"I take orders from the Octoboss."

The Expendables 2

THE EXPENDABLES 2 is a sequel to THE EXPENDABLES. It is the second one. And all that that implies.

Like part 1 it has an incredible cast of action stars that you never thought could all be in a movie together, making a movie that is not worthy of all of them being together but does get by on the strength of, you know… those guys are all in it.

The fun opening action scene seems to have a better understanding than part 1 of how to generate excitement. It almost gives the team members thrilling first appearances, except that their battle gear and some quick cuts makes it a little difficult to recognize some of their faces. But they storm into a hostage situation in a convoy of battle vehicles covered in different action attachments (bulldozer, battering ram, detachable motorcycle) and stenciled sayings – “KNOCK KNOCK,” “COMING SOON,” “BAD ATTITUDE”. That’s great action hero swagger. These guys like to cover their vehicles with flare, so Barney’s sea plane now has Santa Claus painted on the front. (He also has a particular taste for tacky biker shit, so even when he loans somebody a pen it’s covered in chrome skulls and snakes and shit.)

It’s a well-rounded battle involving driving, shooting, blowing up a helicopter, getting on foot, ziplining, help from a sniper, getting on jet skis, escaping in the Expendaplane, and also suspense about who the hostage is, since he has a bag over his head. The action isn’t as clear as I’d like (don’t worry, I’ll whine about the closeups in Jet Li’s fight scene later) but they almost entirely ditch the shakycam of part 1 and it’s all shot better than I’ve come to expect from director Simon West (CON AIR, THE MECHANIC). So him being the director was not the death sentence I thought it was when they announced it. (Still shoulda got somebody great, though. And somebody who’s good at rewrites.)

Then the skull and guns logo slams on the screen. One complaint, one that I’ve made before: it doesn’t explode. How hard is it to know that thing should’ve exploded? Do your research, guys.

It’s a while before we get to the villain of the piece, played by Jean-Claude Van Damme, who famously and wisely turned down part 1 to star in a way better DTV movie and also edit a movie he directed that never came out. Van Damme’s parts are the highlight of the movie, so good for him. Who would’ve thought that Oscar nominated writer Stallone would ever get a credibility boost by putting JCVD in his movie?

There are some ways that the sequel doesn’t seem as desperate to prove its relevance to stupid young people as the first one did. Part 1 had some kind of shitty modern metal bullshit music in it, this one sticks to oldies. Mostly classic rock but even a little old time rock ‘n roll like PREDATOR or RED SCORPION. (Pretty good themes by Brian Tyler, too. I didn’t notice the Frank Stallone song.)

I’ve read alot about how the tone of the movie is improved, but I don’t think so. I prefer part 1’s sincerity. By far the sequel’s biggest weakness is the shockingly terrible sense of humor.

The majority of the jokes are only jokes in the EPIC MOVIE sense of the word – they remind you that there is another movie. Get it? Or in the sense of SCREAM 3 when they had Carrie Fisher in the movie and somebody said she looked like Princess Leia. Only afterwards did it occur to me that I should’ve been thrilled to see Schwarzenegger in action again. But I think the part where he and Bruce use a Smart Car as a little disposable transportation device is the only one where he doesn’t just seem like an uncle or grandpa making embarrassingly bad jokes. It’s not that he’s too old to cut it – I don’t think he is at all – it’s just that he’s not even playing a character, not even a cipher, he’s a wink in a Hawaiian shirt. I was in The Terminator. Get it? I was still in the Terminator. Guys, Terminator?

I mean, he appears out of nowhere to save everybody, he’s driving a ridiculous vehicle, it should be a great applause moment but instead he says “I’m back!” Okay, to be fair the crowd did laugh and applaud, but I just heard a groaning trombone in my head. I wish at least one character would hate Trench for saying weird things that make no sense. “Back from where? He wasn’t here earlier. What the hell is this guy talking about?”

I hate this not just because it’s amazing that adults would purposely put jokes that terrible in a professional movie that they planned to release, but also because it seems like they’re second-guessing themselves so much that they made a big action movie aimed more at the people who think action movies are a joke than people who love them. If you sort of remember the most famous movies these guys were in, but don’t respect them enough to want to see them do a movie like that again, then have we got some mild laughs for you to briefly enjoy and then forget about.

I strongly disagree with the idea that “self-awareness” is a good thing in this movie. What if TERMINATOR, COMMANDO and PREDATOR were mostly Arnold making little jokes about CONAN? Why can’t we just, like, have a movie instead? People who want this must think that the great action movies would be better if the leads turned to the camera and assured them “I know, I know, this part is ridiculous! I’m in on the joke!” Fuck that. It’s so condescending. Like Craig Baxley or Rowdy Herrington thought they were making docudramas. Absurdity is not a crime and it always works better without announcing itself. These truths I hold to be self evident or whatever.

There’s not a strong structure to the movie – it’s mostly two big action sections with some talking and scattered skirmishes in the middle. So I guess I don’t need structure to my review, I’ll just list the people who are in it alphabetically.


Although not the mainstream showcase he deserves, Adkins gets a good evil henchman role as Van Damme’s sadistic right hand man. I knew going in that his fight with Statham was shot in one day without rehearsal. Sure enough it’s not very good and, like many fights here, shot too close up and too dark. Still, I was happy that he got a few of his spinning kicks in, and a memorable death (on loan from RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK). Also, as one of the two badasses in the movie that they don’t expect the audience to know from other movies, he gets a bit of a character to play. He’s not just saying “I was in Special Forces. A ninja. Undisputed, too.”


doesn’t get a huge amount of screen time, but does get guilted into joining in the action, and runs around firing a gun. The best thing is that once he does that he loosens up and gets to be old fashioned wisecracking Bruce instead of modern stoic Bruce. A little bit, at least.


I guess some people don’t like Randy Couture in movies. I can’t relate. He has this real life tough guy appearance with decent, regular guy personality that’s just so different from movie stars and so refreshing to me. He hasn’t had a great role yet but I definitely see the potential in that episode of The Unit and that role in the Bruce Willis DTV thing, SET UP or whatever it was. Maybe he could get David Mamet to write the Toll Road spin-off.

It’s been bugging me seeing these articles and polls about “Who is the most badass Expendable?” and the scientifically correct answer (UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture) never even seems to make it into the top five. I mean I understand, he doesn’t have the action movie credentials of the others, and there are different ways to quantify “most badass Expnedable” than just “which one could fight all of the other guys for real in a row and make all of them cry.” But still, it gets at me. It seems like it should be acknowledged. Would you like to see what happened when an actual heavyweight champion boxer (not an actor playing one) fought a late-career Couture two years ago?

I knew Couture’s character Toll Road wasn’t gonna get that much play in the movie, so I rented a DVD set of UFC 45 & 46, with the main event of 46 being Couture defending his light heavyweight belt from Vitor Belfort.

I watched the fights during the day leading up to seeing EXPENDABLES 2, and there were some good ones. Highlights include Phil Baroni hugging winner Evan Tanner despite having lost merely due to a miscommunication with the ref, Joe Rogan’s embarrassed commentary about the first ever UFC bench clearing brawl after Cabbage Correira exhibited poor sportsmanship toward Tank Abbot, and B.J. Penn’s upset of seemingly unbeatable champ Matt Hughes (this was in 46, in 45 Rogan had trouble coming up with any reason at all why Penn might have a shot). Also, Penn – right after choking one of the strongest fighters ever into submission – crying and dropping to his knees after they strap the belt on him. I love that savagery-followed-by-sensitivity dynamic.

I saved the main event for after EXPENDABLES 2, but if you know your UFC history you’ll know what a mistake that was. In the first few seconds of the first round Belfort accidentally slices Couture’s eyelid with a punch, the doctor stops the bout and Couture loses the belt without even getting to fight.

So I’ll give this to EXPENDABLES 2: it’s a better display of Randy’s talents than Couture vs. Belfort II.

Unfortunately, Couture’s skills as a fighter are not used in the movie. As far as I can remember he doesn’t even fight anybody, except with guns. He’s mostly an extra, but despite not being a real actor he’s the only one besides Willis and Crews who knows how to deliver a joke. They also have him reading a book with glasses on the plane again, like in part 1. And we find out that his chosen last meal would be “cereal.”


Basically the same as in part 1 except he doesn’t get any moments as memorable as when he was firing that ridiculous gun.


A kid from Twilight or one of those types of movies. I know there was some concern about introducing a young pretty boy into the cast, possibly just so they could say “HEMSWORTH” in the advertising and make it seem like his brother Thor is in the movie. (I’m surprised they didn’t also do some “LIAM” ones so we’d think Detective John Taken was in it.)

Well, Hemsworth is fine as their talented young associate who has already earned their respect, mainly through his battle skills but also I’m sure by sharing the team’s love for thick sweaters with giant, hideous collars. Surprisingly the character is not used for generation gap jokes, just as a reminder to the team of the choice they once had to stay in the game or leave and get married and shit. If he’s also in there to try to sell tickets to young girls then it’s funny that (SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER) the little guy quickly becomes the only expended Expendable to date (END OF SPOILER END OF SPOILER END OF SPOILER).

But he shows an eagerness and physical prowess that the old guys can’t keep up with, and is likable enough that they don’t hate him for it. The one part where he doesn’t cut it is when he gets the movie’s Serious Monologue About Some Shit That Happened During the War. Not that he did a terrible job, but I remembered that Mickey Rourke’s was the highlight of part 1, and this kid (like most actors) can’t even come close.


I really can’t blame Jet for calling it a night early in the movie, and floating away to an uncertain destiny on his parachute with glowing Expendables logo. American movies have never known what to do with Jet, especially this series. He does get one fight scene where he beats up a bunch of guys, but they shoot him from his waist to not quite the top of his head – who the fuck thinks that’s how to photograph a guy kicking? The best illustration of West not understanding martial arts scenes is the punchline at the end, when Jet casually tosses away the pan that he was using as a weapon. West doesn’t even pull back for this, a body language joke.

Also keep in mind that Jet is wearing the bullet proof vest and shit for his entire appearance in this one, further obscuring his movements and poses. They don’t show off his fighting and then they make him say a joke in English, not his strong suit. (But it is one of the few jokes in the movie I thought was funny.)


Dolph in this movie is interesting because he’s playing more of a character than most everybody else, but also they decided to work in his actual educational background, talking about his master’s degree in chemical engineering. So he’s a socially clumsy crazy person who is always rejected by women (see, he’s playing a character) but also kind of a genius. He’s pretty funny in the movie, especially compared to most of the other people here. I don’t remember him doing any karate, though. Maybe I forgot about it.

Note: in one scene he’s wearing a Darth Vader t-shirt, I think because Gunnar was a good guy who became a bad guy and then became a good guy again right before he died. (but then wasn’t dead anymore.)


His part would be pretty cool if it wasn’t referencing anything. He’s the mysterious loner with ridiculous, unexplained killing powers. He makes a funny brag about himself that would be great IF it wasn’t a joke about “get it, this is what they do on the internet, these ‘Chuck Norris facts,’ we’re in on the joke everybody, we like the blogging or what have you.” And it’s even more muddled by the complication that it is probly also meant as a reference to Stallone’s COBRA, since Barney for no logical reason is upset by hearing about the defeat of a cobra. (There are also maybe 4 or 5 references to Norris being a “lone wolf,” an acknowledgment that LONE WOLF MCQUADE is one of Norris’s only good movies, or at least that it’s hard to work the phrase “Invasion USA” into dialogue.)

But the worst thing about Norris’s part is that every time he appears they play the familiar theme from THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY. I guess it’s supposed to mean “he’s a cowboy, remember, the old westerns?” but it keeps reminding me how much Chuck Norris is not even fucking close to being Clint Eastwood.

(incidentally, that would also be terrible to keep playing that theme if it was Clint Eastwood. I don’t know what they were thinking.)

Norris’s actual performance is fine though and he did get to do one of his impossible out of frame kicks.

FACT: Chuck Norris has refused to do any press for the movie since they cut out his monologue about the importance of bringing back witch trials.


He’s not in this one and that’s the big thing missing. In part 1 he poured his weird fucking soul into his scenes and that gave the whole thing alot of personality and heart that the rest of it didn’t earn. Nobody in this movie is taking the emotions as seriously as he did or being as fearlessly themselves. Unless Arnold telling shitty jokes counts, but I prefer Mickey smoking a Gandalf pipe, crying about past traumas and painting a guitar so he can destroy it.


Apparently he’ll be back.


I prefer quiet, regretful Stallone like in the Rambo series. Probly his highlight here is the funeral scene, where he gets emotional then switches to badass mode to say “Track ’em, find ’em, kill ’em.” (Maybe that line will be remembered well enough that he’ll say it as a reference in a different movie.)

But I kind of like him as this bumbling goofball. He stumbles around women, like Rocky, but in more of a jokey way. He’s trying to show that these elite warriors are also regular awkward, bickering people, which would be cool if we got more of the elite warrior stuff first.


This seemed to be less his movie than the first one, but he does get a pretty decent fight in a church while wearing a priest’s robe. It seems unfair that he gets to say “I now pronounce you man and knife” while Schwarzenegger only gets to re-use old lines. He’s still p-whipped by the girl who left him for a woman-beater in part 1, but it doesn’t really go anywhere.


Although his screen time is limited, JCVD’s Jean Vilain is the highlight of the movie, and the primary improvement over part 1. Part 1 had a great Eric Roberts with Stone Cold Steve Austin and Gary Daniels as henchmen and there was also that dictator guy. But this is a more classical action movie approach to have the central villain be a better fighter than our heroes in addition to having an evil plan. While part 1 had some murky secret-war-to-overthrow-a-dictator business this has a more clearcut evil: they dishonorably murdered an Expendable, stole dangerous weapons, and force innocent people to work themselves to death in a mine.

Van Damme also gets some of the movie’s best weirdness when he (sort of) explains the significance of his team’s goat tattoos, and then keeps calling our heroes sheep, as if he considers sheep to be the opposite of goats. This also sets up the Bad Guys Identifiable By Tattoo thing, an old classic.

They shoulda let Van Damme fight a couple different guys on the team (that’s one thing part 1 has over this – a wide variety of match-ups). But at least his fight with Stallone is a highlight of the movie. He’s having fun being menacing and he gets some good (I think fake though) kicks in.


