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The Expendables: Turns Out God Loves Me After All

2010/08/15

Unfreakingbelievable.  I am astounded.  Really, considering I’ve waited an entire year for The Expendables to grace my local cinema, talked endlessly about how this was going to be the greatest thing to happen this year, and even came close to watching an entire movie starring Randy Couture (I did fast-forward a lot, so I can’t totally count it.  To hell with it, yes I can), I honestly, deep-down where my silent fears lie, beneath the bravado and calm face, right between ‘waking up with a spider on my eye’ and ‘I’d probably lose if I had to fight a clown in a duel-to-the-death to save my family’ I regrettably felt there was no way this wouldn’t fail me.

God damn, it feels great to be so wrong.  Expendables is everything I hoped and dreamed for and more.  This movie is balls-out, offer-no-apologies awesome.  I had already gotten a great feeling as I stood in line for the later UltraScreen showing (because gigantic screens were not, in fact, designed for cartoon dogs coming at me in 3D, they were designed for blowing shit up awesomely.  Period.), and I watched the early show let out;  what I witnessed was a parade of men with the type of smiles on their face that normally only appear when they realize the divorce was a good idea after all, or they just ate 54 ounces of beef.  Oh, and there was one hot girl, who looked completely pissed off, and her boyfriend, who couldn’t have given a shit less.  That made for some good promise.

What this wasn’t:  CGI heavy (maybe some blood).  Plot heavy (somehow, they managed to not insert a ridiculous ‘girlfriend/ex-love’ plot point as the prime motivator).  And while I was joking with the dudes I went with walking in that I would be perfectly fine if there was no dialogue after five minutes in, I was astounded that the last half-hour barely has any at all – just some one-liners dashed in amongst an assload of explosions, fire, and broken bodies.  And I didn’t even notice that until I thought about it later.

What this definitely was:  WAY better than it should have been.  I covered in length this past week where I suspected the weak links were going to lie – and I was wrong, oh so wrong.  Stallone knew what he was doing with each guy he threw into this beautiful homage/re-boot. 

Remember how I though Couture would suck?  Didn’t.  At all.  Granted, only had about three total paragraphs of dialogue, but they were solid, and the rest of the time he’s mostly dropping piledrivers and elbows on some nameless foreign despots. 

I also worried about Dolph Lundgren – who has a tremendously bigger part than I anticipated, playing the crazy member of the mercenary group who gets exiled and joins the other side.  He is really good as well, and plays a better sublime ‘fucked-in-the-skull’ than I’d ever thought possible out of him….I almost forgive him for Masters of the Universe.  Almost.

This was, nails-on, as old-school 80’s action as I could have hoped.  With the onslaught of CGI making comic-heroes workable on-screen, I forgot that really, with all the SpiderMan and Green Lanterns now constantly in production, they supplanted these guys and this genre, when there was room for both the whole time.  These were the superhero movies of my youth, truly – guys that came off as indestructible, and followed their own rules in order for justice to be served.  Welcome back, because based on the first night’s take, there will be more of these.

I’m trying not to drop a ton of spoilers in here, since this is brand-new, but I will say these things:  Statham is badder-assed than he’s ever been, Stallone makes the perfect mentor for him….and all the rest are perfect (and somehow, Mickey Rourke in a ‘retired mercenary’ part still manages to act the shit out of some dialogue).  I also assumed that Frank Zayas would be playing the evil dictator in lieu of Powers Boothe, and I was right – but I was elated to find the dictator was under the control of Eric Roberts, whose shit-eating grin is better than ever in this ultimate-douchebag role.  It’s as if Stallone wrote it just for him.

Best scene:  three-way= tie:  There’s an unendingly awesome Terry Crews scene that I can’t begin to describe without ruining it – suffice to say that he should play the Heavy Gunner/Demolitions Man in every movie that calls for it from here on out.  Jason Statham beats up a courtful of dickheads playing pick-up basketball.  And finally, Jet Li sets a stream on fire.  Yes, I figured out later it may actually have been gasoline, but there’s so much shit going down when it happens, I forgot the set-up and assumed he set water on fire.  And I now choose to remember it that way, don’t argue with me.

Oh, but there’s also an awesome fight between Couture and Austin, and one between Li and Lundgren and one between a dock and Statham in the gunner’s chair of a plane, and also……alright, you get it.  Look, let me sum up:  there’s only four ways The Expendables could have been better:

1) If the theatre owners made a group decision to not run matinees, and instead add showings at 2 and 4 in the morning.

2) If they also refused to sell popcorn and soda, and instead only allowed the purchase of 32 oz. cups of whiskey and buckets of nails.

3) Mandatory smoking of Lucky Strikes in all theaters.

4) Kurt Russell.

6 out of 7.  No doubt.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. meathorse permalink
    2010/08/16 9:54 pm

    4) Kurt Russell

    http://screencrave.com/2009-03-23/kurt-russell-said-no-to-the-expendables/

    “Kurt Russell is not interested in ‘ensemble acting’ at this time”

    You could have had it. You could have had your 7, but Kurt said “I don’t want to be in your stupid movie.” I bet that hurts right down to your soul.

  2. Jenny-Jenny Kickpants permalink
    2010/08/17 3:31 pm

    Son of a bitch must pay.

  3. MacGyver permalink
    2010/08/21 2:23 pm

    The Terry Crews scene you speak of is indeed amazing. I want an AA-12 shotgun of my own.

    For the Expendables 2, Kurt Russell had better show up, and since I’m sure he won’t have any governor duties at that point, Arnie needs to get ripped again and be more than a cameo. Also, why did Bruce Willis not have a real part in this? Was he too busy with “Cop Out?”

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  1. The Expendables: So Close to “Not Shit” « opinionatedmisfits

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