Trailer: The Expendables 2 (Official)


In 2010 Stallone released his love letter to all things 80’s action with his ensemble actioner The Expendables. The film was a modest success, but not the huge one some thought it would be considering it’s cast was made up of action stars of the past 20-30 years. Yet, it’s box-office numbers made the studio heads at Lionsgate happy enough that they greenlit a sequel.

This sequel, The Expendables 2, finally gets it’s official trailer and it looks to be more of the same as the previous film, but to a new level. The previous comes back with expanded roles for Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenneger who had brief cameos in the first film. This sequel also adds Chuck Norris to the cast and Jean-Claude Van Damme in the role of the film’s villain. There’s really no need to explain the plot of the film. What audiences should expect is lots of gunfire, explosions, testosterone-laced interaction between the actors and more explosions.

Stallone backs off the director’s chair this time around and hand’s over to veteran action director Simon West.

The Expendables 2 is set for an August 17, 2012 release date.

A Quickie Review: The Expendables (dir. by Sylvester Stallone)


Lisa Marie has already done a wonderful job of reviewing Sylvester Stallone’s latest action vehicle, The Expendables. I’ll keep my review to a quickie format since her review went into detail and my thoughts ran at a similar path.

To start things I will say that despite the obvious gigantic leaps in logic one may have to take to buy into Stallone’s latest once that leap has been taken then The Expendables becomes a piece of mind-numbingly loud, fun and entertaining piece of popcorn cinema. Yes, this film is not going to break any new grounds in cinematic history (though in terms of piecing together a cast so manly and testosterone-fueled it may). Stallone will not have found his inner-Bergman or even his closeted-McTiernan. What The Expendables has shown would be how Stallone knows exactly what his core audience wants to see.

His film is quite lean to the level of anorexic when one has to describe it’s plot and characters. The film’s main plot involves Stallone and his band of expert mercenaries (using the film’s title as their name) being hired by a Mr. Church (Bruce Willis in an uncredited cameo) who wants them to overthrow a certain dictator-general who rules a small South American island nation called Vilena. Stallone and his writers try to add some complexities to this set-up of past CIA dealings with the general and rogue agents (sounds like rogue CIA agents are the villains of the season for 2010 with The Losers and The A-Team also having their own rogue agent) and daddy issues. But all that was just gristle that could’ve been taken out of the porterhouse that this film ended up being.

The Expendables works best when bought into it as being a throwback, meat and potatoes type of action flick. It definitely owes much to the many action flicks that got churned out for film and direct-to-video in the hundreds during the 80’s. Even the casting brings to mind the typical casting list of 80’s action. Take the most recognizable (then move down the tiers) action stars of the day, put them together, add guns and explosions and you got yourself an actioner. And boy does this flick have tons of explosions and a veritable buffet table of weapons on-hand. My favorite has to be the AA-12 assault shotgun carried by Terry Crews’ character Caesar. A character who seemed written just someone will come into an action scene firing this most awesome of weapons. When Crews’ Caesar does put the AA-12 into use the theater I was in erupted in cheers (yeah, cheering nameless soldiers getting shotgunned off their feet seems tackless, but oh so fun!).

I really don’t need to go too much into the plot in detail. What I had mentioned earlier and what Lisa Marie has already written pretty much explains everything. The film’s cast of past and current action stars have chemistry together. Though I will say that the chemistry may be just due to the fact that they all are in on the joke while making the film. They seem to know not to take the screenplay seriously and just go with the flow of the action. We’re not watching a film about Stallone’s character interacting with Statham’s or Rourke’s or Li’s. We’re watching Stallone shooting the shit with the others and there just happened to be cameras around them rolling. The only thing missing from the non-action scenes between the cast members were stripper poles, dancers and a few Hell’s Angels bikers doing boucner duties (maybe the director’s cut edition of the dvd/blu-ray will put those back in).

Now, what would a Stallone flick be without talking about the action. While the action scenes are not revolutionary and not even stylisticly different the way the action in The Losers and The A-Team were shot again Stallone stuck to 80’s meat-and-potatoes. The action scenes were reminiscent of scenes from Commando, Rambo: First Blood Part II and Die Hard. It was a by-the-numbers, point a to point b style of filming an action scene that audiences will accept with a nostalgic smile or dismiss as being boring and been-there-done-that. The one thing Stallone added to these scenes which made them feel somewhat fresh and new was the brutal and gory way people reactedwhen their clumsiness made them get in the way of the thousands of bullets, shotgun shells and explosions. Stallone first showed this in its over-the-top glory in his previous film, Rambo, and he uses the same style in a slightly more subdued way in this film.

