At 76, Sylvester Stallone holds for the first time in his career the main role of a series, “Tulsa King” (available on Paramount +). Successful bet for the former box office heavyweight?
WHAT IS IT ABOUT ?
Freshly released from prison after a 25-year sentence, ex-New York mob boss Dwight Manfredi, known as “The General”, is unceremoniously fired by a crime lord. Exiled to Tulsa, Oklahoma, Dwight decides to build his own team with a cast of colorful characters. Will he manage to rebuild a new empire of crime in such an unlikely place?
Tulsa King, created by Taylor Sheridan and Terence Winter, starring Sylvester Stallone.
WHO IS IT WITH?
There’s no doubt that Dwight Manfredi was tailor-made for Sylvester Stallone. Sly’s natural charisma fits perfectly into the role of a gun-toting man with a big heart, imprisoned for 25 years for taking responsibility for a crime committed by his clan leader.
At his side, Andrea Savage (iZombie) plays Stacy Beale, a female cop who discovers Manfredi’s past after a first meeting… alcoholic. The latter’s past will reveal her true personality, explaining why a woman with such potential ended up in a lost city like Tulsa.
The team recruited by Manfredi to build his new crime empire includes Jay Will as Tyson, an apprentice mafia taxi driver, and Martin Starr (Silicon Valley), hilarious in the shoes of Bohdi, manager of a store of weed.
Finally, many “mouths” accustomed to the roles of tough guys complete the distribution of the program: Vincent Piazza (Boardwalk Empire), Domenick Lombardozzi (The Wire) or Garrett Hedlund (Triple Frontière).
After having known everything in the cinema, success and failure, Sylvester Stallone takes on the main role of a television series for the very first time. In Tulsa King, the interpreter of Rocky Balboa and John Rambo lends his features to a New York mobster, banished by his clan and relocated to the peaceful city of Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Behind the scenes, two big names in American television have joined forces to give birth to this event project: Taylor Sheridan, the creator of the Yellowstone franchise, and Terence Winter, the creator of Boardwalk Empire and one of the main screenwriters of the series Les Soprano.
The iconic mafia series is bound to be one of Tulsa King’s sources of inspiration, a particularly blatant filiation in the opening credits following Manfredi’s arrival in Oklahoma, referring to Tony Soprano’s journey, cigar in mouth, through his New Jersey. From the suburbs of New York to deep America, there is only one step!
Stallone does Stallone, and that’s good
Unlike a large number of series today, Tulsa King offers us episodes whose duration rarely exceeds 40 minutes. Either the ideal format for this series, certainly not very original in form, but quite makes fun, thanks to its touches of humor slipped into this program with yet dramatic tones.
As a brute obeying a code of honor from another era, Sylvester Stallone is absolutely perfect. The 76-year-old actor doesn’t hesitate to roll mechanics every time he appears on screen, sticking out his chest to make himself harder than he really is.
In the radius of flats, however, we could regret that the plot is too often relegated to the background. The stakes are not many, and very quickly the series resolves to follow in each episode a problem to be solved – the resolution of which will most often be violent.
But since the show is more about character development than plot development, the slowness of its storytelling isn’t that much of a problem. It’s also a safe bet that Tulsa King will manage to surprise you with scenes of unexpected emotion, offering this main character of thick brute more depth and complexity.
Tulsa King is therefore a series that is devoured with great pleasure, but do not worry if you finish it in one go since a second season has already been announced by the Paramount + platform!