You know, from DIAMOND DOGS. Like with Hemsworth I don’t really see the point of bringing in fresh meat when there’s not enough time to enjoy the steak, but I still enjoyed Yu as pouty-faced Maggie. They not only need her for her expertise with a particular safe and piece of equipment but for her very female-ness: the citizens of a village only point their guns away from the Expies when they see there’s a woman with them. Then she has an unexpected fucked-up side when she casually reveals that she carries surgical tools and is an expert in some kind of horrible (off screen) torture/interrogation.

* * *

But, you know. It’s like the first one. Should be way better, still enjoyed it on first viewing. Some of the internet requests Stallone took were positive developments. Please, everybody complain about the references in your reviews so they won’t do them in part 3. And then let’s keep our fingers crossed that they don’t just keep making references but also make a bunch of jokes about how bad they are. “What are you gonna do, say ‘I’ll be back’ again?” etc.

Yes, we remember you guys were in those movies. That’s why we came. If you have time could you make a new movie like that?

This entry was posted on Sunday, August 19th, 2012 at 12:27 am and is filed under Action, Bruce, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

311 Responses to “The Expendables 2”

  1. See, I was worried this would be the problem going in, but I don’t think the references are as prevalant as you say, or as big of a problem. By my count, Schwarzenegger says “I’m Back” once, and “I’ll be back” once, and the 2nd time it happens Bruce Willis even makes fun of him for it. Crews does make that lame “terminated” joke though, I’ll give you that. The only other major referential stuff is with Chuck Norris, and that’s not as inappropriate in my opinion. I would agree with you if Chuck was a major character in the movie (a la Van Damme) and they pulled that stuff, but since he only shows up in basically a cameo, I have no problem with them sacrificing character to be self-referential, it doesn’t really count as a “Chuck” movie anyway.

    I suppose it’s a taste thing, but I think this movie is WAY funnier than the first one, where almost none of the jokes worked. They even do call-backs to several of the jokes from the 1st one, making it feel like a true sequel.

    Crucially though, I think the movie takes itself seriously where it counts, the stuff with the townspeople and everything with Van Damme’s villain is played completely straight, and so ultimately I feel like the movie still takes it self seriously enough to work as it’s own action movie. Honestly, I think some of the more light-heartedness is welcome as the 1st one felt kinda dull and forgettable because it took itself so seriously with an utterly generic plot. I think this movie is closer to the kind of tone this kind of ensemble action movie should have, though I agree it overshoots a bit in the other direction. If they replaced the old references with new catch-phrases, I think it’d be perfect.

    Where I do think Expendables 2 stumbles a bit though is the middle section, which drags more than in the 1st movie. In many ways, this one peaks too early with that amazing opening, and then makes you wait a solid half hour for the next action scene. Still I’d say on the whole it’s a slightly better movie than the 1st one, which I also enjoyed a great deal.

  2. To be honest, and I think this just comes down to have different tastes more than anything, the self-awareness is pretty much what makes it work. But that said, I can step outside myself and see how it doesn’t work for everyone, and, in this case, I actually think they used that self-awareness and called it a day. They figured it’d be enough to make a great movie when in reality it was enough to make an okay movie with a lot of cool action stars with no great action scenes. I was on board with a lot of the movie, and I’d say I like it just enough, but it’s almost a “two steps forward, one step back” sort of deal.

    I mean, getting JCVD rules and he’s arguably the best part. I know he doesn’t have the same spring in his step, but how do you put him in a movie with Statham and Jet Li and not have him fight with these guys? The hand-to-hand shit is sorely lacking in both of these movies, and even the gunplay isn’t all that amazing–basically, the big money shots involve famous dudes wielding guns and shooting them at people off-screen. Without the quips and puns and one-liners and whatnot, I don’t know if there’s much of a movie, really. I think they reigned the referential stuff in just enough–I felt like it was laughing along with the shittiness of it all instead of really being condescending; in fact, I think it’d be hard for this movie to be condescending when it’s really just a shitty action movie too and isn’t going hyper-aware and commenting on the genre or anything.

    So I hope part three finds a balance where the self-awareness maybe gets put in check because they actually make a good movie. Instead of just collecting action stars like they’re action figures and keeping them in the box, why not open them up and put them in an awesome looking sandbox and go all out?

  3. I don’t know, man. I get that it would be a dream to see the big three do a straight movie together (maybe THE TOMB is that?), if you had told 12-year-old Fred that SPOILERSPOILERSPOILER




    that Bruce would be saying I’ll be back to Arnold and that Arnold would in turn say yippee ki-yay, it would be like eight days of Christmas on your birthday. And I loved it just as much now.

    I think it’s still a Stallone movie more than a thing else, so maybe less of a teamup than Sallone with special guests. But man, there is something he gets about bravado that is just a joy to watch.

    Terry Crews did get a moment, that arm scene.

    Also wasn’t it great how each of the final action scenes played out in entirety,not cutting back and forth between them so you only only get to see a few second of each at a time?

    Man, I can’t believe ERASER got a better review than this. :)

  4. The low point as far as unfunny dialogue is concerned has to be when Arnold says “I’ll be back”, followed by “Yippe ki-ya”, followed by “Who’s next, Rambo?”. Three in a row was too much for me.

    Don’t really agree with the complaints about the action, at this was probably up there with the best we’ve seen in a major action movie from Hollywood the past 10-15 years. Some shots may have been framed a bit more close than would have been ideal, but they were fucking wide shots compared the Nolans and Greengrasses of the world. The editing was stellar too, good old fashioned continuity editing.

    Part 1 had a terrible script and terrible action scenes. This one is passable in the action departement, but the script is still terrible. For part 3 I hope they also write a good script. How about some actual plotting? They should hire Mamet. I’m sure he’d do it to, since he’s familiar with military action, and is a reborn conservative.

    I love Mickey Rourke as much as the next guy, but I cannot fathom how someone could think of his terrible, neverending monologue as the highlight of part one.

  5. The Original... Paul

    August 19th, 2012 at 3:53 am

    Fred – Do ya mean “Eraser” got a more positive review, or “better” in the sense that Vern did a better job of it? Personally I thought his “Expendables 2” write-up was an excellent review of a film I’m probably never going to see (or at least pay money for). And honestly, I thought the first “Expendables” was a massive unfunny noisy mess, with “noisy” being the operative word – the editing was noisy, the scoring was noisy. I will say that I did like Steve Austin’s role in it, at least until he gets to be beaten down by a disinterested-looking Stallone. Thing is, even if it is full of unfunny reference jokes, I can’t imagine that ANYTHING wouldn’t be preferable to the first movie, which was like a particularly annoying piece of Euro-house music played at full volume in the next room – constantly loud, annoying, repetitive, and never goes anywhere interesting.

    It’s weird though because what Vern says about Dolph is kinda what I’d like to see, but the thing is, they’ve got the whole hangups of his character from “Expendables” being bonkers. I definitely want to see Dolph in a role where they play up his intelligence, but I was thinking more master tactician / stealth guy, not socially-awkward outcast. Honestly if I’d watch this film for anything, it would probably be Dolph’s role in it, since that was one of the few things I liked about the original.

    But as I said, it was a great review of a film I’m probably never going to see. I had a dream of a movie where all my favorite action stars came together, each with his own unique character, each played totally “straight”. And each person’s character would work into their action sequences – Li would be the street brawler, Stallone the veteran, Lundgren the stealth-engineer guy, etc. And between battles they’d get to sit around, plan, and just spend some good old-fashioned bonding time with each other, with a kind of tough cameraderie that would enhance their characters within the movie, not joke about them in real life.

    Well Vern has convinced me that “Expendables 2” is not this movie, not that I ever thought it would be; and quite honestly that’s the only way I can see this type of movie working for me. So I might catch it on TV or something but I ain’t gonna pay for it. With that in mind, thanks for an excellent review, Vern. This is another of those cases where your review of a film will probably bring me a lot more pleasure than the film itself.

  6. Fuck it, let´s write our own script and send it to Stallone. How hard can it be.

    Allright. How about Sylvesters former mentor has retired and lives on a smallish island, who is threatened by some evil dictator who wants to kill of the peacefull islanders. The mentor has trained some of the young guys on the island to stand up against the mercenaries who try to exterminate their village, but gets killed on their first confrontation.

    Sylvester and other expendables shows up for his funeral, bickering and joking and talking about old times. Other students of the mentor-guy show up, even guys who has fought Stallone before, but differences are set aside in respect for their old teacher. Some of his other students are turncoats, though. The dictator has actually planted a small group of mercenarys at the funeral cause he thinks that Stallone and co are on the island to help the villages. The young mercenaries gets their asses kicked, but manage to kill of some of Sylversters friends and blow up the boats and planes, thus leaving all the older mecenaries stranded on the island, with no other choice than defending themselves and the villages.

    Hmm.. We need some carchases, so maybe some of the guys go to the mainland to negotiate peace with the evil dictator, but is`s a set-up and they have to escape.

    I dunno, it`s seven samurais meets the wild bunch. The mentor has trained soldiers all over the world, so we can cast any foreign action-stars we want to.

    The village is really exotic and full with peaceloving chicks, so all the badasses get midlife-crisises and stuff, regretting wasting their lifes on blowing stuff up and defending the village might be the one thing that will make their lifes meaningfull.

  7. I read someone else on another talkback describe EX2 as “unintentionally meta”, but I think it’s the opposite, really, and by the end it’s clear that they’ve all fallen in love with the whole “dream cast” scenario (I guess, if they Clint for part 3, he’ll ride into the third act on a horse, unsheath his Magnum 44 and refer to one his films).

    Don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed it, but having slept on it I can see why this is element is so devisive to audiences. I took it as a bit of fun but it stops the film from being a film in a way and becomes a very expensive skit – Hey, Chuck’s here!

    I guess we, as the internet, only have ourselves to blame.

    What I didn’t like was the awful scenes that had the Expendaguys sitting round and trading utterly horrifc jokes. 4 writers and the gags were lame. The ones towards the end were better but still.

    And poor Couture and Crews really did have almost nothing to do (although Couture had 2 brief skirmishes – one in the village and one in the airport). What did Crews get?

    A few points that had me scratching my head: Is Arnie called Trent or Trench? And where did he go after they rescued him? He took Crew’s gun and proceded to do nothing with it til the end. And then he throws it on the floor and it’s never referred to again.

    There should’ve been a post-credit scene were crews asks for it back and Arnie says, “consider that a divorce.”

    BTW, a trailer for Simon West’s next flick, STOLEN, is out – and look who the star is!


  8. I had a great time with Expendables 2, and being the Van Damme and Stallone fan that I am, I loved that those two were the best thing about the movie (especially their very serious and very satisfying fight at the end).

    I guess I knew that Vern would have a big problem with the self-referencing and maybe get a little stuck on it. I agree with him, though. I’d much rather have them play it straight. That “Who’s next? Rambo?” line was one too many (it even serves as a reference to another reference: the one in Tango and Cash where somebody says “Who’s this guy think he is? Rambo?” or something like that).

    The problem is that The Expendables are, by their very action-ensemble nature, absurd. And as much as I prefer absurdity that can stand on its own two feet, these movies are meant to be massive, mainstream crowd-pleasers. The big audiences, who only casually watch action movies, want/need those references. We action aficionados don’t. I guess it’s kinda like asking the Twilight movies not to be aimed at 14 year old girls.

    Maybe after this initial wave of “Ha! Ha! Look, it’s all those old action dudes together!”, we’ll get something a little more sincere. But first you need your audience to accept and get comfortable with seeing them on screen together. Kind of like how Watchmen could only work as a film after that first wave of mainstream comic book movies. People had to get used to seeing people run around in bright spandex before they could start thinking of them as actual characters.

    I dunno. I find it’s best not to over-analyze these things. You take the good with the bad and at the end you either like it or you don’t. Expendables 2 was clearly created to be fun and not taken too seriously. It may not be 100% the kind of fun we all had in mind, but it still passes with flying colours, in my book.

    I had a blast and I’m watching it again as soon as I possibly can.

  9. Also, I think it’s time we give Simon West a break and promote him from “that shitty hack” to “not-great-but-harmless director-for-hire”.

    There’s nothing really offensive about his work on The Expendables 2 and The Mechanic. And I, for one, quite like Con Air.

  10. Oh I agree about Simon West. He may have directed CON AIR, but everything I’ve seen that he’s done since (that I’ve seen) have been perfectly alright, if unremarkable and not in any way memorable. He’s a journeyman, but give the man a good script, and he’ll do it justice.

  11. Man I wish there was an editing function. Or I should start reading through my short posts before i hit the “Submit Comment” button.

  12. Exactly what you said, Knox.

    The Chuck Norris “fact” in the film is a ver well known one, isn’t it?

  13. Vern take a look at this short behind the scenes of the fight scene between Sly and Van Damme: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8M6xAqK1S1o. He does the kick in that one.

  14. Great review. I feel like it resonates w/ some of my complaints in the Adkins-gets-expendables-poster thread. Good for Stallone for getting all these people to be in this movie and for getting enough people to watch it for there to be a sequel. I’d rather these movies exist than not exist. But I guess outside of Rocky and Rambo, he’s a bit out of touch or lacks self-confidence.

  15. Yeah, I’d say the humour was hit and miss in this and it compromises on having it’s own identity with all the fanservice, but in most other ways, it’s a really fun time.
    JCVD’s the best thing in it, and I’d highlight the following things his character does/says
    -The way he kills Hemsworth is really great for how over elaborate and ostentatious it was
    -perpetual sunglasses, even when in a mine
    -talking about how much plutonium they have and just thoughtfully turning away with “It’s very interesting”
    -when Adkins tells him they’ve finished in the mine, and he does this funny lean backwards that sorta says “heyyy, nice job, buddy”
    -the aforementioned tatoo/goat/sheep thing

    I think what makes Schwarzenegger’s character seem really out of place is that in the first film, they set up that he’s a counterpart/rival to Barney, with his own team, and that the two don’t seem to like each other, though here, they end up being more pally by the end, and Trench keeps showing up alone, without the rest of his men. Maybe they’re saving that for part 3?

    Also did enjoy Bruce being wisecracking again, but I do think it’s a waste that they changed Church from this shadowy, intimidating manipulator with some acerbic wit at times, to this guy who’ll feel ashamed when Barney tells him off and it prompts him to come help him out.

    I have to say I don’t remember the Jet Li fight being shot that badly, and the action in general was much improved, though initially I was distracted by all the CGI blood effects. There’s also a sense of abruptness and disjointedness at times, like in the zipline scene, where it cuts very abruptly from the shot of the team members hitting the water back to Barney and Lee surrounded, and then when that scene’s done, less than a minute later, the two of them are suddenly in a plane flying over the river.

