action movie freak    

 
Original Dirty Harry poster


The EXPENDABLES

"Choose your weapon."

Love this first version of the poster.

(2010) Director: Sylvester Stallone

It was impossible for this movie to be bad. We came to see our Action movie heroes, and it delivered. What was missing for me was that they didn't make us care about the characters like we rooted for Rocky and Rambo.  If Bruce Willis had had a bad habit of sending the team on shit missions, and they had a habit of being smart enough to pull it off anyway (opener), then when Willis intended to send the whole 'expendable' team on what might have been a suicide mission for his own ends (intel on Eric Roberts?), but just Stallone and Statham smartly went alone first to check it out (as it happened), and got caught. Stone Cold etc. could have beat the hell out of them, and the girl could have saved their lives, giving them a reason to go back other than just rescue (gratitude and revenge), and we would have been rooting for S&S to win over the bad guys (other than they're just bad guys). If there was something that  Bruce Willis did that deserved for them to come back and kick his ass too, that would have been awesome. We needed to hate Eric Roberts and we didn't (much), and Bruce's character was a throwaway.  Anybody still reading?  Regardless, it was an enjoyable ride and I loved it:  Here's lots of reasons why:

CHOOSE YOUR WEAPON  They're all deadly!

This was part Buddy movie with Stallone and Jason Statham as close friends with a playful relationship—they are a little competitive, and a little boss-and-sidekick—and part Heist movie. It worked well. Most of the rest of this amazing cast are just supporting players. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.) If you can get Stone Cold Steve Austin to play a henchman, go for it!

Stallone rocked the house in several ways.  First, one word: "reload". WOW! WHAT THE HELL was that?! The scene near the end of the movie when you've already been blown away by Terry Crews and the big gun—Stallone is firing two guns, one in each hand, and reloads lightning fast a couple times. I have a gun-enthusiast friend who gets pissed when reloading is not part of the gunfight and the timing/strategy, and this scene alone rachets up the action-movie-WOW-factor points. Yeah, it's THAT bad ass. My friend's point is you can be good at shooting but in a life-or-death situation you better be just as good at reloading. There are several impressively fast reload moments other than this, but this one is so holy-shit-over-the-top that it stayed with me more than everything else combined. And that's saying a lot because they really BLOW SHIT UP! It took me back to Rambo III (my favorite Stallone movie).

Second, Stallone looks good. For 64, for any age. His age is showing a little. Granted there are few men, let alone 64-year-old men, who look like that or can do what he does. It shows just a little here and there but despite that, he's fucking awesome!!! That he would even be able to cast himself to fight Steve Austin should shut up any detractors. He fractured his neck proving he can still do it. Unfortunately, because of that, maybe now he can't. So, he may start to use stunt men more and more, or he may keep trying to do things he shouldn't and end up getting hurt again. That remains to be seen. All I know is, #1 I will pay to see anything he has anything to do with, and #2 He's got to, at some point, consider it might be smarter to be Bosley and not an Angel. Of course he once said on a talk show "If you slow down, you die" so that's not likely.

Sylvester's Devils
Jason Statham
gets to have the most fun. He mans the guns in the nose of the seaplane. That was a really cool surprise (or would have been if it wasn't ruined for me when I stupidly, greedily, watched the preview.) It was very satisfying to watch them torch the dock! His fight scenes are dazzling but you expect that from him. If you had never seen him in the Transporter series, he would really knock your socks off in this movie.

Statham as Stallone's sidekick works well. I had trouble hearing their dialogue both times I saw the movie (excited audience), but I am sure I will figure it out after the 4th or 5th time. I would say we don't go to action movies for the dialogue, but OH YES! we do! We love those cheesy one-liners! I just wish this movie had more of them. Being a bad ass gets is at its sweetest when you rub it in someone else's face!

Jet Li comes off the best in the hand-to-hand fight scenes; the most believable. He's still got it 100% (although he was injured in real life as well, though not on this movie). He's so fast, he's a blur. Sometimes you end up looking at the spot where he was and he's already somewhere else. His fight scenes were choreographed by Corey Yuen and represent the best moves in the movie. Compared to Statham who did his signature-style complicated fights that are almost like a dance, taking on multiple people at a time with different weapons, Li's fighting seemed more straightforward when, really, it was incredible. The movie packs in so much intensity in the last big showdown that it's hard to take it all in. I loved it that both Statham and Li showed up to help at the end. "It's good to have friends!"

