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On February 1, former football player turned actor, Carl Weathers, died in his home. He was 76 years old and a Hollywood veteran who starred in films and TV shows for over 50 years. His most recent role was Greef Karga on The Mandalorian, a Star Wars live-action show featuring him as a recurring performer and as a director in the second and third seasons.
“We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of Carl Weathers,” said Weathers’ family in a statement. “He died peacefully in his sleep … Carl was an exceptional human being who lived an extraordinary life. Through his contributions to film, television, the arts, and sports, he has left an indelible mark and is recognized worldwide and across generations. He was a beloved brother, father, grandfather, partner and friend.”
To pay tribute to Weathers’ long career in cinema, we’re throwing the spotlight on three movies to watch featuring the action icon at his very best.
Rocky II (1979)
While Weathers was in the first four Rocky movies, his character, Apollo Creed, has the most to do in Rocky II. After Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) went the distance in the first movie, Apollo feels humiliated because he couldn’t easily defeat his unheralded foe. To legitimize his world championship, Apollo begins harassing Rocky in the press until he gets a rematch.
Apollo is the antagonist in Rocky’s story, and yet he’s also the co-protagonist in this movie because he’s the hero in his own story. Apollo so desperately needs the validation of a clear-cut victory over Rocky that he puts his title belt on the line. While Apollo definitely has his jerk moments in this film, he proves to be a true friend to Rocky in Weathers’ two subsequent appearances.
Watch Rocky II on Max.
Arnold Schwarzenegger may have had top billing in Predator, but Weathers was No. 2 on the call sheet. In the movie, Weathers plays Al Dillon, an old war buddy of Schwarzenegger’s Major Alan “Dutch” Schaefer. As Dutch’s CIA contact, Dillon is the one who gave him the morally dicey mission in South America. But Dillon is also on hand when the alien Predator attacks Dutch’s mercenary group.
This movie was always going to be a showdown between Dutch and the Predator, but Dillon doesn’t run from a fight even though it ends very badly for him. Dillon’s an iconic role fit only for an iconic actor, and Weathers made the part his own.
Rent or buy Predator on Prime Video or other digital outlets.
Action Jackson (1988)
After appearing alongside his fellow action icons Stallone and Schwarzenegger, Weathers got to headline his own action flick as the title character in Action Jackson. The film follows Sergeant Jericho “Action” Jackson (Weathers), a man who was publicly disgraced and demoted for daring to investigate a corrupt businessman named Peter Anthony Dellaplane (Craig T. Nelson).
Regardless of the threat to his life and reputation, Jackson continues investigating Dellaplane. He also discovers that Dellaplane is using a team of elite assassins to murder anyone in his way. After being framed for murder, Jackson goes all in to bring down Dellaplane’s criminal empire. This film may not have gotten a sequel like it should have, but it proved that Weathers could carry an action film by himself.
Rent or buy Action Jackson on Prime Video or other digital outlets.