Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Expendables

The Flick: The Expendables

The Usual Suspects: Sylvester Stallone (who, OMG! also directed), Bruce Willis, Dolph Lundgren, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Eric Roberts, Randy Couture, Steve Austin, Mickey Rourke, and a coupla obligatory females.

The Dealio: A weaps-savvy, trigger-happy band of ex-military, operating out of the tattoo parlor of a former member (Rourke's oh-so-wholesome 'Tool'). They are the go-to elite for trouble spots 'n' sitches throughout the globe. For a price. But, of course you know, deep down inside, that they also want to help the widows and orphans, and hunger for the white picket fence and family routine. And they are ethical mercs, too: they will not take money for an unjust cause. Except for 'Shooter' (has Dolph Lundgren played a good guy recently? Like in the last 10-15 years?), who, high on life and with axes aplenty to grind is out to be- in the words of John McClane- the monkey in the wrench.

The Grading Session: This is gonna leave a mark: for the first time ever, in the history of this blog, I'm gonna hafta deduct pengies. So. Here 'tis: -4.79 pengies out of a possible 5 pengies. I can never get that hour back. Statham was the only character even vaguely interesting, and he was given far too little to do. One of the characters (OK, it was Eric Roberts) listens to someone explaining something and mutters, 'Yeah, yeah, bad Shakespeare...' To that, I have two things to say, Eric-baby (and ostensibly, Stallone et al, who put these words into his mouth):
1) No such thing as bad Shakespeare; and
2) You wish!

Lessons Learned: Do your homework: if you read that Stallone was the producer/director/writer, step away from the ticket office. No good can come of this.
Also-(to paraphrase Vincent LaGuardia Gambini) the laws of physics apparently ceased to exist within the confines of this movie: there is a scene -I swear, no spoiler inbound-where our two main heroes, overflying the bad guys, unleash an arcing stream of aviation fuel all over the place, and, while the stream is still expelling, use gunfire to torch it off. And yet, that line of fire never follows the stream back to the plane. Lucky for our guys. C'mon!
Note to those who write action movies: there is a deal more to action-ing than blowing up people and property and copious amounts of grievous bodily damage. Sometimes, we who love the genre would really like a plot and relatable, sympathetic characters for who we can root. Stuff like that. Promise you'll work on that? Then we cool.

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