Sylvester Stallone directs John Travolta, Cynthia Rhodes and Finola Hughes in this sequel to Saturday Night Fever where Tony Manero is now struggling as a wannabe professional dancer on Broadway.
Thrusting. Sweating. Stropping. This was a big hit back in its summer but its reputation now stinks like a flop. The critics hated it. It seemingly has no cultural footprint these days. My sister used to watch it a lot. So much of it feels pretty familiar even if I never knowingly sat and watched it teeth to tits as a child. The love story is risible and it is hard to have any sympathy for Travolta’s lead. He’s a dick, self-destructive and toxic to the women who do care for him. Yet the auditions, rehearsals and big gaudy stage show finale have a real thump to them. Stallone tries to match the electricity of Rocky… only with a lot more simulated dance sex and leather. Staying Alive never matches the emotional intelligence of A Chorus Line… nor the camp overload of Showgirls… but it is at least a notable stepping-stone towards both superior movies. And I kinda preferred this in spits and spots to the dated disco-era “classic” it continues on from.
Perfect Double Bill: Saturday Night Fever (1977)
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