Homefront movie
7.25 out of 10
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire movie
8.75 out of 10
Disney's Frozen movie
10.0 out of 10
Delivery Man movie
6.75 out of 10
8.25 out of 10

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Expendables

High Octane Cliche
[Sylvester Stallone, Jet Li, Jason Statham, Steve Austin, Eric Roberts]

image from bp.blogspot.com

RANT: Even more turmoil has kept me from my reviews, constant reader. I have fallen under the weather a little bit and, although I managed to trudge into work last week, I could not bring myself to the movie review keyboard in order to bring you my take of "The Expendables" and "The Other Guys". Now is the time to get you those reviews!

SYNOPSIS: Barney Ross leads a group of mercenaries tasked to overthrow a dictator general of a remote South American island by the mysterious Mr. Church. As Barney and his knife-wielding second-in-command Lee scout out the mission, they realize that they are in for more than they bargained for. Barely escaping the island, Barney must choose between walking away from the assignment or return to the island in full force on a seemingly suicide mission.

"The Expendables" is probably to us post-millennium action movie goers what "The Magnificent Seven" and "The Dirty Dozen" were to our fathers. To think of all of the action stars that were appearing in the film! Stallone, Rourke, Roberts, Crews, Li, Auston, Couture, Lundgren, with Willis and "The Arnold" in cameo roles. It's an actioner geek's dream come true! The only two 80s and 90s action stars to pass on the film were Jean Claude Van Damme (rumored to needing a script before agreeing to be in the film) and Steven Seagal (who was already working on "Machete"). The movie marquee would need plenty of letters to get this cast in lights.

Stallone directed and co-wrote the screenplay with David Callaham, just as he directed and co-wrote the latest in the "Rambo" franchise. Now in his 60s, Sly proves that he can still deliver on adrenaline and abs, blood and bullets, both in front and behind the camera lens.

So while the action star power would get most of us to the theater, we still have to rely on the plot and story to keep us coming back for more. Stallone plays Barney Ross, the leader of an elite mercenary squad, with hand-picked warriors like Lee Christmas (Jason Statham) who is brilliant with the blades, but unlucky in love, Ying Yang (Jet Li) who wants a bigger monetary cut because he has to work so much harder than the others because of his physical stature, with Toll Road (Randy Couture), Hale Caeser (Terry Crews) and Gunner Jensen (Dolph Lundgren). The character names alone can attest to the caliber of story writing on the table. Sure, the mercs all sound and look cool. And Stallone made sure to highlight each actors fighting style against the baddies. Jet Li squares off against the turncoat Lundgren in an abandoned warehouse. Austin's wrestling goes a round or two against Couture's ultimate fighting. But as much as I love some arse kicking, this outing of Stallone's falls short of the success of his surprise 2008 hit "Rambo".

So while all of the actors are in place, pumped up and ready to get some, in the end "The Expendables" lives up to its title. As a cliched flick, this movie was expendabl.

Worth: Matinee or Netflix

I am also trying out a new rating system shown below based on reader reaction to my somewhat complex monetary rating scale. I will give both ratings and see what kind of reaction I muster. A movie can receive up to 5 popcorn buckets. Why popcorn buckets? Because I am a slave to the thousand + calorie delight! Enjoy!

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