    I also have to say with this huge a cast, they REALLY need to make these movies longer than 90 minutes to make the most of them and make the plot a little meatier, because Vilain’s plan was really a case of going from a to b to c, very simplistic. An extra half hour should help remedy that.

  16. Overall I thought it was better than the first one. Action is shot a little better, jokes are funnier, Van Damme is in it and it’s actually a TEAM MOVIE this time around! No 50 minutes devoted to Statham and Sly touring “Vilena”.

    There’s still a lot of room for improvement, though. I think the main thing they have to work on is ACTION. Open things up a little! Every scene doesn’t have to be shot in a grayish brown murky shithole. The Adkins/Statham fight really pissed me off. You have two guys who can actually move around and have physical talent, so you shoot the fight really close in a dark airplane hangar?? Stallone/Van Damme has the same problem, but I understand the murkiness because you’re dealing with two old guys. Plus, Van Damme saves that mediocre fight with his energetic line deliveries. I WANT MY MONEYYZ WURTH!!!!!!!!

    And I agree with Vern about the HEH HEH REMEMBER DIS MOVIE REFERENCE?? stuff being the most tired aspect of these films. I don’t think there’s as much of it as Vern thinks there is, but I do think all of the screentime devoted to tired Arnold/Bruno/Norris schtick should have been given to Van Damme! He brings actual charisma to his role and not just tired schtick.

  17. Okay, it’s been a couple days now, and with the clarity of hindsight I think I’m rescinding my original rating of “thoroughly okay” and downgrading it to “mostly fucking god-awful.” It’s got a few good action beats (I won’t say “scenes,” since that would imply a level of quality that stays consistent for entire minutes or more) and Van Damme and Lundgren are still entertaining as hell, but all I really remember now are the astonishingly, head-slappingly, record-breakingly shitty jokes. There was just no respite from them. Arnold and Bruce’s little catchphrase swap made me want to tear my own ears off and wear them around my neck, which would be a better reference to one of the movies these guys were in than any that made it into the actual film. And the absolute audacity of using Clint’s trademark theme for Chuck “I remember an America where nobody was gay” Norris pretty much negated everything good about the movie. Some crimes there can be no restitution for.

    There were good little bits here and there, and yeah, the action photography was improved (though still not good) but the quality of imagination on display in the action was way lower. The first one had Hale Cesar throwing a bomb, Toll Road fighting a guy on fire, and that pretty awesome nosegun strafing. This one was just dudes standing there shooting dudes who were standing there missing. There were no tactics, no teamwork, no flare. The good guys win because the bad guys can’t shoot straight. That’s it. That’s one cliche I’d have been happy to see left in the eighties.

    So yeah. Shitty, shitty movie. Worse than the first one, I’m now realizing. That one at least had heart. It had something to prove, even if it didn’t actually succeed in proving it. This one’s just a smug victory lap for a race it didn’t even win.

  18. Way better than the first one in almost every way, but I’d still say it’s a stretch to call it “good”. I can understand why the jokiness and the self-referentialness seems like a giant copout, but then again, the sincerity and more-serious plot of Part 1 made it a boring slog to sit through (amazing Mickey Rourke monologue notwithstanding). I’m also very, very curious as to what the bodycount in this movie is – it has to be one of the highest (onscreen) bodycounts I’ve ever seen. It’s the type of movie where the ending involves JCVD and about 4 cars worth of baddies, but then about 100+ people seem to materialize out of thin air to be shot.

    Vern – I’m really wondering if the theatre you saw it in had it framed wrong, b/c I thought the opening Jet Li kitchen fight was so well-choreographed and well-shot, I literally thought “man, Vern’s going to point out how good this scene is as an example of what they did right this time”. I thought the Statham church fight and his battle with Atkins were also excellent too, and I’m really picky about action scenes.

    Speaking of which, I do have to say the JCVD/Stallone fight was a huge disappointment though. I like the setup, i like the “atmosphere” line, but the fight itself was over too quick and it seemed a little too one-sided for me.

    A note about Hemsworth: I think alot of people were concerned that they were having a young, good-looking guy join the cast, since it seemed anti-thetical to the whole point of the Expendables. But it was SPOILER pretty obvious what was going to happen to him, since “not passing the torch” seems to be a recurring theme in Stallone’s movies. (He explicitly DOESN’T pass it in Rocky V and Assassins, and wasn’t Rambo II supposed to have a younger partner in it too before he kiboshed that idea?) But anyway, Hemsworth was good(he’s actually been good in everything I’ve seen him in), and his demise may have been the first time I was simultaneously sad to see a character go b/c I genuinely liked him, but also laughing out loud b/c of the way JCVD killed him. It was easily my favorite part of the movie.

  19. In James Camerons draft of Rambo II Rambo worked with a whole team, this idea was instead used in Rambo (aka John Rambo, or Rambo 4), and on surface you can see a similarity in the young sniper Schoolboy in Rambo, and Hemsworth in Expendables 2. Of course they are completely different characters, but it seem Sly wanted to take that character and throw him into the Expendables.

    I wish they would go for the gay Expendables like they had in the first draft of The Expendables. He was first suppose to be young and handsome, but then the part was offered to both Robert Knepper and Alan Tydek before the role was scrapped. He was suppose to die at the end of the film.

  20. Lone_Wolf_McWeeny

    August 19th, 2012 at 9:03 am

    I would love to see The Expendables team crossover to one of their movies like ‘Predator’?? I want to see these guys fight some alien invasion/zombie apocalypse or some shit..

  21. I think this movie had some pretty good kills.


    Van Damme gets the best kill by kicking a monster-sized knife into pretty boy Hemsworth’s heart, and he does it with so much flair and swagger. Good job, Jean-Claude.

    Adkins gets his head punched into a chopper’s tail blades. Head gets replaced with big bloody mess. It’s very abrupt, very brutal and got a nice “ouch” moment from the crowd I saw it with.

    Then there’s the satisfaction of seeing entire heads explode every time Hemsworth gets a headshot with his cannon of a sniper rifle. Exploding heads make the world a better place.

    Also, Statham and his endless supply of throwing knives, and him beating a gang of mercenaries up with that smoky thing on a chain that the Catholics use. Let’s hope Putin doesn’t see this movie. Statham might get sent to a Russian penal colony for the next few years.

  22. Oh, and also (SPOILER! RUN!) that one henchman getting turned into Swiss cheese by… everyone.

  23. The funniest part for me was the bit where the guy said the Taliban shot his dog (that whole scene was made even more ridiculous as I’ve recently been watching Generation Kill).

    I dunno, the humour in this didn’t bother me much. I mean, at least it wasn’t offensively bad and mean spirited like a Michael Bay or something, which actually leaves you feeling depressed. I kind of expected there to be a lot of crappy references in a film made now with Arnold Schwartzenegger and Chuck Norris.

    Overall I really enjoyed it, much more so than the first one. Van Damme of course was excellent, and I thought the crazy evilness of his plan (and Adkins gunning down workers once they had finished their job) was great. Something you don’t see enough of these days.

  24. “The best thing is that once he does that he loosens up and gets to be old fashioned wisecracking Bruce instead of modern stoic Bruce.”

    My favorite thing about the first Expendables was Bruce’s crazy bug-eyed grin when he asked Arnie and Sly if they were gonna suck each other’s dicks. It was a nice little taste of Classic Bruce, which you don’t get too often anymore.

  25. Gonna have to disagree with Vern and go with bullet3, Knox, Stu, and wade on this one.

    As for the “referencing prior movies” thing, it’s actually not as prevalent as people are acting like, it just stands out cause so much of it happens so close together(and almost all directed towards the “bit players” of Arnie, Bruce, and Chuck). Arnold shows up with his “I’m back” gag then within 10 minutes he has that 3 line exchange with Bruce. And there’s the “Lone Wolf” reference to Chuck followed almost immediately by the “Norris fact”. Either way though, whether or not we like it, it seems to be a hit with the audience, I can testify that I saw it in a very full theater and every one of those lines got laughs, cheers, and/or applause, so assuming we indeed get part 3, I wouldn’t expect them to vanish.

  26. The Taliban didn’t shoot the dog, the Army did!

  27. Ace Mac Ashbrook

    August 19th, 2012 at 9:57 am

    It all sounds Acceptable to me. I guess I’ll have to see it to understand how bad the gags are, but from what I can gather, I’ll be the only one laughing. Amongst my friends, there was disgust at Swchwarzenegger ripping the door off a Smart car. I thought it was a highlight of the trailer.

    I’ve also heard other people mention Schwarzenegger’s Hawaiian shirt. Is he known for these shirts in his films? Was he Ace Ventura?

    I haven’t seen it yet. But it feels like people have gone in wanting to be disappointed.

  28. I can see Vern’s point about Arnie and all the lame humor, but I think the good outweighs the bad in this one. The actions is for the most part more clearly staged and executed then in the first film and it is much more ambitious in its scope and scale. The opening action sequence in EX2 is by far better than any of the action in the first film. The improved handling of the action is more than enough to consider this film a significant improvement over its predecessor. I do agree that EX2 still feels like a missed opportunity, but what is there is a good time and very enjoyable. My inner 12 year old loved it.

  29. My wife owns a smart car, and I am always trying my hardest not to Schwarzenegger the door off.

  30. Nice review vern. I think Chuck Norris probably singlehandedly ruined this movie for me. I liked the first half of it well enough, but as soon as he shows up it’s like the whole movie just stops caring. All his scenes were horrible and embarrassing, the only way he would’ve belonged in this is as a villain. He should’ve been the guy who gets decapitated and spit on, not JCVD.

    Think about it – he could’ve been a brutal Blackwater type asshole who the Expendables have to take down. That way you can have Norris in your movie without sucking up to the gross things he represents. I also think Norris vs. Stallone would’ve been a thematically interesting matchup. It would’ve been a little like Stallone was rebuking the mid-80s stuff where he was draping himself in the American flag.

    I also think they dropped the ball with Adkins and JCVD. I love them but they got shortchanged with their big fights – Adkins vs Statham should be a marquee matchup, but it’s too short and too easy. And JCVD is basically sly’s punching bag. It seemed like a self-serving touch by Sly, just to make it so he gets to angrily dismember Jean Vilain with little resistance.

    The movie skates by on the fact that we really love most of these actors and the camaraderie between the core Expendables is fun to watch. It’s not necessary to add an extra layer of pandering on top of that, which is what most of Arnie and Chuck’s scenes do. I’m cool with one or two self-referential jokes, but it can’t be the only thing you bring to the table.

    That all said, I think it is an improvement over the original. The opening action scene is freewheeling fun and the movie overall has less fat than Expendables 1. I actually thought Jet Li’s brief appearance was really strong. Yes he’s shot from the waist up, but he doesn’t really even do much kicking in that fight. I’m a guy who hates excessively tight framing (it ruined the Bourne Legacy for me), but I didn’t find it to be bad in this case.

  31. Ya I wanna mention that I thought Jet Li’s fight was EXCELLENT, better than any of the fights in part 1, and probably the best fight in part 2, so I don’t know where Vern’s coming from with that framing complaint. I had no trouble following it, and if it’s true that his feet aren’t in frame, I didn’t notice because all the action is happening with his hands, who cares.

    I would also point out that while it’s true that Crews and Couture remain kinda sidelined, they do get several cool action beats in the fight montage in the village, and in the fight montage in the airport. There were some really brutal takedowns of just picking guys up and slamming them into concrete pillars, really good stuff.

    In general I think the biggest thing this movie gets right is the team dynamics, which the 1st movie really kinda fucked up. Despite almost no setup in the 1st movie, right from the 1st action scene in this one there’s a very clear camaraderie and character relationships going on,
    where you have Jet Li and Lundgren as these kinda friendly rivals who try to one up each other, you have Couture and Crews as their own kind of mini-team, where they watch each-others backs, and then you have Stallone and Statham as the leaders of the group, with Statham kind of as the guy who will have to grow into Stallone’s role when Stallone is gone.

    I was really surprised how confident it was right from that opening action scene, it reminded me a lot of Mission Impossible 4, with the director just going “I’ve got this guys, I know what I’m doing”. The action beats are varied and well executed, the relationships are setup and played off of, there’s the excellent reveal with Schwarzeneggar, it all just works. I’d be lying if I said that wasn’t my favorite action sequence of the year right now (including The Raid, which while amazing and more focused/better executed, is basically all just small scale martial arts fights, Ex2 opening has way more variety packed into this one sequence).

    Unfortunately the rest of the movie isn’t quite able to match that, but I still think this movie delivers the kind of action punch that’s sorely missing in American action films, and I think it’s time we cut Simon West a break. The Mechanic was a step up but still choppy as hell, but I think Ex2 is the best action that guy has ever pulled off and I think he’s really growing as a director.

  32. Prediction: I might be the only one who’ll come out and admit to hating it now, but that’ll change. In one year’s time, I doubt one in ten of us will admit to ever having liked it. It’s a fun theater experience, but as a movie it almost couldn’t be worse.

  33. Majestyk, just for reference, did you like the first Expendables, and do you think this one is better/worse?

    As for your prediction, I do think more people will be negative/mediocre on it (though I don’t think most would outright “hate” it) as the initial rush wears off, but I feel like that happens with every movie that comes out regardless. The Internet has a well documented cycle of hyping things up, then declaring them to be “The best movie ever made” upon release, then a year later saying that same movie was “terrible and horrible and fuck those guys, why are they making a sequel”.

    If I had to look at it objectively without any sense of nostalgia (which is kinda impossible), I agree that after the opening sequence, it’s very haphazard and thrown together, and sort of a mess. HOWEVER, I would submit to you that the 1st Expendables had that same thrown together jumbled feel, and that if anything this sequel feels a tiny bit more cohesive. And I still like the 1st expendables 2 years down the line and could throw it on and enjoy myself, so I don’t think my opinion will radically shift on this one either.

  34. I’m not trying to say “I am right and you will all come around to my way of thinking once your puny brains have had time to adjust to the truth.” I’m just remembering how it happened with the last one. Everybody was like, “Yeah, there were all these problems but more or less I loved it.” Then a year later the consensus is that it’s a total piece of shit that got every single thing wrong. And that’s exactly how I felt. I liked it at first, but once the rush wore off all I was left with was a heap of squandered opportunities. I think the second one is even worse, because the rush lasted all of 36 hours and now all I’ve got are a bunch of shitty jokes made at my expense for being so naive as to think somebody might actually be taking this endeavor somewhat seriously. “What’s that? You expected a good movie that tried to stand on its own two feet instead of lazily coasting on past glories? What a fool you are! How could you possibly expect us to strive for excellence when all we had was $100 million and some of the toughest men who have ever appeared in motion pictures?”

