Sylvester Stallone is an icon of the action movie genre. His acting style and intimidating physique make him the perfect leading man for the kind of shoot-em-up, fist-fighting adventures that the genre thrives on. He has also helped create some of the most popular and long-lasting characters in action movies, many of which he has revisited again and again. Just recently we've seen the latest trailers for Rambo: Last Blood and Escape Plan: The Extractors.
With so many impressive badasses on his resume, it's hard to determine which comes out on top. Some have tallied up massive body counts, while others have shown more subtle bravery. Here are the toughest Sylvester Stallone characters that kick the most ass on film.
10 Ray Breslin (Escape Plan)
Ray Breslin has one of those movie jobs that doesn't exist in the real world – at least we hope it doesn't. The brilliant structural engineer is a consultant of sorts. He imprisons himself in prisons all over the world and then attempts to escape, highlighting the vulnerabilities of the facilities.
The prison escape is an excellent concept for an action movie and the first Escape Plan is actually a pretty fun ride, thanks largely to Stallone's chemistry with Schwarzenegger. While Breslin is a more level-headed and calculating hero than Stallone usually plays, given the fact that it is Stallone, he proves to be deadly when pushed.
9 Stakar Ogord (Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2)
Stallone's role in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is little-more than a cameo but it's super fun to see the legend join the MCU even for a small role. He plays Stakar, one of the top Ravager leaders and an old comrade of Yondu. Along with the other members we see at the end of the film Stakar was a member of the original Guardians of the Galaxy in the comics.
Sadly, we don't get to see Stallone kick any space ass in the film, but you don't get to be a leader of the Ravagers without being a total badass. Here's hoping we get to see him and the original crew in some future movie.
8 Freddy Heflin (Cop Land)
Cop Land is an intense crime drama from James Mangold and features one of Stallone's best performances as Freddy Heflin. Freddy is the Sheriff of a small New Jersey town which is home to a number of NYPD officers. Heflin respects the police he knows in the area, but when corruption begins to spread he's forced to act.
Stallone, sporting a chubbier physique than we're used to seeing on him, gives an amazing reserved performance. Heflin is meant to appear as a man of inaction or even cowardly, but when the time comes, he proves to be the only one willing to do what's right. He also proves to be pretty handy with a gun.
7 Gabe Walker (Cliffhanger)
Cliffhanger is one of the many movies that came out after Die Hard that seems to be directly inspired by that film. It is also one of the better films of that kind. Sometimes referred to as "Die Hard on a mountain", Cliffhanger finds Stallone playing Gabe Walker, a skilled mountain climber. After coming across a group of mercenaries stranded on the mountain, Gabe must survive the deadly villains as well as the mountain.
Rock climbing is not for the faint of heart and Gabe proves to be a pretty fearless climber. Besides those skills, he also holds himself well against the well-trained mercenaries, picking them off one by one.
6 John Spartan (Demolition Man)
Demolition Man is set in a future where crime is basically nonexistent. But after a deadly killer from the 20th century is brought out of cryogenic sleep and goes on a rampage, the helpless police are forced to bring back the only man who ever caught him, John Spartan. Stallone's rough-around-the-edges super-cop proves to be a fish out of water in the "cleaner" future. This makes for some great comedy as Spartan hunts down the deranged killer (played by Wesley Snipes).
Spartan is able to bring some good ol' fashion 1990s ass-kicking to the uptight world of tomorrow. He really stands out as the coolest guy around as he shows them that a little mindless destruction can be fun.
5 Raymond Tango (Tango And Cash)
Stallone is usually a one-man army, but here we see he is just effective as in a buddy cop scenario. Stallone plays Raymond Tango, a refined and classy Los Angeles cop who is forced to work with slobbish and unkempt Lt. Gabe Cash (Kurt Russell) when the two men are framed by a drug lord.
Even sharing the load, Tango is the kind of super-cop Stallone thrives at playing. Don't let his well-dressed appearance fool you, this is a man who can handle his own in a fight and is as deadly as anyone in a shootout.
4 Barney Ross (The Expendables)
The Expendables was billed as The Avengers of action movies, bringing together some of the most iconic actors of the genre in the ultimate team-up film. The movies never did manage to live up to the promise of the premise but they were fun and violent adventures with Stallone's Barney Ross leading the charge.
You need to be a real legend to be able to boss around the likes of Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, and Randy Couture. Ross is a deadly man who goes toe-to-toe in some of the franchises biggest fights against Steve Austin, Jean Claude Van Damme, and Mel Gibson. And when it comes to firepower, Ross brings the house down.
3 Marion Cobretti (Cobra)
Cobra might be the most over-the-top of Stallone's action films, which is saying a lot. As Marion Cobretti, Stallone is the ultimate badass cop, sporting the aviator sunglasses and match stick in the mouth for good measure. The film finds him going up against a murderous cult in order to protect the sole witness to a slaying.
Marion is a smooth operator who never seems to break a sweat no matter how many bad guys he's gunning down. As with any proper hero of his era, he always has a corny one-liner ready.
2 Rocky Balboa (Rocky)
Rocky Balboa is probably Stallone's most iconic character. The role made him a star in Hollywood and he has returned to the part in six Rocky sequels and two films in the Creed franchise. Rocky begins his journey as a working-class boxer who gets a shot at a title, and we follow him through the many highs and lows of his career over the years.
Rocky is not the deadliest of Stallone's characters but since he kicks ass for a living, he earns a spot high on this list. While he doesn't have to get in gunfights with anyone, Rocky shows incredible bravery and resolve when he's in the ring, inspiring fans everywhere.
1 John Rambo (Rambo)
Rambo might be one of the deadliest characters to ever appear in movies. He is a Vietnam veteran, haunted by the things he's done in the war. He also has rotten luck as he always seems to find himself in the midst of deadly situations.
First Blood found Rambo fighting back against corrupt cops who attacked him, but he's gone on to bigger and better things since then. To date, he's fought in Vietnam, Burma, and Afghanistan. He's become more proficient and brutal with his tactics over the years and his final outing as Rambo promises to be a rip-roaring goodbye.