I will like to point out one particular action sequence which was brief but done with a certain panache that convinced me that Stallone should just crank out action flicks for the rest of his career. I’m talking about a point in the middle section of the flick when Stallone and Statham use their team seaplane to strafe then firebomb the waterfront docks in Vilena. Part of me knew what was going to happen when they began their run but by the time it ended I was smiling like a goofy 8-year old kid watching his first rated-R action movie. Yeah, The Expendables definitely plucked the nostalgia strings in this film-fan’s heart.

One other way to look at this flick is to compare it to Stallone’s Rambo which also had a mercenary team who unwittingly becomes sidekick to Rambo by the film’s end. I, and more than a few other reviewers, where actually interested in seeing a film with Rambo and said mercenary team in a film together. While such a film would’ve been one of the most violent if not the stadard bearer if ever made we’ll just have to settle for a more tame version with The Expendables. Maybe this flick will make that particular spin-off happen down the line.

I would like to say that The Expendables had more to offer than the guns, explosions and overwhelming aura of testosterone, but I’d lying if I did. That’s all one needed to know going into the theater to watch this flick. To expect anymore, even a decent dialogue, would be asking for sauteed mushrooms and artichokes when all that’s needed is that porterhouse cooked just above rare and a six-pack of brews. Just think of The Expendables as that kind of meal and one will enjoy the bloody fun being had by all on the big-screen.


Film Review: The Expendables (Dir. by Sylvester Stallone)


I know that I really should have hated The Expendables.  For one thing, it’s a very, traditional, let’s-blow-up-Eric-Roberts-and-save-the-damsel-in-distress action film.  Storywise — well, there really isn’t a story beyond a bunch of inarticulate, muscle-bound men blowing shit up.  The Expendables is perhaps the most hyper-masculine film since Avatar, the type of movie that was obviously not made with anyone possessing a brain or a vagina in mind. 

In short, the Expendables is the type of mainstream, action movie that — based on everything I’ve ever written on this site — I should have hated.  But you know what?  I didn’t hate it.  I’m not saying that I loved the movie (because I certainly did not) but on the whole, The Expendables is a fun movie and sometimes, that’s more than enough.

The Expendables are a group of mercenaries, led by Sylvester Stallone and Jason Stathan.  They are, of course, the best at what they do.  They must be as their existence is apparently a well-kept secret despite the fact that they all have prominent Expendables tattoos and all they drive motorcycles covered with colorful Expendable decals.  So, the question is — can you accept the fact that the movie tells us the Expendables are a secret even though they clearly would never be able to pull that off in real life?  If the answer is yes, read on.  And if the answer is no, please don’t ever talk to me because you probably lack a proper appreciation for the absurd.

Anyway, The Expendables are hired by Mr. Church.  Mr. Church is played by Bruce Willis who, in his very short scene, manages to chew up more scenery than a termite in heat.  (That’s a lot of scenery.)  Mr. Church wants the Expendables to go to a poor, island nation and overthrow the military dictator.  Or something like that.  To be honest, I never really figured out what the exact mission was other than it involved blowing a lot of shit up. 

Oh, I nearly forgot to mention that Eric Roberts is on the island too.  He’s a bad guy.  You know he’s a bad guy because he’s always stopping the action to tauntingly explain his evil plans.  (It also helps that he’s played by Eric Roberts.)  Roberts is a bit of let down as a villain and its hard not to feel that his performance was basically made up of deleted scenes from The Dark Knight.  Then again, in Roberts’ defense, he’s having to compete with memories of Jason Patric playing a similar character in The Losers.

If Roberts’ villain is disappointing, the Expendables themselves are played well enough.  While Sylvester Stallone is hardly a great actor, he knows how to play an action hero and he brings just the right mix of self-aware parody and self-righteous fury to his role.  His second-in-command is played by Jason Stathan who displays something resembling charisma for the 1st time in his odd film career.  The other Expendables don’t get much to do beyond deliver a few quirky lines of dialogue and blow stuff up.  One of them is played by Jet Li who dominates his few scenes even though he doesn’t really get to do much.  Another Expendable is played by the Old Spice Guy who, according to Wikipedia, is actually a pro-athlete named Terry Crews.  However, all of the Expendables appear to enjoy hanging out together.  You get the feeling that they had a good time making this movie and, as a result, you feel almost guilty for worrying about stuff like logic or ambiguity.