    But hey, it’s not supposed to be Hamlet, I guess.

  35. I actually think the first one is better because it seemed to be trying. Most of its efforts were wasted, but there are moments I remember fondly. This one’s just gloating. A couple of semi-competent action sequences can’t make up for the overall sense of “Why should we even bother? Nobody cares anyway.” It makes me cringe just thinking about it.

  36. The jokey, self-awareness didn’t bother me, even though I had fully expected it to after seeing the trailers. Even so, my impression is that it’s really intended more for that broad, PG-13 audience Sly envisioned while shooting the film.

    Those of who were kids in the 80s got to see stuff like Van Damme vs. Stallone and Arnold fighting side-by-side with Chuck. For everyone else- the people who may not have revisited films like Terminator, Lone Wolf McQuade, or Rambo in years or even decades- Sly gave them all the on-the-nose references. Judging by the diverse, early matinee crowd I saw the film with, there’s definitely an audience for that kind of approach.

    Overall, I had a blast with this thing- as did everyone else at my screening. (There was more cheering than when I saw The Avengers.) The opening sequence is impressively frenetic, they actually remembered it’s supposed to be a “team” movie, and it’s just a helluva lot of fun watching so many old favorites back in the saddle.

    Would it have been better if Arnold had played things straighter, if only to gauge how easily he can slip back into action star mode? Maybe, but I guess we’ll find out soon enough with Last Stand. As far as Sly is concerned, I actually thought he did a better job of walking the line between camp and seriousness than he did in Expendables 1.

  37. sorry guys, I didn’t like EX1 enough to justify the time and money to see it, remember I have to drive an hour to see a movie now since my local theater became intolerably shitty, so I can only really find the motivation to do that if it’s a movie I REALLY wanna see instead of kinda wanna see

    I have some regrets, I wish I could join in on the discussion and it would have been interesting to see Chuck Norris on the big screen, but I’m saving my money for PTA’s The Master

  38. “and there was also that dictator guy”

    aka Angel from Dexter

  39. I walked out of the theatre after watching the first film thinking it was a disappointment. I knew it wasn’t gonna be as personal or “profound” as Rocky Balboa or John Rambo, but I expected something a little more competent. Rewatching it a few months later, I realized how much better it worked as a fun, throw-away action experience. I made my peace with it and now quite enjoy watching it. It just works better on a TV screen for me. In many ways, it’s a big budget DTV movie, which means that it automatically gets more tolerance from me.

    I’m generally like that with a lot of movies, especially the ones that don’t try as hard as I wanted them to. As long as the movie doesn’t offend me, I’m usually fine with just letting it be what it is.

    I think Expendables 2 is gonna be very rewatchable. It’s a big, silly hangout movie; and I love hangout movies. More than any of the action beats, I just like being in the company of all these legendary action figures and enjoy watching them bounce their personalities off of each other. For Van Damme’s performance alone, I can never not like this movie.

    Films heavy on exposition and tedious explanations tend to bore me when I watch them again, and in that regard I think that this franchise’s generally loose structure actually (inadvertently) counts in its favour.

    Nah, this film sits just fine by me and I think it will continue to, but that may be because I really didn’t have any expectations of what kind of film I thought it should be. It’s not someone I went on a date with. It’s just that crazy guy I met at a party the other day.

  40. I went back and watched (most of) part 1 on ye old Netflix Instant, and I stand by my assessment. And I’m not sure but “big budget DTV movie” feels like an oxymoron. And that’s the point: Expendables 1 had all the resources to do something great, and it failed. Won’t see part 2 for awhile, so can’t speak for that directly. Another thing I noticed from part 1 is how a lot of the chummy macho ribbing and bantering felt really strained and artificial. Just watch some of the exchanges between Stallone and Statham or Li.

    The real unsung hero is Dolph, who has more or less toiled in obscurity since UniSol 1 but was probably the most interesting thing in part EX1.

  41. I didn’t go into the movie expecting greatness, but I also didn’t go in prepared to throw all my standards out the window. I think that does the genre a disservice, as Vern so eloquently pointed out in his classic TRANSFORMERS review. Based on the comments from people who saw early screenings, I was expecting okayness. I was not expecting the movie to disappear so far up its own ass that it winked out of existence like the POLTERGEIST house. This kind of lazy self-referential humor is strictly amateur hour, and it makes me less inclined to forgive the movie’s other flaws because I don’t even feel like its heart is in the right place. It’s painful to watch all these legends and icons selling out their legacy for a few easy laughs from people who don’t give a shit about them anyway. Sure, it’s not the worst movie ever made, but I’m just not prepared to grade a movie that cost this much money, made by people who have roughly 200 movies’ worth of experience between them, on the same curve I’d grade some no-budget DTV movie made by first-timers. These are veteran film industry professionals who made a shoddy product, and I have no problem calling them on it.

  42. I agree with you that part one had all the resources to do something great and failed, Skani.

    Funny. When it comes to watching a new film from filmmakers that I take very seriously (guys like P.T. Anderson or Terrence Malick or the Coen Brothers), I always have high expectations when it comes to the actual quality of the filmmaking. I try to be a blank slate when a movie starts, so I won’t have any expectations concerning the story, structure, tone or even the performances, but I do expect a level of quality craftsmanship.

    When it comes to movies that I watch just for fun, movies like Expendables, I have just about zero expectations (even concerning the filmmaking). After being so incredibly impressed with how Rocky Balboa and John Rambo managed to transcend their subject matters, I made the mistake of expecting something from Stallone that simply wasn’t fair. I wanted him to do it again with The Expendables, but that movie taught me something: Almost of our action icons have had incredibly inconsistent careers. There isn’t a single guy in the Expendable cast that hasn’t made their share of really shitty movies. It just comes with the territory.

    I wanted the first Expendables to be The Dirty Dozen. By now it should be pretty clear what this franchise is all about. Best to accept it or move on.

    As for Majestyk saying that the first one tried harder… Yeah, I really don’t get that. In my opinion, they went out of their way to make the 2nd one an improvement on the first one in every possible way. Almost all the set pieces are not only conceived better, but also much better executed. The driving force behind the team and their mission is much clearer, more streamlined and more personal. And it feels like a team movie. Everyone had their moment to shine (some more than others, though). As for “lazily coasting on past glories”, I think the idea behind this franchise is to celebrate their past glories, while also showing us that they’re still relevant by giving us some new ones. I think Expendables 2 succeeded in doing that.

  43. Re: “accept it or move one”….

    I will accept it in the sense that I will adjust my expectations accordingly, and you needn’t worry about me losing any sleep about this.

    I will not accept it in the sense of just giving part 1 and pass. I think it was a mess and a letdown, plain and simple. Rambo (4) was preposterous, but I thought it was pretty good. UniSol: Regeneration was low-budget, but I thought it was pretty good. Last Action Hero was ridiculous, and I like it. Get Carter took it self seriously, but I liked Stallone and Rourke and Alan Cumming and the overall vibe enough to give it a thumbs up. I Come Iin Peace was goofy, but a lot of fun. Rocky Balboa was also implausible, and Rocky sure gave a lot of well-composed ad hoc speeches, but I loved it.

    EX1 was a waste of talent and money, and it failed to deliver on the promise of being an epic 80s action throwback–the very promise that was used to sell it. So, I’m not thinking about it during much of my waking life, but when a thread like this comes along, and where its express reason for existing is for people to talk about it and related matters, then of course I’m more than happy to seize the opportunity for further catharsis :)

    I’ll still see EX2, and obviously my expectations are informed by this talkback, but I’m basically coming at it from the bigger picture of Stallone and his career, and I can only put it in the context of Rocky Balboa and Rambo and, more generally, what I know about what he’s capable of. And, yeah, I know he did a lot of stupid movies in the 90s, so I’m not trying to rewrite history as if the Expendables movies are tarnishing and otherwise pitch perfect career. I’m just saying that he was effectively out of the game (doing a reality show and guest spots on Las Vegas), and he punched, wrote, stabbed, acted, shot, and directed his way back. And now he’s going back to the same dumb stuff that put his career went into the crapper in the early 2000s.

  44. “move on” — kind of takes the wind out of my dramatic monologue :)

  45. The self referential humor doesn’t ruin the movie because there really isn’t that much of it. I wasn’t a fan of that stuff either, but it only really shows up when Arnold and Chuck appear. That doesn’t take up a large part of the movie.

    I was disappointed with the first Expendables right after I saw it because I was expecting a TEAM movie with decent action. Instead I got over an hour of either one-on-one scenes with Stallone and [insert cast member here] or scenes with the boring painter general. There’s all this talk of the first one’s “seriousness”, but I remember plenty of corny jokes that didn’t work. The finale was decent, but overall the action had too many annoying quick cuts and shaky shots. I think the second movie tried to address all of this. There’s more of a team dynamic, the corny jokes were funnier and the action is clearer.

    But like I said, there’s definitely room for improvement.

  46. Wow. I’m shocked. I can’t believe so many people are poo-pooing and/or just kinda liking this movie. Expendables 2 was the greatest movie in this history of cinema. When this movie was over, I gave my buddy a high ten. I’ve given a high five many times in my life, but never a high ten. Seriously, this flick is like a mix tape of awesomeness, badassery, and shit blowing up. This film made me feel like I was twelve years old and having a fever dream where all my favorite action heroes (save for Charles Bronson) teamed up and kicked ass. I’ve already made plans to see it again this week.

  47. Interesting. I’m not too sure about this one just yet. I’ve been disappointed with pretty much everything I’ve seen this summer including ones I enjoyed. This sounds like another waste of all this talent like the first which I haven’t even revisited since that summer. A lot of winking at the audience isn’t really my flavor. It wastes too much time and no movie did it better than the first half of LAST ACTION HERO so stop. But it’s good to at least know what to expect, STALLONE & FRIENDS and really bad jokes.

    Like Vern I do prefer the more quiet or grounded Stallone character like Rambo or COBRA or the detective in NIGHT HAWKS. At least compared to the more boisterous and quippy Stallone from movies like DEMOLITION MAN and TANGO & CASH. In the first EXPENDABLES it was that latter Stallone and this one sounds like they ramped it up by 100. So I might way for BULLET IN THE HEAD which looks more like a middle ground between quiet badass and the guy with one liners.

  48. Paul – I’d also like to see an IN LIKE FLINT style movie starring Dolph that takes advantage of his academics and championship fighter badassery and highlights them as nice asides to a focused character. Not a maniac.

  49. Saw it. Thought it was mostly garbage but still better than part 1. The first one may have “heart” but it’s still a boring piece of shit that always puts me to sleep so who cares? I do agree that everyone will say they hate it in about a months time though. Maybe even less than that.

    I saw it with a bunch of norms and they seemed legitimately confused as we were walking out. They couldn’t figure out if it was supposed to be a comedy or not. Most of the audience seemed to have a similar reaction.

    Also what was Yu Nan doing to that big Albanian guy with the scalpel? She leans down and then it just cuts away. Did I miss something?

  50. * “I now pronounce you man and knife.”

  51. I meant Eraser got a more positive review. Obviously the quality of the writing of the review is stellar.

    So some of us like references and some of us don’t, some of us like funny action and some of us don’t. We’ve had long threads discussing these preferences before.

    I think what’s great about Stallone is he can do the ridiculous humor, and then take it so utterly seriously in the next scene that you really believe it. I thought the scene where Bruce calls in his chit was phenomenal. They’re talking about bullshit generic exposition but Bruce and Sly act like it’s the most important thing in the world. I thought Sly’s eulogy was great. That’s where you know he’s not condescending to us. He’ll have his fun but that’s part of the world, doesn’t mean it isn’t “real.” (Movie real, however you want to describe it.) And when he goes one on one with Van Damme, he’s not just fulfilling the obligation to kill the bad guy, he takes it really personally and means it.

    I would be that a lot of the Arnold lines were Arnold’s own suggestions. That’s what he does. The Chuck stuff, I was thinking about this, and what would you do with Chuck to give him a big moment? The only thing he’s really distinguished for is the internet meme. Is there a movie persona he even had? He was just a guy in the Cannon Films equivalent of some other movie, and maybe we can agree on Lone Wolf McQuade or I kinda liked The Octagon. I think they definitely printed the legend on that one.

    I go back to my point that EXPENDABLES is still Stallone with special guests. How different is it really from other Stallone movies? First Blood is a masterpiece and the first two Rockys were real movies, but generally his aesthetic is the outrageous dick wagging bravado movie, sometimes funnier (Tango and Cash, Cliffhanger, Demolition Man) sometimes more serious, but always overwrought emotions (Rambo II, IV, Rocky IV, Balboa, man I can’t think of his non franchises right now) at the heart of this ultra-violence.

  52. One more thing about that disappointing final fight – I like how the movie makes a big deal about Stallone wanting to fight JCVD mano-a-mano when he could have just shot him, as Stallone puts down his weapons to fight him like a man. But then SPOILER he ends up kiling an unarmed, already defeated JCVD via two entirely different weapons! I guess stabbing a defeated dude with a knife to the gut after whipping him with a chain is so much more honorable than shooting him in Expendables-world.

  53. Holy fuck. Tony Scott is dead. Yeah he made Domino, but he also gave us The Last Boy Scout, Top Gun and Man on Fire.

    RIP Tony.

  54. Just saw the news on Tony Scott. Can’t believe that he jumped off a bridge. Wow, that guy gave us True Romance, Crimson Tide, Last Boy Scout, and Man on Fire and for that I’m forever grateful.

  55. Just recently saw “the hunger” and was blown away. Never even heard of it before but it was so fucking sexy. Life is fucking hard, rip Tony.

  56. First thing I’m doing when this movie gets a DVD release is make my own cut of the film, editing out those cringe-worthy “jokes”. I was thinking about the edits I’ll do while I was watching the film.

  57. I didn’t need all the self-referential lines either. One well-timed, non-variation on “I’ll be back” would have been fine, but it got tiresome. If you’re going to be funny about it, it seems they could have worked in “Stop or My Mom Will Shoot.” That said, I had to refrain from giggling aloud when Stallone mentioned Dolph was a chemical engineer. If the call backs to past movies & lives were necessary, I wish there’d been a part when Randy Couture’s pants came down and, instead of the usual cartoony boxers with hearts, he was wearing tight shorts with ads printed on them.

