shot with himself (the scene with the thugs on the bus, and the one where Roberts threatens Sly with a knife) at the last minute. It made no difference, Woods still stole the movie.
Despite a relatively short running time, it actually feels a lot longer than it is.
An interesting note on this is David Fincher was set to direct this at one stage. Stallone liked Fincher, and wanted him, but he was overruled by the producers, because of the failure of Alien 3. Instead they went with Luis Llosa, who had directed the straight to video 'Fire On The Amazon' with a Sandra Bullock and Sniper with Tom Berenger in 1993. Whilst Llosa's career went nowhere (he only directed 2 more movies after this) whilst Fincher made the mega hit Se7en a year later.