Friday, August 13, 2010

My Theater Experience With The Expendables (2010)

First, I would like to introduce you to a new segment called Looking at some Trailers. Which I will find a better name for eventually, but for now, bear with me. Here are some of the movies showed in the previews for The Expendables, and what I thought of them based on the trailers:

Buried

Oh, hell yeah, this looks awesome. I mean, what more could I ask for out of a movie? A race against time, a dark, claustrophobic motif, and characters distressed and not knowing what to do. Just pure bliss for a thriller fiend like myself. I feed off things like this, and seeing a new one really gets my blood boiling. Will definitely be seeing this on opening night.

The Town

This sent chills down my spine. First of all, directed by the guy who made Gone Baby Gone? Sign me up! But it just looks really cool. The espionage, the dreary, drab settings, the off kilter and creepy Halloween masks…this just looks like a really cool movie. I can assure you this will be on many top 10s for the year, and I’ll review another horrible Japanese horror remake if I’m wrong!
…please, please don’t let me be wrong…

The Green Hornet

Alright, somebody needs to fire Seth Rogen’s agent. What’s the deal with this guy? Can’t he ever appear in a movie that is an actual film, and not just some cheap-ass bucket of “awkward” laughs and hammy acting? It’s insufferable. Also, “let’s act like villains so nobody knows we’re the real heroes”? That’s retarded, get this off my screen and never bring it back. Phew.

There were also trailers of The Last Exorcism, which looks so lame that I’d rather bash my head against a wall seven times than watch it, and SAW 3D, which if anyone thinks it’s really the end of the franchise, you need to get a reality check. But I’m not going to post those trailers, because I’m better than that, and this segment is going on too damn long already.

So, without further ado…drum roll please…THE EXPENDABLES, directed by Sylvester Stallone and starring more people than you can count!


Yes, this was all set up to be the action movie extravaganza of the summer, and did it live up to those expectations? Well, let’s just say it had an unfair disadvantage. But it’s still a hell of a ride. This movie is so jam packed with explosions and so completely action packed that your head will just about explode even just thinking about it! Of course the main draw was all the big names. I mean, they got Bruce Willis, they got Jason Statham, they got Jet Li, they got Mickey Rourke, they even got Arnold Schwarzenegger. Arnold Schwarzenegger, back on the silver screen at last! What a treat.

I’ll just go ahead and tell you that the best scene of this movie is sadly one of the shortest, and it’s where Schwarzenegger, Willis and Stallone meet in a church. Willis does his typical latter-day role where he plays an almost mobster-like character who keeps in the shadows and intimidates through words rather than through guns and punching people like in the old days. Schwarzenegger is a pompous older mercenary who doesn’t have time to help out Willis’ cause, and it results in one of the best lines in the movie – I won’t even spoil it for you, it’s that good. This scene is just great. Seeing all three of these huge icons on screen together even for a few minutes is a ton of fun.

But the rest of the movie doesn’t slack off too much, either. The plot is pretty simple – a bunch of ragtag, weathered mercenaries are hired to go take down a governor in South America (who is played by Angel from Dexter…). One of them, Lee (Jason Statham), is having troubles with his girlfriend. Which means…he finds out she cheated on him because she didn’t know what he did at work even though they had been living together for a year and a half. Got that? Good, because it doesn’t come up very much again, even if they do try to shoehorn in a positive message about how he’s trying to find himself. It doesn’t really take any kind of precedence over the main story with Stallone, though. Speaking of Stallone, he’s trying to fight his way to save a pretty girl who he got the hots for the second he saw her. A noble cause, and I will ignore the clichéd nature…sometimes that’s just what you need after a long day’s work.

And the explosions, oh, man, the explosions. They’re all over the place here. They’re so abundant that by the end they’re even happening on top of one another; it’s flat out ridiculous. But it’s also really awesome. It’s like Stallone just went, “Hmm, we need explosions in action movies. Okay, put in about fifty times the usual amount. That ought to do it.” I love every second of it.

If I had to pick out any real problems with it, it’s not so much about what the movie did wrong, but more about what it could have been. This movie is a lot of fun, but with the pedigrees of acting involved, it should have been a real epic as opposed to a short, quick film like this. This should have blown us away and given us a transcendent work of action masterclass. But the fact that it did not really live up to our expectations doesn’t mean much, because this is still a pretty solid film.

The Expendables uses a lot of action movie clichés, but it never actually feels dated or trite for all that, and its quick, snappy pacing and huge doses of explosive fun are really enjoyable. It’s clear that Stallone really loves action movies (and I would hope he does a lot, for what he does for a living), and I really enjoy the earnest, balls-out way The Expendables executed its foray of action-packed goodies. It’s an action fan’s action movie. I can’t picture any fan of the genre hating it. This is Stallone’s latest contribution to the genre he loves, and if you want an explosion-filled action flick, I can recommend this with no caveats.