    Why do you think they show Maggie with her tiny portable torture kit but don’t show her doing any actual torture? Do they think we can’t handle her getting the truth out of guys in an implied grisly manner? Do you think Simon West doesn’t think we’d want to see a lady doing some dirty work? I’m a lady who hates seeing people get tortured in movies, but in the interest of fairness we should have at least gotten to see her put a fish hook in someone’s mouth or something.

  58. This reminds me of the CABIN IN THE WOODS discussion. if you like what it’s doing it’s great. If you wanted something more in genre, less meta, well someone will make that too. We can all be happy.

  59. Majestyk, I’m going to one-up and say that I’m over the whole ‘Bring back 80’s action …’ thing

    I mean, I’m glad that guys like Stallone, Arnie and Van Damme are getting some good roles, most likely due to these movies. But the Expendables movies just made me kinda hate this whole money grubbing nostalgia. The last 3 actions movies I thought were great were The Raid, UniSol 3 (thanks to Vern’s review) and Haywire. And none of them are really like the 80’s excess action movies.

    There’s always some classics, like Die Hard, etc. But you know what, I don’t think I want any more tryhard 80’s type action movies.

  60. Wade – really? What army?

    Personally I like the fact that there was suddenly about a hundred bad guys unable to shoot straight coming from everywhere at the end. I loved that shit in COMMANDO and COBRA, and like seeing it here. I mean, Also, it’s a bit unfair saying all you remember from the film is a pile of crappy one-liners, from a film where Van Damme kicks a knife into a guy’s heart.

    The first Expendables was just boring. An hour after seeing it I had forgotten what happened, and still can’t remember now. At least this one was fun. Good call Stu about Van Damme wearing shades in a mine. That was good shit. Expendables 3 needs to have Van Damme’s character inexplicably alive.

  61. Maybe it’s just me, but I thought the humour in this film wasn’t bad. The pointless references were annoying, but not unexpected with the line-up. But the scenes where the Expendables are just hanging out, I thought, worked quite well. I liked Dolph’s terrible attempts at coming on to Yu, and the discussion on last meals. Also, how excited Stallone and Statham were at the chance of using their brass knuckles.

  62. john b-
    Billy says it was the base commander’s orders to get rid of all animals on the base

  63. Jareth Cutestory

    August 20th, 2012 at 7:51 am

    “It’s painful to watch all these legends and icons selling out their legacy for a few easy laughs from people who don’t give a shit about them anyway.”

    A buddy of mine is really excited because apparently Captains Picard and Janeway, Darth Vader, Scully, some BUFFY people, Stan Lee, John Carpenter, Silent Bob and the Boondock Saints are all coming to this geeky expo thing here in Toronto next weekend. When my buddy was listing all these names, my initial reaction was embarassment for everyone involved. But my buddy assures me that celebrities have been selling their legacies for decades in settings far more degrading than this. Apparently the kid who played Baby Darth Vader went straight from PHANTOM MENACE onto this convention circuit and makes most of his cash signing photos of the kid he no longer resembles in any way. My buddy says he looks like any other bored 20 year old working a dull job.

    I feel kind of bad that Scully will be sitting in a booth pretendng to laugh at the same jokes over and over. And I feel bad that the geeks making the jokes have to pay $20 for the opportunity. But then maybe I’m just not savvy enough to grasp the nuances of the new economy.

  64. You probably already know, but Dolph(well more likely his people) used a quote from your review on Facebook. Pretty cool, man.

  65. This is the conversation Sly and I had earlier today about the Expendables part 1:


  66. I enjoyed the tone of the film. While I know you enjoyed the introspective Rourke moments, Vern, I found them to drag the pace of Expendables. The acting wasn’t top notch, nor was the story; it was only carried by it’s cast. Even the action was a bit choppy. By comparison to Stallone’s great modern day actioner, Rambo 4, it just missed something. Unlike Rambo 4 where I cackled for the full 80 minutes at the sheer absurdity of the killing, I only burst out once. When Stone Cold full on blasted that woman. Seriously didn’t see that coming, rebellious bitch.

    My theory is Stallone recognised he can’t do a First Blood with all these heavyweights. So he has to go the other way, the Stop or My Mom Will Shoot route. He’s playing on the almost given belief that none of them can be bothered to act (which they can), and they all seem to have egos (partially true). Now while it lacked any decapitations, I found Avengers to be a good prototype of the ensemble action movie. Stallone should take note. Though I’d much rather see, if done right, a “Magnificent” Expendables. Even A Seven Samurai Expendables.

    Agreed that the script was patchy, but I liked the self-referencing jokes (barring Arn’s “I’M BACK” oldies). JCVD was indeed the highlight. Shame he died. Would have loved to see him again as a reoccuring baddie. Loved Dolph (again) as he seems to be the only one with any form of role.

    Oh and Charisma Carpenter’s cans seemed MASSIVE.

  67. If there is a part 3 then I want a Randy Couture vs lots of bad guys fight scene. The guy has skills – show them!!

  68. Rumour is that part 3 has Jean Vilain’s twin brother, Claude, in it. I shit you not. Jean and Claude!

  69. In related badass news, Marko Zaror has been cast in MACHETE KILLS

    And yes, let’s get him in Exp3, as well.

    I kinda hope they bring back JCVD for Exp3, it’d really push the cartoony-ness territory that Exp2 was heading towards.

    Team him up with Stone Cold’s vengeful twin, I say.

  70. DirkD13 – I hope to God that rumour turns out to be true. Maybe the third one could start with Claude taking out a few of the Expendables. That would definitely change things up and let us know these guys may be in actual danger this time. Also it gives the remaining guys more screentime instead of having 3 mins each. As to who would die in the beginning I don’t care, as long as it’s not Dolph or Statham.

    Also, maybe start shooting the third one with an R rating in mind and keep Norris out of there. I want these motherfuckers to curse like in the old days, especially Bruce.

    Karlos – Zaror would indeed make a fine addition. Almost a shame that Rodriguez got him first, I bet he won’t do three villains in a row.

  71. I can’t believe my first (and perhaps only) post will be about this, but here goes. I assumed Maggie was applying her excellent set of surgical tools to some very delicate and sensitive work–uh–on the men’s family jewels. And that’s why we didn’t see anything. I figured everyone else would come to that conclusion too! Apparently I’m the only one with that sadistic a mind?
    Anyway, I enjoyed Expendables 2. It felt kinda short (I watch too many Bollywood movies at 2+ hours each, I guess), I wasn’t surprised at who got offed, and I wanted more JCVD, but I had no expectations. I went for the full DBox gimmick like I did with the first one and enjoyed myself. Don’t know if a 41 year old woman whose only viewing of action movies consists of nearly everything JCVD and Seagal have done (and that seen only on dvd in the last 2 years or so) is the audience for this, but I liked it enough. JMHO. Oh yes, have Vilain’s twin brother in the 3rd one, please!

  72. Yeah, genital damage seems likely. Some have complained about not showing what she does with the tools, but I thought it worked well that way. The idea just comes up out of the blue, and before you can even process it she’s strutting out of the room victorious – I thought it was funny. And they sort of have to leave it to your imagination anyway because how could she really have gotten all that information out of somebody?

    Maybe the joke could’ve been delivered a little better. To me it would be funny if seen-it-all Barney looked white faced in horror of what just went down.

    Anyway, thanks for posting, inthedreaming. Good to have you here.

  73. I know on the surface those conventions seem embarrassing, but it’s actually a total love Fest. Imagine spending 48 hours with people admiring and celebrating you. Not a bad gig.

    I can’t take credit for this, but there is a way for Van Damme to come back. In EXPENDABLES 3′ it can be Van Damme’s twin. My editor came up with that.

    Hey Vern, when did you change the Countdown 2 Disappointment logo? Or did I just miss it the first time?

  74. dna

    “Fuck it, let´s write our own script and send it to Stallone. How hard can it be”

    If TOP GEAR the UK version, aka, the proper one) has ever teached us anything is that the expression “how hard can it be” is cursed and will karma bite you in the ass in the worst Murphy Law’s possible way. Beware.

  75. So no one wants to talk about the Terry Crews arm scene? Probably the most generous Stallone has ever been is wearing a coat in that scene so Terry’s arms take center stage.

    I think “I’m back” makes story sense. At the beginning Trench said he hates owing a favor, so he’s quick to make good. It could be we were wrong to assume he had a competing team. Maybe his business is the one man army that Arnold always was. (also remembers that TRUE LIES also has an “I married Ramo”) joke.

    And didn’t anybody else love the importance of the Church/Ross scene? Bruce and Sly making exposition life threateningly important.

    I fucking love this movie.

  76. Fred – I think maybe Sly was even more generous in the first one. In Ex2 they hold open those doors together, while in the first one he has Terry throw the bomb by himself, literally saying “It’s too heavy!” Also he doesn’t beat Stone Cold himself, he gets his ass kicked while Randy later does the job properly.

    Also I did love the Church/Ross scene in Ex2 because you can always tell when Bruce is enjoying himself in a role and this was definitely one of those times.

    Also you said earlier how smart Sly is in putting this cast together and I completely agree. First he brings in a Twilight kid to widen the audience, then… SPOILER!!!

    …kills him off to please action fans who will never watch Twilight unless they ever have daughters. (crap, I just had one of those. guess I’ll be watching that sparkly vampire shit after all in six or seven years).

  77. I can’t disparage a movie i haven’t seen yet (nor even the first one at that), but i have to say, whenever i see references to this THE EXPENDABLES movies, it imediatly comes ot my mind those fake radio anouncements from the game GRAND THEFT AUTO: VICE CITY for the fictional 80s action movie EXPLODER 2: THE EVACUATOR.

    Hell, everytime i see a mention of those real life 80s action movies (excepting DIE HARD THE FIRST and LEATHAL WEAPON THE FIRST), i’m always reminded of EXPLODER 2: THE EVACUATOR. Laughter issues.

  78. Mike A, you do not have much faith in your little daughter intelligence, do you? You want to spare her from falling into the evil cluches of the TWILIGHT saga, just give her a proper education that emphasises intelligence and personal honesty over shallow notions of impossible romances. And if she complains that you grew her into a nerd, tell her that guys dig pretty nerd chicks over cheerleaders.

  79. Yeah, I will do all I can to prevent her from becoming one of those bored chicks who will sit in a theater to talk with her friends and check her mobile device every other second, and only pay attention to the screen when some vampire dude shows his nipples. I will raise her on a steady diet of great cinema and hope that she learns to appreciate it.

    If I have time I will even throw in some of that other crap that you mention, honesty, values etc.

  80. Little girls will be on to some new shit in six or seven years. TWILIGHT will be a source of early twentyteens nostalgia by then. In any case, Hemsworth was in THE HUNGRY GAMES, not TWILIGHT. That one, from what I’ve heard, at least has a less passive female protagonist.

    Seriously, though, guys, I’m starting to get worried here. Nobody has my back on this? I’m really the only one who thinks EXPENDABLES 2: FUCK YOU, PAY ME is a fucking atrocity, an insult to the history and legacy of action cinema and all the ideals that we have stood for on this sight? Seriously?

    This could only mean two things: 1. I’ve become the Will Smith in an I AM LEGEND world where even my closest allies have become braindead zombies who are happy with any old action slop as long as it’s got real big ‘splosions in it because, hey, this crap ain’t supposed to win Oscars anyway, go watch THE ENGLISH PATIENT and stop overthinking it, gaylord; or 2. I have somehow become a humorless asshole. I’m not discounting the second option. I recognize that there was probably a time in my life when the horrific jokes and overall halfassery might not have bothered me as much, but come on, guys. The rest of the yokels are just happy to have the chance to get out of the house and drink a Coke the size of a fire extinguisher, but we should demand more than this, shouldn’t we? If we don’t, who will?

    (Says the guy who liked TRANSFORMER 2: BALLS OF STEEL.)

    In an effort to not be the world’s most joyless bastard, though, I will attempt to list the things I liked about it:

    1. The opening sequence had some good bits. I liked all the flair on the vehicles, and I liked Jet Li’s frying pan fight. There was a good fakeout i now the motorcycle was used, but the helicopter crash was some really shitty CGI, though, and it got distracting real quick how nobody was even the slightest bit concerned that any of the millions of bullets in the air might hit them, and…oops. Sorry. Positivity. Right.

    2. I thought Bruce’s whole body language in his scene in the plane was really creepy and sinister. He seemed to unfold from the cockpit like a praying mantis and stalk his way toward Sly, who seemed more legitimately cowed than I’d ever seen him before. With his bald head and sleek suit, Bruce seemed like some kind of evil alien overlord. The rest of his scenes were garbage but what are you gonna do, he’s only a movie star, you can’t expect him to give a fuck, just tell him where to stand and get off his back.

    3. When Randy Couture said “Retarded” as his nationality. Funniest thing in the movie.

    4. Basically everything JCVD did. He had a looseness to him that really set him apart from the others, whose performances were really strained and forced. He was funny, but he was funny IN CHARACTER. He didn’t suddenly start saying, “You are a hard target, but I will land a double impact on your face. You’re out of time, cop. Prepare for sudden death.”

    5. I thought the much lauded Stallone/Van Damme battle was underwhelming (generic location, no imagination to the moves, no escalation, etc.) but most of the hand-to-hand was decent. Statham was poetry in motion, and West captured him adequately. I actually enjoyed the Statham/Adkins fight, short as it was. I’m kind of a sucker for that late afternoon, shafts-of-light-through-the-windows look. These guys need to make a full movie together, but for now, it was a nice taste of how well they move together.

    6. The, um… Yeah, I got nothing. All the headshots looked like they were drawn on with MS Paint and the plane crash looked like some SyFy bullshit. I expected Sharktopus to pop out of the wreckage. This movie is fucking terrible.

    If anything, though, it has made me appreciate the first one more. That one was incompetently made but had a certain charm, while this one is competent but charmless. I’ll take charm over competence any day.

  81. I can definitely disparage a movie I haven’t seen yet. I’ve demonstrated that special ability numerous times. Between Vern, you guys, Rotten Tomatoes, and my viewing of previous entries, I think I’m in a good enough position to make some reasonable inferences but reserve the right to revise them when I actually see the movie or upon further reflection.

