The hyper-productive Taylor Sheridan continues to churn out series at an incredible pace, and the latest in the series is an action thriller with Sylvester Stallone as a temporary mobster sent from New York to Tulsa, Oklahoma. Having previously presented himself as a great screenwriter for films such as “Sicario” or “Hell or High Water”, Sheridan switched to directing, and he found the real golden cock on television. The first big hit was “Yellowstone” (which I gave up on during the fifth season because it turned into complete nonsense), followed by countless spinoffs about the Dutton cowboy family. There is also the brutal and violent action thriller “Mayor of Kingstown”, and it seems to me that “Tulsa King” was partly designed as a joke about everything he does.
The banter was also well received by Stallone, who, as the 75-year-old Italian-American gangster Dwight Manfredi, is very good at making fun of himself. Although he is at the age when people are already pulling the strings for a place in a nursing home, Dwight is out of prison after 25 years. This once high-ranking member of the New York Cosa Nostra, upon his release from prison, seemed to have landed on a completely different planet, because everything has completely changed in these quarter of a century. All this time in prison he remained silent to protect his superiors, and as a “thank you” for his silence, he received a transfer to the second largest city in Oklahoma, in the very heart of America, where the classic mafia is something they have heard of in films.
And “Tulsa King” gets off to a great start, almost as a completely wacky comedy in which Stallone self-deprecates the roles of rabid rascals that he usually played when he was younger. And not only does he not know anyone in Tulsa where he has to organize the “branch” of Cosa Nostra, but he does not know his way around modern circumstances at all. He is an old-fashioned gangster, a typical movie mafioso that you would easily imagine in the environment of Tony Soprano or Michael Corleone, certainly not among a team of cowboys from the American West. And after some time in Tulsa, he will manage to assemble a team, he will start racketeering a marijuana shop that operates legally, but for a gangster who has spent a third of his life in prison, that is something incomprehensible anyway.
And the somewhat bizarre idea of combining the gangster world with Sheridan’s typical neo-western even worked surprisingly here, and I don’t know if that was the intention, “Tulsa King” is funnier and wittier than the vast majority of current comedy series, which are often completely devoid of humor and spirit. Regardless of the fact that from the beginning to the end this seems completely silly, as time passes, the story still gets a lot of air and over time it starts to turn into unconvincing nonsense. Not only will old Sly get into a turf war with a local white supremacist biker gang led by some crazy Irishman, but it all leads to him having to come into conflict with mob headquarters in New York.
Well, even though he already has 75 bumps on his back, the old mafioso is not only a dangerous jerk who beats up guys half his age at half throttle, but this well-read and resourceful guy has the seductive abilities of James Bond. First, police inspector Stacy Beale (Andrea Savage) will get involved in his network, and then he will attack the owner of the ranch Margaret (Dana Delaney). It’s a real macho, old-school series that is literally carried on his still incredibly broad shoulders by Stallone, who has never been a special actor. However, old Sly cannot be deprived of his charisma, a certain charm, despite the fact that he still pronounces his sentences slower than Milorad Pupovac, and it is a series that really plays on nostalgia for the times when Stallone was a great action star and when he is easygoing, and yet violent content stamped in bulk.