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High 5: The best films of Carl Weathers

High 5: The best films of Carl Weathers
Mattheau Faught

On the first of February, actor Carl Weathers passed away. While he started as a fairly successful athlete, people worldwide likely remember him for his performance on the big screen. 

Weathers participated in school plays as a child and always had a passion for acting, a career he’d pursue full-time after retiring from football in 1974. His life as an actor truly took off when he played Apollo Creed, the lead villain in the 1976 film “Rocky.” 

Weathers has starred in many films, and to celebrate his legacy here are five testaments to his acting ability. 

Rocky II – 1979

Weathers reprised the role of Apollo Creed four times in the Rocky franchise and remained an integral character throughout.

 Out of his many appearances as Creed, Weathers performance in Rocky II is my personal favorite. After his near defeat in the first film, Apollo Creed returns more ferocious and determined to win than ever. We see a nice contrast between his and Rocky’s training, wherein he goes overboard even against his practice opponents. 

Weathers does a great job portraying Creed’s desperation to redeem himself and remain the champion. The final confrontation with Rocky Balboa is intense and probably the best final fight of the Rocky franchise. 

Action Jackson – 1988

Weathers stars as the suave and savvy titular character in this epic classic. 

In it, we follow Jackson unraveling a murder conspiracy involving an old adversary. This film succeeds in being over the top in the best way imaginable. It’s got all the hallmarks of an ’80s action scene, intense car chases, fight scenes, heart stopping gunfights, silly but memorable characters and a host of massive explosions. 

Weathers perfectly fits into the role of Jackson as he performs cool stunts, fights a host of quirky bad guys, and survives impossible situations. Though it may be lacking in the storytelling department, it more than makes up for it with explosive action and fun characters.

Happy Gilmore – 1996

In this sports film parody, Weathers plays the eccentric golfer Chubbs Peterson. He mentors the film’s lead character, played by Adam Sandler, on how to hone his hockey skills to be a professional golfer. 

The two share great on-screen chemistry, and Sandler’s over-the-top performance as the ill-tempered Gilmore works perfectly alongside the equally bizarre character of Chubbs. 

My favorite scene of Weathers is when he tries to teach Gilmore to putt, which is awkward and hilarious at the same time. This brand of humor is what makes the film so good; everyone is a goofy over-the-top caricature of people you’d see in a more serious sports film like “Rocky”, and Weathers portrayal of Chubbs shows a different, more amusing side of his acting skills. 

The Defiant Ones – 1986

This TV movie is a scene-for-scene remake of a 1958 film of the same name, starring Weathers and Robert Ulrich as fugitives Joker and Monroe. 

Chained together by their hands, the two must put their differences aside to escape the cops and vigilantes pursuing them. 

Weathers and Ulrich do an amazing job, and watching Joker and Monroe grow and change as people creates an enthralling and emotionally moving journey. 

Predator – 1987

After a search and rescue operation in a Central American rainforest goes awry, a band of mercenaries finds themselves being hunted by a mysterious creature. 

Weathers plays the secondary lead, Al Dillon, an underhanded and cowardly CIA agent desperate to maintain control of the situation. 

I found his conflict with Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character, Dutch, engaging, as we see their initially warm reunion sour due to both mens conflicting ideals and Dillon’s dishonesty. 

The two play off each other well and add some great drama to an already tense thriller. 

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Mattheau Faught
Mattheau Faught, Presentation Editor

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