    On that note, I thought Expendables 4 was surprisingly well done. And **SPOILER** that Forrest Gump-esque Charles Bronson cameo was a really crowd-pleaser. **END SPOILER**

  82. Mr. Majestyk, and now you know how i feel about Jar Jar Abrams’s Trek and my bewilderment at it’s sucess and popularity among audiences, critics and geeks alike. Not a pleasant feeling, is it, this feeling of loneliness of being the only sane man but treated as the mad voice from the wilderness?

  83. I have stared too long into the abyss, my friend. You’re right. It’s cold and lonely down here.

  84. Also, am I the only who felt weird that the movie expected you to be okay with our heroes slaughtering dozens of Nepalese freedom fighters to save some rich Chinese asshole? Unless the Beastie Boys lied to me (a concept I am not willing to entertain), I thought we were supposed to be on Nepal’s side.

  85. Mr. Majestyk, i think you are mistaking Nepal with Tibet. Different countries.

    Nepal is the home of the Gurkhas, who are such badass warriors that in the 19th century they impressed the victorian british so much they rated them their equals as brothers in arms. This at a time when the brits though they were the masters of the universe and were better then everybody else just for the mere fact they were born in the UK.

  86. I am aware of the history of the Gurkhas (I have one of their awesome knives) but I thought Nepal and Tibet were in the same boat as far as China was concerned. I never claimed to be a current events expert, though, and still don’t see why I should choose the rich plutocrat and not the badass warriors.

  87. You guys are acting like it’s a commercial. Acting like life is a big commercial.

  88. Watching it for the second time today, I noticed that there are even less self-referential jokes than I remembered. It’s just that some of them are so very, very painful to stomach that they really stick to the mind (the fact that they’re not delivered very well doesn’t help. Sad to say, but Schwarzenegger has become an even worse actor than he used to be, I think).

    But I also realised how much I enjoy the other humour in the film. Van Damme’s one line (“Without respect we’re just people. Common shitty people.”) really cracks me up; and Dolph trying to chat up Maggie is pretty hilarious.

    Then there’s that bit of dialogue between Sly and Statham on the radio:

    Statham: Is that gunfire?
    Sly: Yeah!
    Statham: Can you hold them off?
    Sly: Maybe if we had a tank…. Oh shit.
    Statham: What?
    Sly: They have a tank.

    That’s some funny shit, man.

    I hope Norris doesn’t come back, though. He was mostly just a distraction. Sorry, but I think the guy’s a joke.
    Cage and Van Damme for Expendables 3!

  89. Mr. Majestyk, you can always chose a rich plutocrat that’s a badass warrior… like Batman.

    No, China most definatly doesn’t hve the4 same atitude toward Nepal as it has with Tibet. The difference being that Nepal never once in history was part of China, unlike Tibet. Etnically, the Nepalese are closer to indians. If there is a big country who could make a slight faint vlaim on Nepal, that would be India, but it would extreme foolishness (and entirely baselesss) to do so. Nepal never lost it’s independence, even when the british dominated India. The only thing that might make Nepal and Tibet comparable is that both are buddhist countries, where buddhism is the vastly majority religion practiced there. And that’s where all similiaritudes ends.

    Yeah, i do dig this type of subjects.

  90. Skani, capitalism has made life look like a big commercial. Your bewilderment is 40 years too late.

  91. That was a Beastie Boys reference.

  92. And, seriously, let’s not pretend that Hollywood in the 1970s was simply a collective of unconventional, imaginative fellows experimenting with ideas for sheer artistic gratification and expression. Capitalism is why James Cameron ever got $100 million to make T2.

    Plus, with DTV and indie films of various kinds, I’m not convinced that the opportunities to make weird movies and get an audience have diminished over the years. I’d say they’ve increased exponentially.

  93. In regards to the whole Nepal discussion, one of my all time favorite war stories was a bit I read where the Brits were dealing with some insurgents or some other bullshit in Africa(you know how that goes) back in the day, and they were having issues, so to solve their problem they hired a mercenary team consisting of a bunch of Gurkhas, Sikhs, and Dyak headhunters/trackers. Nothing like being hunted by some of the most badass warriors from the Indian continent, all of whom have a propensity for carrying(and using) very very large knives(I have one of the Gurkha knives myself, thing is massive, I have 9mm pistols that weigh less when fully loaded).

  94. Mr. M, don’t want to make assumptions about you or anything, but maybe you are being a bit cynical? I mean, you said you enjoyed the film when you watched it in the theatre, but 36 hours later decided it was terrible. I just don’t get that.

    I generally think there are two types of enjoyable action movies. The first type are the ones that grip you from start to end, ones like DIE HARD, PREDATOR, ROBOCOP, HARD BOILED. The second type are the goofier ones, which, whether intentional or not, make us laugh while still having awesome parts, ones like COMMANDO, RAW DEAL, COBRA etc. (Of course there are different scales to this and the division isn’t absolute. It’s subjective I suppose!)

    I think EXPENDABLES 2 fits in as the second type. It’s not amazing or anything, but it was enjoyable with several awesome parts. Correct me if I’m wrong, but are you annoyed it’s not an action film of the first type? I wish it was too, but am not disappointed that it’s not. “The good guys win because the bad guys can’t shoot straight. That’s it. That’s one cliche I’d have been happy to see left in the eighties.” I actually kinda like seeing that cliche again. At least it wasn’t gritty and realistic.

  95. “let’s not pretend that Hollywood in the 1970s was simply a collective of unconventional, imaginative fellows experimenting with ideas for sheer artistic gratification and expression.”

    But it was. Even the conventional mainstream fare done then would be seen as quaint or relegated and classified as indie stuff nowdays. To say that in the 70s Holywood was at it’s most inventive and rule breaking is not a mere hip thing to say in cocktail parties, it is a fact.

    “Capitalism is why James Cameron ever got $100 million to make T2.”

    Added to the fact he is quite good at his job and he can play the game like few others can. Capitalism alone would not allow a movie like T2 to be amde, it would need vision from a filmmaker who could play the game besides the mere money game.

    Also, the most expensive movie ever made in the history of cinema was made in USSR in the 1960s, Sergei Bondarchuk’s adaptation of WAR AND PEACE. And it’s a great movie and it’s epic and huge like you wouldn’t believe. The battle scenes are so huge not even with modern CGI it has been able to surpass it’s scale and scope. So there. The movie costed 100 million of 1960s dollars, which today would be the equivalent of 500 to 700 milions. No capitalist based film studio system would ever had the balls to finace such a movie. Oh yeah!

    Better not make wholesome statments if do not know all the picture and can’t guess that there are easy ways to counteract the arguments.

  96. In Majestyk’s defense, I think there is something to his observation that the initial reaction to Expendables was fairly positive, but then with time, opinions tended to become more negative. It takes time for things like repeat-viewability to become evident and to separate the nostalgic emotional reaction of seeing these guys on the big screen from the more clinical assessment of “was this really any good?”

    I have three kids, a busy job, and a lack of like-minded old school action fans, so I didn’t actually get around to seeing part 1 until it came out on video. And I was glad I waited, because it sucked. I still haven’t seen this one for see above, and it’s a toss up whether I’ll wait for video.

    Bottom line though, I do think a lot of people got burnt on part 1, and I don’t think that film is good in any sense or subgenre: serious, goofy, etc. I’ve aired my grievances on that enough. So, I think that is a case where hardcore fans may have gotten a bit caught up in the euphoria of the movie’s existence and its arrival, but when the dust settled, ’twas a nasty hangover.

  97. john_b

    ” you said you enjoyed the film when you watched it in the theatre, but 36 hours later decided it was terrible. I just don’t get that.”

    It’s called changing your mind, and some say it’s an indication of intelligence, that one can overcome the inicial glitz impact and can then see things as they are with a more cool headed mind.

    Roger Ebert used to fucking hate NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD and he completly dismissed BLADE RUNNER and BLUE VELVET when they were inicially releaced. Now he considers them great important movies. That he changed his mind is a good thing. So there you have it.

  98. asimov, re: War and Peace, one swallow doesn’t make a summer. Anyone can cherry pick an exception, but I’m sure that factoid will serve you well in your next game of trivial pursuit.

    clearly, I’m not suggesting that Michael Bay could have made T2 (any good). My point is that the films that get made and the budgets that get attached to them reflect bean counters’ calculations as to whether enough people want to see it to justify the cost. T2 got made b/c Cameron kicked ass on Aliens, Abyss, etc., and so it was a calculated but not stupid risk to spend that kind of coin. Bay could have made T2, but it would have sucked. Cameron could have made a much cheaper and less innovative but still probly could T2. My only point is that many of the amazing effects we yawn at exist precisely because big studios paid for filmmakers to employ them.

    Re: Capitalism alone would not allow a movie like T2 to be amde. I hope it’s fairly evident that I would not suggest that awesome special effects event movies somehow spontaneously emerge from the prehistoric ooze of capitalism. My only point is that technology has allowed for some awesome things to be depicted on screen (and to gradually become cheaper and cheaper–i.e., doable on smaller budgets) and the technology reflected the risk and investment of studios AND OF COURSE the balls and vision of great filmmakers. My point is not that the filmmaker is a redundant accessory, just that Alien and Star Wars and T2 wouldn’t have been made unless someone convinced some studio dude that people would pay to see them.

    Gotta go. I’m going to watch some of Kim Jong Il’s films.

  99. >>>probably good T2.

  100. John: I know I’m cynical, but I wouldn’t say my cynicism is the problem here. That would mean I’d already written it off before I saw it, which I didn’t do, because if I had, I wouldn’t have seen it at all. I skipped out on most of the big movies this summer for that very reason. Sure, I had every excuse to think it would suck, but some good reviews from a few regulars on this site had convinced me that, despite all indications, it would at least be okay. It was not. I had a good time watching it because it was fun to have a few drinks and go see a stupid movie with a friend I hadn’t seen in a while, but that’s not the same thing as liking the movie. Have you never had a good time in the moment and then thought about it later and realized everything that sucked about it? This is a movie that doesn’t hold up to a single moment’s scrutiny. Which might be fine if I didn’t hold the people involved (West excluded. Fuck that guy.) in high esteem. There’s no reason for it to suck this bad. None.

    But yes, I would have preferred a more serious approach, but that doesn’t mean I wanted it to be BOURNE-style dour. I love silly action movies. Silly action movies are my favorite genre on earth. I’ve probably seen COMMANDO 30 times, and if everything works out, I’ll see it 30 more. But a silly action movie still has to be good. It can’t JUST be silly. If it’s gonna have jokes, they need to be FUNNY jokes, not just lame references to old movies. It can’t just be a smug piece of shit that’s so pleased with itself that it never gives me a chance to warm up to it. This movie assumes I’m gonna love any half-assed bullshit it feels like crapping out, so why put in any effort? EXPENDABLES 2 is just like its heroes: so convinced of its own invincibility that it just stands there shooting indiscriminately, not caring that it’s not actually hitting any of its targets.

  101. Jaws, Saturday Night Fever, Rocky, Death Wish, The Godfather. What mainstream studio movies were so much more incredibly groundbeaking or risk taking than Brokeback mountain or Hostel or Ghost Dog or Pulp Fiction or The Mist or the Woodsman.

    My point is that the unnuanced “evil capitalism,” “things aint what they use to be,” “it’s the evil corporate machine’s fault.” I don’t buy that. They keep making expendables films (and will continue to do so) because people keep seeing them. Chris Nolan can keep doing dark, relatively Batman-less Batman films, because people keep seeing them. JCVD and Scott Adkins can keep doing DTV actioners, because people will keep seeing them. These films will continue to get made with frequency and budgets roughly proportional to the number of people who want to see them.

  102. Skani, I agree that EXPENDABLES 1 was terrible. An hour after seeing it I had pretty much forgotten everything in it. I thought it was really boring. Maybe that’s part of why I enjoyed the second one so much. My expectations were very, very low. That may actually be where Mr M is coming from, the initial “It didn’t suck” vibe has worn off and all he can think about are the crappy parts (of course I am just second guessing him here). I can see how someone could feel like that I suppose, but I don’t feel that way personally.

  103. At this point, things seem polarized enough that I am prepared to love or hate or meh Ex2. If I pop it in and have some laughs, some oh-snaps, and see some cool action sequences, I will be more than happy to give it a guilty pleasure thumbs up. That as opposed to, say, Rocky Balboa, to which I can give a totally unqualified unironic thumbs up.

  104. Mr. M, I get you now. That makes more sense! You enjoyed the social aspect, more than the actual movie. I guess I just disagree about how much it sucked. I thought that Van Damme, Dolph, and the banter between Stallone’s group (which I did think was funny enough) was enough for me to overcome the lame Arnie and Chuck parts. And the opening action scene was decent enough, as were the Statham fights (you have to at least admit the “man and knife” line was awesomely ridiculous!). I do agree that the final Van Damme vs Stallone fight was underwhelming. Van Damme should have got more shots in, and have at least seem to be winning at some stage.

    Anyway, maybe THE TOMB or BULLET TO THE HEAD will blow us all away. Here’s hoping anyway (but not too strongly!)

  105. Skani, that’s pretty much what I got out of it, and no, it’s no ROCKY BALBOA.

  106. Mr. M, I am not surprised the tone of this film does not sit well with you, but I don’t think the lame self-referential humor is as prevalent and damaging to the film as you are making it out to be. I understand that was your experience, but I know that on a number of occasions you have stated that you don’t really like Jackie Chan films that much because of your dislike of his comedic stylings and if Jackie’s humor doesn’t do it for you then EX2 is not going to be your cup of tea. I agree the self-referential humor is lame, but it is only in a few scenes (and mostly involves Arnie). It is not as persistent or as constant as you make it out to be. However, I understand if what was there was enough to turn you off to the rest of the film. It would be cool if they had made a serious ensemble action epic with EX2, but they didn’t and I had fun with the film they made.

  107. Skani

    “Jaws, Saturday Night Fever, Rocky, Death Wish, The Godfather. What mainstream studio movies were so much more incredibly groundbeaking or risk taking than Brokeback mountain or Hostel or Ghost Dog or Pulp Fiction or The Mist or the Woodsman.”

    If yout hink that none of those aforementioned 70s studios weren’t incredibly groundbreking, then you have not payed atrention to them much, nor you ever made an effort to try to conceptualize them in their era.

    And the recent movies you metioned were all made by the indie branches of the big studios, they are in effect indie movies which got to be released with the help of the parent studios, and all of them movies of a perceived limited audience. That movies like PULP FICTION or BROKENBACK MOUNTAIN became very sucessful was unexpected and wasn’t predicted by anybody.

    So, not good arguments.

