Sylvester Stallone Has One Of The Top 5 Movies On Netflix

Sly's still got it!

By Michileen Martin | Published

sylvester stallone

Any non-Netflix-original film streaming on the platform has some steep competition on the charts this month. Along with the rom-com Love & Gelato and the action comedy The Man from Toronto releasing last week; this month has also seen the premiere of the long-awaited thriller Spiderhead, the Jennifer Lopez documentary Halftime, and Adam Sandker’s Hustle. And yet somehow one of the least expected Sylvester Stallone movies is tearing through the Netflix charts. The 2018 action crime thriller Backtrace is #4 on the list, sandwiched between Love & Gelato at #5 and Stephen King’s The Mist at #3.

While Sylvester Stallone has been in plenty of great movies that no one would be surprised to see in the Netflix Top 10, Backtrace is not one of those movies. The action crime thriller was released in 2018 on VOD, with a limited theatrical release overseas. Stallone stars as a Detective Sykes assigned to investigate the bank robber Mac (Matthew Modine) — the only survivor of a robbery that went sideways who is desperate to prove his innocence.

sylvester stallone backtrace
Sylvester Stallone in Backtrace (2018)

From all accounts, Backtrace was not made to make Sylvester Stallone a Netflix star, to earn a treasure trove of Oscars, or to reinvent cinema as we know it. No, Backtrace was put together, like most VOD flicks, to make some quick and dirty money — in this case, thanks to Stallone’s name recognition. As evidence, we humbly point to the film’s Rotten Tomatoes score of 9%. As if to mirror the flick’s spot in Netflix’s top 5, Backtrace‘s RT score is actually in the all-time bottom 5 of all of Stallone’s films. Right below it is Escape Plan 2: Hades with an 8%, which came out the same year as Backtrace and just a month ago was dominating the HBO streaming charts.

In one sense, a lot of critics probably love the Sylvester Stallone flick that’s currently kicking butt on Netflix, but only in the sense that they hated it so much it gave them a chance to use the kind of mean-spirited poetry only the worst films can justify. Donald Clarke of the Irish Times writes Backtrace is “so supernaturally boring that light bends when passing its dense outer mantle.” Of the cinematography, The Guardian‘s Leslie Felperin says the movie “looks as if it was put through an Instagram filter called Rotgut that makes everything look like it was soaked in weak coffee and bile.” Roger Moore of Movie Nation muses, “So what DO you do with a 72 year old action star? Not this.”

sylvester stallone backtrace
Christopher McDonald and Sylvester Stallone in Backtrace (2018)

So if it’s so horrible than why is the Sylvester Stallone led thriller close to the Netflix front of the pack? Well, maybe it really isn’t that bad. Or maybe it’s the novelty. You’re scrolling through Netflix, you come upon Backtrace, and you see Sylvester Stallone’s face. What’s this? A Stallone flick you haven’t heard of before? Wait, and Matthew Modine? Isn’t he that mad scientist on Stranger Things? This must be amazing! Of course… it isn’t. But hey — give it a shot. Check it out. Time only goes in one direction and it’s your decision what to do with it.

There are a lot of people at Paramount Studios who are no doubt hoping the next Sylvester Stallone project is overall better received than the one in the top 5 on Netflix right now. Acclaimed TV creator Taylor Sheridan is teaming up with Stallone for the upcoming crime drama series Tulsa King. Stallone will play an Italian, East coast mobster who is the proverbial fish out of water when he moves his operations to Oklahoma. Tulsa King will premiere on Paramount+ and there have even been hints that Stallone’s character — Dwight “The General” Manfredi — might make an appearance on Yellowstone, which was also created by Sheridan.

Along with the actors already mentioned, Backtrace stars Ryan Guzman (Everybody Wants Some!!), Meadow Williams (Boss Level), Christopher McDonald (Thelma & Louise), Colin Egglesfield (Rizzoli & Isles), Jenna Willis (American Crime Story), and Lydia Hull (Van Wilder). It was directed by Brian A. Michaels (Vice) from a script by Mike Maples (Miracle Run). If you’re willing to risk it, it’s streaming on Netflix right now.