HomeCELEBSSylvester Stallone's first TV show disappoints

Sylvester Stallone’s first TV show disappoints

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Sylvester Stallone is probably the king of something, but it’s certainly not Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Rocky Balboa himself, the legend of the silver screen and an action hero who can strike fear into the hearts of many, has decided to make his way to television in Paramount+’s “Tulsa King,” a new series from “Yellowstone” creator Taylor Sheridan. Considering the success Sheridan has enjoyed crafting that show for another Baby Boomer movie star, Kevin Costner, he seemed a perfect fit for Stallone’s big move to streaming.

Unfortunately for Stallone, “Tulsa” (streaming Sundays, ★ out of four) is no “Yellowstone.” The crime drama, about an old gangster forced to move from New York to Oklahoma by his bosses, is a mess, with moments so poorly written they’re cringeworthy. It’s part half-hearted Western, part fish-out-of-water comedy and part mob-movie knockoff, with bad wigs and worse accents. It’s all a bit embarrassing, to be honest.

“Tulsa” struggles from its very concept. Stallone plays Dwight Manfredi, an aging mobster just released from a 25-year prison sentence after taking the fall for his boss on a murder charge. Instead of coming home to open arms and a reward for his loyalty, he’s shunted off by his employer’s big-shot son to Tulsa, seemingly picked at random as a place in the middle of nowhere to stick an old gangster.

Within minutes of arriving in the Sooner state, Dwight has taken over a legal marijuana dispensary run by an idiotic stoner (Martin Starr), wielding nothing but a metal water bottle as a weapon. He instantly turns his taxi driver Tyson (Jay Will) into a willing criminal accomplice. Within a couple of days, he has proven himself so handsome and charismatic that he gets a much younger woman into bed (Andrea Savage), whom we later learn is an ATF agent, naturally. He can seemingly do anything with a fat wad of cash, his fists and a grimace.

Andrea Savage as Stacy in "Tulsa King."

Every plot point is so absurd, every line of dialogue so corny that “Tulsa” is a compounding engine of cringe, at least in the first two episodes made available for review out of nine in total. It’s like one of those cheesy direct-to-video “Geezer Teaser” action films, but longer to sit through. Hilariously, the best (and that’s a relative term) moments of “Tulsa” are its most light-hearted, such as when Dwight accidentally eats a marijuana edible and enjoys a belligerent, happy high. But Stallone on weed is more of a funny idea for a “Saturday Night Live” sketch than a TV show.

Jay Will as Tyson, Sylvester Stallone as Dwight Manfredi, and Martin Starr as Bodhi in "Tulsa King."

Sheridan’s producing partner David Glasser told The Hollywood Reporter that Sheridan wrote the first “Tulsa” episode in a single day. It is unfortunately quite easy to imagine this script coming together that quickly, given how rushed and messy it is. And a shame, because the idea of ​​Stallone as an aging gangster in a glossy streaming series is enticing. You don’t have to be a Hollywood development executive to discern how this series got the go-ahead.

But some ideas aren’t meant to be more than that: thoughts that exit our brains just as easily as they enter. I wouldn’t mind “Tulsa” leaving mine.

More:Sylvester Stallone vows focus on Jennifer Flavin marriage after turmoil: ‘Family now comes first’

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