    “Chris Nolan can keep doing dark, relatively Batman-less Batman films, because people keep seeing them.”

    And that is the miracle of this age that always suprises me, at a time when the exacrable stupidity of hacks like Michael Bay and JJ Abrams is what passes for good fun, even good entertaiment. I’ll never take for granted that Nolan’s movies have been this commercially sucessful in this days. it’s a frigging miracle, that’s what it is.

  108. It’s rapidly becoming asimov:PROMETHEUS::Majestyk:EXP2 around here, but I just want to say that if anybody else liked it, that’s cool. A good time is a good time, and there’s no need to dissect it the way I have. I recognize that my threshold for self-referential horseshit is pretty low right now, probably because I’m jonesing for a badass fix and I get pretty frustrated when I get a “movie” instead of the real deal. I can see how for other people that type of shit wouldn’t be the dealbreaker it was for me. I’ll say that the movie was on course to be okay before Chuck showed up, and then it pissed away all its goodwill. To me, those jokes, which were particularly insulting considering they stole valuable time away from the more interesting an underused cast members who still had their head in the game, proved that the movie was not made for a dedicated action fan like me. It was supposed to show that people were wrong for saying the old guard is a joke, but instead it just proves them right. I can’t so easily laugh off that kind of wasted potential.

  109. It’s a free country and everything but I will not allow the Expendables 2 thread to turn into a pedantic lecture about capitalism. Cool your jets, Asimov.

  110. Charles: Good point. I like Jackie’s movies because his physical skills are truly above reproach, but I don’t really like him as an actor, because I hate that Jim Carrey-style mugging he does. Always pulling stupid faces, overacting, being all, “Look at me! I’m being funny! Did you miss the part where I was being funny? No problem, I’ll do it again! Wocka wocka!” I want to strangle him. Likewise, so much of EXP2 was spent on mugging. Jockeying for attention, showing off, just absolutely convinced that they were being hilarious. There’s this emphasis on banter, even though nobody is the slightest bit witty. (Okay, “I now pronounce you man and knife is pretty great.) It’s grating and detrimental to building up any kind of badass tone. Maybe I’m overstating the amount of this kind of lame humor in the film, but it only takes few drops of pickle juice to really fuck up a glass of Kool Aid, you know what I mean?

  111. Vern, let me know if I get too pedantic. I’ll cool my jets accordingly. And I know I may come across as some apologist for capitalism or something, and that’s not my intent. I just want to be a counterweight to what I consider some fairly hamfisted cliff notes from a rage against the machine song applied to movies.

    I don’t think TDKR is a miracle. The alternating dominance of Nolan and Bay films is not unlike the election of Obama four years after the re-election of Bush (yeah, I’m reaching). None of it is a miracle. Transformers coasts on pure nostalgia and spectacle and sheen. Dark Knight films are pretty awesome and epic and engrossing, but they also tell a great story. Clearly, there’s some substantial degree of venn diagram overlap in their audiences, so there’s an unprincipled bunch who just want escapism and can somehow enjoy Transformers whilst (I guess) checking their brains at the door. Maybe they’re all 14 year old kids, I don’t know.

    I would actually grant that something like a Death Wish is a bit risky for its time, but I think Truman Show was pretty risky for ours. Chainsaw was financed by a buddy of Hooper’s for like 60K. Human Centipede was also made on the cheap. Brokeback was made by focus, but Universal put it out there in the mainstream.

    I guess my point is that at least some of the finger wagging directed at Whitey can also be directed at the audience. But the silver lining is that JCVD has an audience, too, it’s just a small one. But it’s big enough that he gets to keep making them.

    And I vote w/ my dollars. I’ve never seen a Bayformers in the theatre and I’ve flat refused to watch II and III.

  112. Mr. M, I understand the frustration with wasted potential. I agree the tone of EX2 was silly at times, but it was genuine not forced. I would argue that they never set out to prove anything with EX2. The first film had something to prove and it made enough money to validate that there is a market for the concept and franchise, but EX2 is about trying to refine the formula and having fun. Not just fun for the audience but fun for the guys making the movie. I am sure Arnie, Bruce, the Beard, Sly, JCVD, and the rest of the gang all had fun making the film and hanging out with each other on set in-between takes and when they were not working. I bet they thought those lame self-referential jokes were funny. The bad cheesy humor is a byproduct of the spectacle of the concept and these aging action icons spending time together. The humor didn’t work but their hart was in the right place.

  113. I guess I just don’t want to see a home movie of these guys having more fun than I am watching them. I want to see a good movie that does right by all the unique talent on display, and that can’t be done when there’s nobody around to say, “You know what, guys? That joke that really cracked up the crew on the day? I’m cutting it because it has no place in a feature film made by professionals.”

    I mean, I just think of what I would have given when I was 13-years-old to see Arnold and Bruce in a gunfight together. And then it actually happens and all I can think is, “Oh God, make it stop! Make it stop!” It’s like inner child abuse.

  114. Oh! You know what it’s like? It’s like the two versions of OCEAN’S 11. In the original, you had Frank and Rat Pack in the era when Las Vegas was their private playground. They felt like making a movie because they thought it would be fun, so they hired some hack to direct it and barely listened when he told them what to do. They just goofed off and riffed on their personae, and the result is a meandering, boring-as-hell film that’s nowhere near as cool as it should be. Compare that to the remake, which is equally filled with equally huge stars, but there’s a strong directorial hand at work to make sure that the job gets done and all the cats gets herded to where they need to be so that the finished product is an actual movie, not a feature-length outtake reel. The difference is night and day: the remake is endlessly rewatchable, while the original is hard to get through even once.

    Basically I’m saying we need Soderbergh for EXP3.

  115. I am sure Soderbergh would make the smartest EX film possible. It is funny that you bring up the OCEAN’S franchise because I have been thinking about how much EX2 reminds me of OCEAN’S 12 in a number of ways. They are both sequels to successful men on a mission films with an all-star cast that struggle to accommodate the cast’s schedule without having characters pop in and out and disappear for long stretches of the film, and the both star a self-referential Bruce who hams it up while riffing on his own persona. They also both feature French speaking villains. I swear the films are like thematic siblings.

  116. Well, shit, now I’m caught in a contradiction because I really like OCEAN’s 12. Although, yes, the meta stuff is really strained and unnecessary. It’s easily the worst part of the movie.

  117. I like all the OCEAN’S films. Sly would be well served to study how they utilize their cast and balance handling the spectacle of the cast while treating the narrative seriously. The fun of the OCEAN’S films is hang out with the cast, but they would all be solid heist capers even if they did not feature such a star studded cast. EX3 needs to show more of a commitment to a good story that makes better use of its cast and not rely so much on the fun and spectacle of the cast hanging out together.

  118. No one else bothered by Helmsworth calling Afghani’s “Hadjis?” I know that it’s a term that is probably thrown around regularly in military settings, but when you throw it into the middle of a protagonist’s ‘save the cat’ moment it makes me thing, “Gee, I hope he dies.” This is doubly true when it comes in the middle of two massive sequences of killing hundreds of random brown people who’s primary characteristic is their brownness.

  119. Ocean’s 13 has my favorite sound editing ever. I know that’s a weird thing to have as a favorite, but seriously, watch the movie again. The dialogue is so distinct and crisp. Really wonderful stuff.

  120. It’s funny, though, because that was my basic reaction to the Ocean’s movies: these guys sure seem like they’re having a great time making this movie, but the movie itself is just okay. And I felt like the dialogue felt a little too forced. The elevator quip-trading between Clooney and Pitt. Everything was a little too tip-of-the-tongue automatic. Cheadle’s whole cockney thing. Meh. I think Scott Caan and Casey Affleck were actually the high point. And the whole Julia Roberts self-indulgent meta-crap just re-awakened my PTSD from her insanely narcissistic presentation of the Oscar to Denzel Washington. Geez.

    I think they’re entertaining movies (I didn’t see 13), but I actually think these movies have some of the same problems as EX. These guys are just so enamored with their own coolness and having so much fun that they’re a bit out of touch. You may disagree about that assessment of Ocean’s but I would suspect that this is exactly what’s going on in Expendables. I’ve seen or read like 3 interviews in which Stallone tries to coin the expression “male pattern badness” (and it even got repeated by the USA Today critic). He’s really trying hard to make that some kind of meme or something. I think there’s a significant degree of out-of-touch-ness when Sly’s not returning to his familiar, established characters or when he’s not in the hands of a very strong director.

  121. I thought that was weird. It seems like it might’ve been put in there for realism, but since every other aspect of the character is angelic it sticks out and makes you wonder if they thought it was okay.

  122. While I really liked the writing in the first and third film, I was specifically talking about the way in which the audio was recorded and mixed.

  123. Arnold always worked with good directors, Sly almost always worked with first-timers or hired guns so that he could ghost direct the films. So, I donno what examples you can name of, ‘Very strong directors” in the last 3/4ths of his career.

  124. Skani, 13 is really good. I like it better than 12.

  125. Tawdry, no I’m not staying Stallone has worked with a very strong director. I guess I’m saying maybe he needs one to basically tell him to sit down and shut the hell up and rein in the camp or corniness. The more I think out loud via these talkbacks, the more it occurs to me that Sly kicked ass w/ Rocky Balboa and Rambo (4) precisely because those were his strongest, familiar characters, he felt confident in playing them (and confident that the audience related to them), and he felt like he truly identified withe their humanity. Those characters were like familiar friends or parts of his own consciousness, etc. In contrast to his various 1990s films, which had no such iconic character (i.e., one that you could actually name).

    I think Stallone is a good writer and director for relatively manageable linear stories where he is playing the single, strong male lead. He kicked ass with Rocky Balboa and Rambo because he was in full command of those characters, he cared deeply about them as three-dimensional people he had lived with over the years, and because the stories largely revolved around those characters, which he happened to be playing. With Expendables, it’s an ensemble piece and it’s a bit more bombastic and less character/conflict/drama, and I just don’t think he knows how to write or direct that kind of movie. He has a solid concept, some interesting characters (and goofy names), but really, past that point, he is winging it and wining it badly, doing things he is not qualified to be doing. That’s presumably why he had the good sense to bring on Simon West this last time.

    A strong director (I can only assume) is James Mangold, who can direct not only Stallone but this ensemble of totally kick-ass actors. Stallone kicks ass in Cop Land. I think he does decently in Get Carter.

    Charles, I will check out Ocean’s 13. I do like the French dude from 12. Also, I tend to amplify my criticism. Despite the things about 11 that annoyed me, I think it’s more good than bad.

  126. I think that Judge Dredd is a memorable film, even if it isn’t any good. Danny Cannon (yes, I know the name without google, and know that he went on to basically direct only CSI type shows) did a hell of a job realizing the look of that film. But again, it isn’t any good. I still have a softness for it. And John Spartan in Demolition Man (directed by a fellow who left Hollywood and became a celebrated installation artist before helming Kanye’s unforgettable “Power” video) as well as his character in Cop Land (James Mangold is probably the only strong director he’s worked with in 20+ years, and even he’s a journeyman) was quite good.

    Get Carter is literally unwatchable, in my opinion. I tried 3 times, never made it to the end.

    Oceans 13 is by far the series highpoint. Saw it twice in theaters, best movie of that summer. When you watch it, pay attention to the sound, it’s *perfect.*

  127. yeah, Judge Dredd does have some real cool looking visuals

  128. All this debate about THE EXPENDABLES’ movies quality or lack of, and how the old guard action heroes are still cool and relevant, or just sad clowns past their prime, all this different opinions, just makes me just want to watch this movies just to see it for myself.

    But i have to go fishing for the first movie first, because i don’t like to go into an already established saga by starting on a sequel. Funny enough, that’s how it happens with me on the STAR WARS and INDIANA JONES sagas. As RETURN OF THE JEDI and TEMPLE OF DOOM were my first movies i saw in those sagas. And also the reason why i now have this politic.

    So, THE EXPENDABLES part I, then. Might take a while.

  129. Griff, the visual aspect was the older JUDGE DREDD movie’s strongest quality. Danny Cannon did had a good visual sense. Funny thing is that i did watched Cannon’s first film he made before he was hired to do JUDGE DREDD, it being this english movie called THE YOUNG AMERICANS, starring Harvey Keitel. The title itself is ironic, because the young americans in the movie are in fact a bunch of british young criminals but who act like as if they copied their attitudes and ways from watching too many american crime movies. The movie is quite critical of that type of cultural importation of behavior and values, though it’s also quite critical of the more conservative attitudes of british society.

    This Cannon guys did showed promise, but it seems the flop of JUDGE DREDD, and troubles during the filming, seriously hurt his career’s prospects.

  130. GET CARTER is the 1971 british crime movie starring Michael Caine as career tough guy criminal Jack Carter. And it’s a great movie. That 2000s remake was a dream i had which, thankfully, i woke up from. It was a good dream in parts, but utterly useless and i practically forgot about it, it left no impact whatsoever. The original movie, however, is one for the ages.

  131. I will readily acknowledge that I’m in the minority on Get Carter. By no means would I put it up thee with Balboa, Rambo, Cop Land. What I liked about it was Stallone trying to be a bit more grounded in some kind of reality and less quippy. I liked his performance, and Michael Caine’s, Mickey Rourke’s, Alan Cumming’s, and some others as well. There were some really fun scenes.

    I have never seen Judge Dredd. Demolition Man was cool when I first saw it but really has not held up over time. It is campy but not funny campy. Just really dated and not quite imaginative enough to hold up over time.

  132. Skani, all other consjkderations aside, i fully agree with you on what you said about Stallone being in full command of both Rambo and Rocky characters and how that help him made two good movies out of the return of those characters to the screen. I was particually impressed with how he dealt with Rambo in RAMBO 4. Since RAMBO 2, that saga has been one i have a profound detest for, they represent all that was wrong with 80s action movies. So you cna imagine my suprise whe, midway through RAMBO IV, i found myself saying “this is actually quite good, i’m liking this a lot”. So much so, that as far i’m concerned, the Rambo saga only has two movies, FIRST BLOOD and RAMBO 4, or as it’s called here in my shores, JOHN RAMBO.

    Concerning COP LAND, i say this: Stallone’s acting in that movie is suberb. He outacts everybody else in that movie, and that’s a movie filled to the grills with fantastic actors who aren’t slowching. And Stallone outacts them by going subtle and nuanced. And that’s the most difficult type of acting to pull off. I was immensely impressed with Stallone. It does indeed prove that his excelent work in ROCKY (the first movie) and F.I.S.T. were no fluke, he really has the talent. It’s just that most of the time, he can’t be bothered with.

