When I first heard about “The Expendables,” I was excited because this would be the Governator’s first opportunity to redeem himself for that travesty known as “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines” (Sly Stallone returning to his pre-Rocky Balboa days was just a bonus). I was also excited at the prospect of seeing every action star I grew up with, save for Wesley Snipes (Harrison Ford doesn’t count) in one movie. Unfortunately, it also made me think about a hard truth: Hollywood hasn’t made a real action movie since these guys passed their prime. These five clips made me yen for the early- to mid-’90s, but it also gave me a glimmer of hope. Perhaps these elderly tough guys could kick Hollywood in the head, bring it back to its senses. Let’s go to the tape!
The only thing thing Michael Bay does well now is blowing stuff up, ideally in the most ludicrous way possible. Whereas his recent explosions have had absolutely no real contribution to the story (and in many cases are there to cover up glaringly obvious plot holes), Stallone hearkens back to the old school Bay, where fire had function. Yes, Jason Statham popping out of the front of a plane to fire a chain gun is ridiculous, but think about the genius of this explosion. They sprayed the dock down with Jet A on a flyby. Beautiful choice! Stallone gave the bad guys a second to consider why they were drenched in fuel before he lit them up! And I haven’t seen a flare gun contribute to damage since they were used to shoot down Stinger missile in “Congo.” Well played, Stallone, well played.
Before I begin I want to say from the top that Jackie Chan is the truth. He does work. However, he’s perfectly content not being hard, and sticking with Disney movies, unlike Jet Li. I also want to state at the top is that Jet Li is also the truth, he too does work, I just don’t like him as much as Jackie Chan. That said, Jackie Chan would not fit in this movie nearly as well as Jet Li and it’s simply because of scenes like this. Jackie Chan can tell a joke and break someone’s neck, but Jet Li can tell a more sarcastic joke, then proceed to blow a guy’s head off and judo chop it to the ground. Add in Sly Stallone to be the bigger alpha of the two and the makings for hard comedic genius are all there: Guns, muscles, and a well executed verbal joke that also says “man up.”
Every action movie has to have a “Bro moment.” Be it cigars and scotch a la “Crimson Tide,” a classic Butch and Sundance scene, or anytime Maverick and Goose are within a light-year of each other, there’s always a point where the film slows down and gets as real as grade A alpha males will get. Modern movies do this by essentially turning the characters into wimps for that scene. These two clips show that you can still do “touchy-feely” without getting too touchy-feely. Of the two, Mickey Rourke I think does a better job of “setting the mood,” but don’t underestimate Statham. He’s the most recently minted action star in the group, but I think he’s the last in the line Stallone/Schwarzenegger/Willis style action stars
Of all of the stars in this movie, NO ONE could have executed this scene better than Jason Statham and it’s for one simple reason: you do not screw with that man, especially when it comes to women. In fact, I will go one step further: The ONLY other actor that could have gotten away with that scene is Wesley Snipes. I say this because every time I watch this scene, I can’t help but to think of Simon Phoenix or Blade in “Blade: Trinity.” All three of them were justifiably cocky as they went about and settled their beef, they broke bones in a very clean, very efficient manner and then had a few extra words for both the guy their worked over, and the chick that caused the beatdown in the first place.
“The Expendables” is in theaters starting today and I’d strongly consider plunking down some cash to see it in theaters. Maybe not nine bucks, but I’d catch a matinee. It’s probably going to be worth six bucks on a hot afternoon
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