The main selling point of The Expendables is that it apparently features every single action star in existence.  Even Arnold Schwarzenegger gets to make a largely pointless cameo and deliver the film’s worst one liners while, in real life, the state he’s supposed to be running descends further and further into financial doom.  While I recognized Stallone, Stathan, Willis, Roberts, Mickey Rourke, and Jet Li, apparently everyone else in the cast used to be someone at some point as well.  Luckily, I saw this movie with my friend Jeff who got very excited as he explained to me who everyone was and why their presence on-screen was making all the men in the audience so positively giddy.  To be honest, I think I probably actually understood a little less than a fourth of the information that Jeff provided me with but he was so incredibly cute trying to explain it all.

(I imagine I probably gave him the same look that he gave me when I attempted to explain Sex and the City 2 to him.)

As I explained at the start of this review, the Expendables is not, technically, a good film but it is a lot of fun.  As opposed to the Avatars of the world, the Expendables is a movie that is at peace with what it is.  There’s no attempt to try to fool the audience into thinking that they’re seeing a work of art.  There’s something to be said for that type of honesty, especially when you consider that we’re approaching that time in the film season when every movie is going to be marketed as a sure-fire Oscar contender.

And if the film is a hyperactive overload of testosterone — well, it is what it is.  After sitting through hundreds of films based on books by Nicholas Sparks, all featuring Miley Cyrus, Emma Roberts, or Amanda Seyfried haunting the beach all to win the love of some sensitive lifeguard eunuch, there’s something undeniably appealing about watching a bunch of guys acting like guys.  Zac Efron might have the heart and soul of poet but can he blow shit up?

10 Movies I’m Looking Foward To and 5 That I Am Not And 1 That I’m Kinda Sorta Undecided On


I had all six of my wisdom teeth extracted on Tuesday.  Yes, you read that correctly.  Not only where my all my wisdom teeth impacted but I had two extra ones as well.  I was passed out during the operation and, to be honest, I wish I could be passed out for the recovery as well.  I’m bruised, puffy, and it hurts to talk.  In short, even with a healthy supply of Vicodin, I am miserable.  Boo hoo.

However, one thing never fails to cheer me up and that’s watching, discussing, thinking about, and writing about film.  Since Tuesday, I’ve had a lot of extra time to think about some of the films that are due to come out during this year.  Below, I’ve listed 16 of them.  Ten of them are movies that I’m looking forward to seeing, five are movies that I know I’m going to end up seeing and hating, and finally, one is a movie that I’m genuinely undecided on.

The Ten I’m Looking Forward To:

1) Iron Man 2 — Iron Man 2 is opening tomorrow and I’m exciting for several reasons.  First off, I loved the first movie.  Super hero adaptations usually bore me to tears but the first Iron Man was actually a lot of fun.  Traditionally, sequels are disappointing but most of the people behind the 1st movie — director Jon Favreau, Robert Downey, Jr. and Gwynneth Paltrow — are returning.  As well, you’ve got Mickey Rourke chewing the scenery and blowing things up, Sam Rockwell (who I love! love!  love! — go and rent Moon if you haven’t seen it!) as a villain, and Scarlett Johansson (Lost in Translation is one of my all time favorite movies) kicking ass in black leather.  

On a personal note, my friend Jeff once referred to me as “the Black Widow.”  At first, I was a little taken back because I thought he was suggesting that I devoured my mates but fortunately for him, he then explained he was referring to a comic book character who, like me, has red hair.  Anyway, for the longest time, that’s been an inside joke between the two of us.  I’ve always been the Black Widow even though I have no idea who she actually is.  So, imagine my delight when I found out that this is apparently the same character that Scarlett Johansson is playing in Iron Man 2!  For that reason alone, I have to see this movie. 

Finally, when I’m not obsessing on films, I work as a receptionist/secretary/file clerk/personal assistant and there are times when I’m sitting bored at my desk and I start to think about myself as if I were the character played by Gwynneth Paltrow.  I’ll sit there and wonder if maybe my boss is secretly a costumed super hero.  (I’m fairly sure that he’s not.)  Strange as it may seem, Iron Man has become the fuel for my fantasies. (Release Date: May 7th, 2010 — T0morrow!) 