I have not followed the career of Dolph Lundgren like the very knowledgeable guys at AllOuttaBubbleGum.com (check out their reviews of his movies, especially Universal Soldier: Regeneration), but it was cool to see Lundgren pitted against Jet Li. Toughness knows no size restrictions. It said more about Li, of course, than Lundgren. Lundgren was cast as a good guy gone bad, redeemed by Stallone's mercy. I overheard people in the audience saying "remember 'that guy'"?. . . Are they kidding me?! He's Dolph Lundgren, bitches! (RIP Rick James)

AA12 gunTerry Crews stole the show! I hope we see more of him in action movies. I know everyone loves him from Everybody Hates Chris (and commercials). He was having a really good time and it showed. Although he doesn't have a big role, between his incredible physique (at one point his arms look like inflated balloons) and the AA12, he brings the thunder and the lightning. I was really glad I didn't see or hear the AA12 before I saw the movie.  That gun must pack such a huge kick I am sure not just anyone could even hold onto it after they pull the trigger.  It takes someone like Terry Crews to make it look easy. I thought the AA12 would have to be the most impressive part of the movie. I was wrong. As crazy as Crews and the AA12 was, when I saw Stallone do the double-handed reloads, I thought WOW! better and better.

I would LOVE to see Terry Crews cast in Gears (if they ever make Gears—I read it was stalled).

(Stone Cold) Steve Austin (love that name) is rock hard. He's a walking wall of muscle. Just looking at his neck makes me afraid. They say the bigger they are, the harder they fall—I think that applies only to fat people. He's got to be damn near impossible to take down. Seeing Stallone wailing away at him, punching him repeatedly in the gut, I felt sorry for Stallone's hands the next day. All Steve Austin needs to be a really big star is just to loosen up a big. He seems like a really great guy but he also seems sometimes like he's pinching himself that he's really doing these things (like being in a movie with Sylvester Stallone). He's fun to watch and I really wanted to see more of him. I liked him so much in The Stranger and The Condemned, I think I have to go buy the DVDs. With the right role, he might get the confidence he needs to break out and be an action superstar. He might be too nice a guy though, needs more ego, more bravado.

Randy CoutureRandy Couture Seems a little like cheating, casting a real fighter, but it's also smart. He's a big draw. Surprise: The speaking/acting part for Couture was mainly comedy. 

[No, this picture is not from the movie, but who can resist seeing Randy Couture with such a cute puppy.]


The Boys ARE Back
The friendship 'the boys' have is so true to life. Seems to me (I'm a girl) guys have a very low criteria for friendship. Doesn't matter what you do, they forgive and forget. So, there's appropriately named "Tool's" (Mickey Rourke's character) womanizing (he's so 'cool' he doesn't even know the name of his date who he sends to get him coffee), Dolph's character's instability and cruel streak coupled with a drug habit and attempting to kill them, Jet Li's character (Ying Yang not Yin Yang) lieing about having a family, and Randy's character being a little crazy and spouting advice from his therapy sessions, this all doesn't matter because they're friends. I think knowing a little more about what tied them all together would have added a  little more  needed involvement and caring from me. I also wanted mroe camaraderie, which we didn't get enough of until the last scene, which was also too short for me. Again, I wanted more MORE MORE! The boys are back in town and hanging out—who doesn't want to stick around for more of that? That boys-club feeling makes us want to see more of them together again, and leaving us with that helps promote a sequel.

"Once Upon A Time there were . . . "
The story was a bit simplistic—Stallone said he cut the script down and it showed, however, I didn't go to see it for plots twists or espionage (it was tiring keeping up with Inception). I wanted all the action movie standards: fights, big weapons, big muscles, car chases, boy toys, and explosions. It delivered all that and more. That was a really sweet lowrider Stallone drove, and all the motorcycles/choppers were impressive. When they were in the seaplane headed back to rescue the girl and talking about their weapons, it reminded me a little of Predator when they are in the chopper, and Terry Crews' character brought to mind Blain and "Ol' Painless". (Where was this gun for Predators?!) The Expendables had fun with knives as well, and the night vision shootout was spot-on fun for action movie freaks. What's cooler than blood spurts? Blood spurts in purple and yellow. This dream cast is what I was really hoping for for Predators, but I'm glad to get it in any form, and hope they make Expendables 2. I read they considered 50 Cent. That would be great. But Forrest Whitaker? No, thank you.

The Expendables had LOTS of action. When it didn't (the dialog parts), I think it was just my anticipation getting in the way of enjoying the movie. I think I expected every minute to be full-on action because there were so many stars. Arnold, Bruce, Mickey, and Eric Roberts were just window dressing, but it's a boys club and cool guys have cool friends. If I see this movie three more times and can hear a couple of repeatable cheesy lines, I'll be set, and ready to buy it on DVD and watch it over and over. I can already hear the whump whump whump sound of the AA12 bothering my neighbors . . .

___________________________________________________

There was one sad note I couldn't ignore of a super skinny old horse in the poppy fields scene. Guys don't seem to notice these things, but it took me right out of the escapist action fantasy.

Check out this blog site for set photos:
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