2) Robin Hood — When it comes to English folklore, I tend to gravitate towards stories involving King Arthur accidentally sleeping with his half-sister and thousands of cocky knights vainly searching for the Holy Grail and getting killed in various macabre ways as a result.  As a result, I really don’t know much about Robin Hood beyond the basics.  I know that he was apparently some sort of socialist and that he liked to hang out in the forest with a bunch of “merry” men.  To be honest, the whole idea of Robin Hood has always struck me as being childish and the character bores me.  But I’m still looking forward to this latest Robin Hood film and I can explain it in 2 words: Russell Crowe.  If anyone can make Robin Hood into an interesting — even compelling character — it would be Crowe.  Director Ridley Scott also seems to be the ideal director for this movie and then toss in some speeches about taxation without representation and you’ve got the potential for the perfect Libertarian film. (Release Date: May 14th, 2010)

3) The Expendables — Yes, I am usually not a huge fan of action films and I’ve never quite understood how Sylvester Stallone ever became a star but I’m still looking forward to this movie.  Why?  Just judging from the trailer, every actor on the planet appears to have a role in the this film.  I find Jason Stathan to be about as appealing as Sylvester Stallone but Jet Li and Mickey Rourke should both be fun to watch and who wouldn’t jump at the chance to see Eric Roberts play yet another villain? (Release Date: August 13th, 2010)

4) Splice — I nearly included Splice on my list of films that I’m not looking forward to because, I swear to God, the trailer for Splice is so dull that it could be used to torture prisoners at Gitmo.  Add to that, I’ve never quite seen the appeal that Adrien Brody supposedly possesses as an actor.  However, I’m willing to take a chance on Splice because 1) it also stars one of my personal role models, the wonderful actress, director, and activist Sarah Polley and 2) director Vincenzo Natali has promised to take a very European approach to the film’s horrors (i.e. lots of casual sex with the monster serving as a symbol for something deeper than just box office receipts).  I’m looking forward to seeing if Splice can overcome Adrien Brody and live up to that promise. (Release date: June 4th, 2010)

5) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part One — Okay, I admit it.   I’m a fan.  Don’t judge me.  (Though I will also say that I think J.K. Rowling needs to get over herself in a major way.)   It’ll be interesting to see what Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson do with themselves now that their indentured servitude is done with.  Radcliffe, in particular, is capable of playing a lot more than just Harry Potter.  (Release Date: November 19th, 2010)

6) Howl — James Franco as the late poet Allen Ginsberg?  Strangely enough, I think the idea might work.  (Release Date: September 24th, 2010)

7) Machete — Robert Rodriguez finally makes a film for someone other than his kids.  How can you not be excited about the chance to see Robert De Niro and Jeff Fahey on-screen together?  Plus, Lindsay Lohan (who really should just be allowed to live her life) gets a chance to remake her image playing a socialite with a gun.  My hope is that if Machete finds success at the box office, Eli Roth will make Thanksgiving.  (Release Date: September 3rd, 2010)

8 ) My Soul To Take — Wes Craven has had an odd career and, to be honest, I struggle sometimes with whether he’s truly a great horror filmmaker or if he’s just a journeyman director who has occasionally gotten lucky.  Looking at his career, it’s hard not to wonder how the same guy who made the original Last House on the Left and The Hills Have Eyes could also be responsible for something like Cursed?  Regardless of how the actual film turns out, My Soul To Take will add another piece to the puzzle.  This will be the first film to be both written and directed by Craven in 16 years.  Hopefully, as in the majority of his better movies, Craven will be able to balance his commercial side with his sadistic side. (Release Date: October 29th, 2010)

9) Inception — My tastes usually run more towards horror than sci-fi but I find myself growing more excited about Inception with each passing day.  Not only does the plot sound like it could have easily come from a long-lost book by Philip K. Dick (one of the few sci-fi writers that I enjoy reading, A Scanner Darkly being my personal favorite) but the film is being directed by Christopher Nolan who proved with Momento that he can make the surreal compelling.  And just check out that cast — Leonardo DiCaprio, Cillian Murphy, Ellen Page, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt (who I’ve been crushing on ever since (500) Days of Summer). (Release date: July 16th, 2010.)

10) Salt — I love it when girls get to kick ass in the movies and, when she’s at her best, nobody kicks ass like Angelina Jolie.  (Release Date: July 23rd, 2010)

One That I’m Kinda Looking Forward To But I’m Kinda Not

1) Sex and the City 2 — Why are they in the desert?  How exactly can you have Sex without the City?    (Release date: May 27th, 2010) 

The Five I Am Not Looking Forward To

1) The A-Team — Yay!  It’s an action movie based on a show I’ve never heard of.  I love Liam Neeson and it’s good to see that Sharlto Copley’s underrated performance in District 9 has led to him getting more work but, sorry, I think I’ll pass. (Release Date: June 11th, 2010)

2) The Social Network — I know a lot of people are looking forward to this movie about the founding of Facebook and it is true that it’s being directed by David Fincher.  However, there are a few things that lead me to fear that this is not going to be the movie that so many people think it will be.  First off, it was written by Aaron Sorkin who is probably one of the most overrated screenwriters working today.  He may be best known for The West Wing but most of Sorkin’s work resembles the heavy-handed sermonizing of Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip.  Remember how Sorkin reacted when a few bloggers criticized his show?  This is not a guy who is comfortable with the Internet.  Secondly, the film is being produced by Kevin Spacey, another overrated talent who doesn’t so much act as much as he smugly pretends to act.  Third, and most important, The Social Network has got to be one of the worst titles I’ve heard in a long time.  Everything about this movie just screams “misfire.” (Release date: October 1st, 2010)

3) Paranormal Activity 2 — Because, you know, the first one was so good. (Release Date: October 22nd, 2010)

4) Twelve — I loved Nick McDonnell’s novel and I usually enjoy movies about decadent rich kids destroying themselves with lots of drugs and promiscuity.  I mean, if you’re going to self-destruct, you should at least look good doing it.  Unfortunately, Twelve is directed by the American Umberto Lenzi, Joel Schumacher.  Schumacher’s films aren’t even enjoyably bad.  They’re just bad.  Interestingly enough, Joel Schumacher tends to turn up in just about every movie star biography and Hollywood history book that I own.  He’s someone who has obviously been around for a very long time and who has cultivated a lot of friends.  I imagine he must be very likable in person.  But, seriously, isn’t it time to revoke his DGA membership? (Release Date: July 2, 2010)

5) Saw VII — Sorry, I got bored with the Jigsaw Killer about five movies ago.   The film’s in 3D so I’m sure we’ll get to see a severed limb fly directly at the camera.  (Release Date: October 22nd, 2010)

The Expendables: Official Trailer


It looks like Sly Stallone has figured out what he’s best at now that he’s entering the lat eyear’s of his career. He’s really not the blockbuster draw as he once was during the 80’s and at times the early 90’s. His acting career from the mid 90’s right up to the early 2000’s was one flop after another. At times his films didn’t even get a major theatrical release and went to video instead. It would seem that Stallone’s time as a relevant force in Hollywood was coming to an end.

When news broke that Stallone was going back into the Rocky franchise one more time many were groaning at another installment in a franchise many thought already dead after the fifth film. The film was to be titled simply as Rocky Balboa. When it finally came out to most everyone’s surprise it actually reviewed well and did very good box-office. It wasn’t on the same level as Stallone’s films in his hey-day but for a man whose had been relegated to direct-to-video status this was like a second-chance at being good again.

Stallone decided that if it ain’t broke then why fix a good system and decided to follow-up his successful Rocky Balboa with a fourth installment in his other popular franchise: Rambo. While this one didn’t do as well critically and in the box-office it still did well enough that now Stallone seems to have found his niche in Hollywood. He’s almost become the go-to guy for throwback 80’s type action films. Already he’s announced two more Rambo films. His next project was to be an homage to the very 80’s action films that made him famous in the 80’s: The Expendables.

This film’s casting news became almost cult-like in how film fans followed it. Some were for real while others were rumors and just fan wishing. While not every fan’s wish to who should be cast in this action-flick was met the final casting roll-call made The Expendables the most testosterone and machismo-laden film in history (IMO). Here’s the list and tell me I’m wrong…

  • Sylvester Stallone
  • Jason Statham
  • Jet Li
  • Mickey Rourke
  • Terry Crews
  • Dolph Lundgren
  • Eric Roberts
  • Randy Couture
  • Steve Austin
  • Bruce Willis
  • Arnold Schwarzenneger
  • Danny Trejo
  • Antonio Rodrigo and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira

The first official trailer was cut and pieced together by Stallone himself. While the trailer really doesn’t explain much what the film is all about it does highlight much gunplay, explosions, 80’s-style action-flick one-liners and even more explosions. Watching it after reading about the film and who was to be in it and how violent it will be made me realize that as bad as some of those 80’s action-flicks were they were fun to watch. Here’s to hoping Sly remembers that he’s making this flick to be fun and not some message and theme-laden exercise in some sort of psychology deconstruction of violence in film.

I just want him to blow shit up and do it a lot and in cool ways.