    Stallone with his action movies created an big icon of the action genre that is enjoyed and loved by so many. But that also means it killed an interesting and talented actor/writer/director in the brisk of a very promising career. But what do i know?

  133. Best line in GET CARTER: “Your eyes are like pissholes in the snow”.

  134. I don´t think it´s the exact phrasing,however. It´s been 10 years since I last saw the movie

  135. ShootMcKay, no, that’s pretty much how the line is. Probably more like “Your eyes are like how i remember, two piss holes in the snow”. But the scorn is the same.

    My favorite is the very often repeated “You are a big man, but you are in bad shape. With me it’s a full time job. Now behave yourself.” I find that so funny, it totally shows Carter stating the obvious, his usual tactic of threating to save himself some trouble, and his utter contempt he has for everybody in the movie (save his niece).

    Of course, there’s also the classic “A pint of bitter… in a thin glass!”. The owner of the pub that scene was shot got extremely fed up with funnymen who, thanks to the movie, would visit the place and kept saying that line as a joke drink order. If memory serves, it seems he even put a sign forbidding patrons to utter it. The power of movies.

    But truly, the movie if full of great memorable lines. The writing in that movie is simply fantastic. And most were deliberatly writen for the movie, because the book is quite devoid of that kind of smarty-pants deadpan dialogue, being it’s all told in the first person with very little dialogue. Also, Carter in the movie is far tougher, ruthless and cool blooded then in the book.

  136. I think we should consider that having such a large group of action legends together in one film isn’t really something that benefits the production and development of the film. Instead, I think it’s a major hindrance and challenge when it comes to developing a good story.

    It’s not like having Arnie, Sly, Bruce, Chuck and Jean-Claude means you’re gonna end up with the sum of those parts. You’re not gonna get an awesome “By our powers combined!” miracle movie formula that somehow magically takes all the best parts of their vast careers and rolls them all into one amplified ball of badass nirvana. Terminator x Rambo + Die Hard (to the power of Hard Target) – Delta Force = THE PINNACLE OF ACTION CINEMA! BOOM!

    Nah. Not gonna happen. Ever.

    That’s why I decided to just have fun with these movies. It’s a franchise whose very existence and foundation is built on a mad, drunken dare of a concept.

    Even if you hired the King of Ensemble Storytelling, Joss Whedon (read his run on Astonishing X-men. This guy’s damn good), you’d still have a near-impossible challenge making it work. The Avengers’ cast was juggled to perfection, but that was a team of iconic characters. Expendables consists of a team of iconic actors. Real people, each one with a lifetime long career of incredible ups-and-downs behind him.

    If you want to show an audience just how good these legends of action cinema can be, show them Die Hard, Rambo, Predator. If you want to show them these legends having a good time in each other’s company, show them Expendables 2.

  137. Um, I think we’ve pretty much talked and argued our way to equilibrium. I more or less agree with 80% of what’s been said in the last several comments.

  138. Soderberg can do his thing, but I can say with absolute certainty if he did an Expendables movie it would be nowhere near as fun as this one is…or even as fun as the first, for that matter.

  139. D.S., if HAYWIRE is anything to go by, Steve Sonderbergh can make a better action movie then most “professional” action genre directors do. And Soderbergh is a master in turning great performances from his actors. He can make non-professional actors perform very well. One wonders what wonders he could achieve from the veterans of THE EXPENDABLES, specially guys like Willis, Jet Li or Stallone who can act (and in Willis case, damn good at it), or guys like Dolph or Van Damme who finally mannaged to learn how to really act, or guys like ARnold who once upon a time they actually were able to act and did it well (like in CONAN THE BARBARIAN).

    Steve Sonderbergh directing an THE EXPENDABLES movie would be so strange and crazy it would be awesomely perfect.

  140. And as far as i’m concerned, a good movie is where fun is. Movies are fun if they are good. All that “dumb fun” for me is utter complete total nonsense. I can’t even understand how the concept even exists.

  141. Jareth Cutestory

    August 24th, 2012 at 7:07 am

    It would be more strange and crazy if Soderbergh used the cast of EXPENDABLES in OCEAN’S 11 and the cast of OCEAN’S 11 in EXPENDABLES. If that works, they can move on to CONTAGION.

  142. So there’s this rumour of an all-female Expendables doing the rounds. Now, I doubt it will ever happen, but it’s fun to brainstorm on who you would cast and what it would all be about.

    The obvious choices are Sigourney Weaver and Linda Hamilton, I guess (I still maintain that Sarah Connor would kick Ripley’s ass). Who else to cast, though? Gina Carano could have the Statham-like younger-asskicker role.

    I’d definitely have Michelle Yeoh in there.

  143. Gwendoline Christie, the tall actress from GAME OF THRONES who played Brienne, who is one of the shows top badasses. She’s so tall she makes Arnold short and small in comparison.

    Hell, Sigourney Weaver is taller then Arnold. And nobody doubts her badass credentials.

    And as CHUCK showed us, Hamilton can still play a very believable badass asskicker.

    And Michelle Yeoh, well, besides her impecable asskicking credentials, she is a damn good actress too.

    Carrano is quite a beauty, and very believable as a screen badass because, well, d’uhhh!

    Helen Mirren was also quite the badass in RED, i think she was responsible for more shooting and deaths then the rest of her male collegues combined. And she is everybody’s favorite GILF.

    Gena Davis proved she can play badass very well, sadly it was in her then husband’s terrible action bullshitfiests. But she has the skills, and she is taller then Arnold.

    Uma Truman has proved to be quite the badass.

    Milla Jovovitch has been doing nothing but badass since her mid 20s, she is now in her late 30s, so she has creed already.

    I’m convinced if anybody puts a gun to Joan Allen’s hands, she would play a mean badass lady of war.

    Julianne Moore, she’s a terrific actress she could play anything and make it look easy. Action hero? She can do that in her sleep, while looking ravishing doing it!

    Jodie Foster. Don’t laugh, she is far more physically capable then most would think if you only know her just from the dramas. And she’s a great actress, and great actors can play anything.

    Annette Bening. Tall, very talented and still damn good looking!

    Yes, i’m only focusing mostly on the older gals, with Gwendoline the sole exception (she’s still in her 20s… probably), but that’s the point of the EXPENDABLES premise, isn’t it, to allow the older guys to shine as action heroes, right?

    I just thought, they could also have Saoirse Ronan in the team, as the badass kid of the group. Ronan more then proved she badass credentials with HANNA, and she could be the infliltrating expert, like, nobody expecting much from a small pale looking teen girl, right? All this stories about veteran badasses always have the younger kid in the group, correct? Only she could also be a veteran as well since she could be doing this thing since she was 10.

  144. Jareth Cutestory

    August 24th, 2012 at 9:55 am

    Pam Grier, obviously. And, what the hell, Diana Rigg.

    And a buddy who is too lazy to open an account on this web site told me to say: Buffy, Xena, Michelle Rodriguez and Carrie-Anne Moss.

  145. Diana Riggs is pushing a bit snce she is in her mid 70s now and she hardly esembles the yong gal she used to be. But she could pull a Sean Connery and play the teams’ Obi-Wan Kenobi mentor.

    Sarah Michelle Gellar is too obvious a choice, Michelle rodriguez, for once i’d like to see her in an non-action action role where she would play a normal human being and finally display the fact she is actually a very pretty young lady, Carie Anne-Moss is a goosd choice since she is now in her mid 40s and this aply to the older gals nature of the EXPENDABLES premise, and has for Lucy Lawless, well, she does seem to be more focused on playing in less asskicking roles and you would need to way until she finished her prision sentense.

  146. I do agree that an ensemble is actually kind of a constraint. The actual amount of storytelling and character development in Avengers was virtually nil. It was still fun, but not so much a movie as a series of awesome set pieces building toward a final set piece.

    Still, look at Tarantino’s movies. They are full of all these great actors, and he manages to use them well and actually serve the story. Again, same with my favorite drum to beat, Cop Land, which was packed to the gills with high-quality actors but still used them all in a way that serves the story vs. just gratuitously.

  147. Yeah, Copland had a number of great actors, but I don’t know if I’d call it an ensemble movie.

  148. Sorry asimov, but I’ve never seen anything by Soderbergh that I actually LIKED. I don’t deny his abilities, but everything he’s done that I’ve seen has left me thoroughly disinterested. Well made, but not exciting.

  149. Hold on, D.S. you don’t like OUT OF SIGHT?

  150. I thought Out of Sight was pretty good. Still, of the two movies where Keaton plays that role, it’s gotta be Jackie Brown.

  151. Yeah, Out of Sight doesn’t appeal to me either.

  152. Wow. I thought OUT OF SIGHT was pretty much the one movie we’d all agree on here at Vern’s. OUT OF SIGHT or THE LIMEY. And the Liquid Swords album. I stand corrected.

  153. Skani, equilibrium achieved. We all agree what the movie is: jokey, referencey, action for action’s sake. Some of us like that, some of us don’t!

  154. Fred Topel, and some of us like jokey, referencey, action for action’s sake movies if they are good, and don’t like them if they are bad.

  155. Rehydrated Dehydrated Pirate Paul

    August 25th, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    Jareth – not going into detail here because I don’t want to hijack the thread, but having seen “Out of Sight” twice now, I can confirm that it is indeed a helluva lot worse than I first thought it. On every basis other than technical aptitude, I’d put it around “fucking terrible”, actually. Looks good, sounds… good, I guess, if that’s what you’re into. Is well-directed and about as well-acted as Jennifer Lopez and George Clooney can manage when they’ve got pretty much nothing to do. Never even tries to engage emotionally or intellectually, and exists for no other reason than to make its audience feel inferior by proving it is smarter than them (which, incidentally, it is not). An insulting, pretentious, vapid little movie. Most of Soderbergh’s movies just leave me cold, but this one annoyed the fuck out of me. Twice.

    On a more thread-related note… I’ve never seen “Copland” but always kinda wanted to. The trouble is there’s always been something else to watch before it. After “The Expendables” I was honestly wondering if Stallone was capable of pulling out a great performance any more. Again, I probably won’t see “Expendables 2” until it comes on TV, but most of its reviewers seem to agree that Stallone is better in it than he was in the first one, which I guess is progress… although honestly I can’t see how he could be worse. The original “Expendables” made his performance in “Judge Dredd” look positively inspired by comparison.

    Damn, I’m a grumpy fucker tonight. Sorry. Soderbergh discussions seem to have that effect on me for some reason.

  156. Paul, how dare Soderbergh annoy you! Mr. Soderbergh if you are reading this I demand you apologize for your crimes immediately! Not only did you offend Paul you did it on 2 occasions, and that is inexcuseable!!!

  157. D.S., different strokes for different folks. I am not trying to give you a hard time, and I understand if Soderbergh is not your cup of tea but I am surprised that there is not at least one film you enjoy in his vast and diverse filmography.

  158. I was actually inspired to re-watch out of sight maybe a year ago specifically to compare the Michael Keaton performances (that was inspired by me seeing Keaton in the Other Guys and remembering he was still alive). I thought it was actually better than I had remember it. Shows to go you.

    I’ve always wondered how Albert Brooks keeps getting cast in things, but he was actually quite good in this and in Drive.

  159. I think Soderbergh is overrated. He’s like the New Yorker and This American Life of directors. You’re not officially a pretentious aging Gen X’er unless you dig him.

    Still, I thought Traffic was good. I’ve busted Ocean’s chops but thought 11 was decent. The Informant! was good, i thought.

    And I do like that he tries out different things.

  160. I believe in protecting free speech, and that means even speech that is repulsive and vile, like the KKK or Paul claiming that OUT OF SIGHT is “fucking terrible.” Although we will never understand how these sick minds operate and would like to lock them up where we can ignore them because they are so unreasonable and bizarre, unfortunately we have to respect their rights in order to have a free society for all of us.

  161. Skani, I am struggling to figure out what Soderbergh has to do with the New Yorker or aging Gen X’ers. I think Soderbergh’s diverse filmography speaks for itself, but I can understand how some of his more experimental projects come off as pretentious.

  162. Charles, keep struggling. I’m confident you’ll get there.

  163. I agree. If with Vern. If we blow up the boat with Paul on it, we’re giving in to the Joker’s cynical view of humanity. And stuff.

  164. Man, I wish you could edit these posts. Even better would be if I had some proof-reading-oriented impulse control, but that’s never going to happen.

  165. Well Charles, in regards to his “vast and diverse filmography” I haven’t seen Soderbergh’s entire filmography(primarily because NONE of his filmography that i have seen has been remotely exciting, not exactly incentive to seek out more of his work) so he may have done something somewhere I might like. I’ve seen the Oceans movies, Traffic, Out of Sight, Contagion, Erin Brockovich(not by choice though), maybe one or 2 others, and well, not a one of those was above “average” in my book, and not a one of them provided as much enjoyment as even the first Expendables.

  166. D.S., I understand. I am not trying to change your opinion. I think that it is awesome you like THE EXPENDABLES more than any film in Soderbergh’s filmography (and I mean that sincerely). I noticed you didn’t mention THE LIMEY, I would recommend it but if you didn’t like any of the films you mentioned I am not going to waste your time.

  167. Sorry, D.S. I gotta call baloney sandwiches on that one.

    I get that if you just love action movies so would rather watch, say, Showdown in Little Tokyo than Hitchcock’s Psycho. If it’s an extreme genre, preference, okay. But I think Steven Soderbergh filming Jared eating a hoagie would be more entertaining than EX1.

    Some of his films are good. EX1 makes Crank look like Citizen Kane.

  168. I love that Vern just politely compared someone to a Klansman for disliking an obscure movie.

  169. Tawdry, technically he compared him to a clansman for saying it was “fucking terrible”. Also, is OUT OF SIGHT really an obscure movie?

  170. Out of Sight is somewhat obscure. It’s not pi obscure, but the average american probably couldn’t remember it w/out the assistance of the interwebs

  171. Skani, I see your point, and it might be obscure to a younger age group, but it was a successful film and a mainstream hit when it was released in theaters. BUBBLE, THE GIRL FRIEND EXPERINCE, and even THE LIMEY are obscure films but OUT OF SIGHT is not. You personally feel Soderbergh is overrated, D.S. says he doesn’t like him at all, and Paul has made his thoughts very clear, but yet you have all seen OUT OF SIGHT. I think the fact that all 3 of you have seen the film despite not being fans of Soderbergh proves that OUT OF SIGHT is not obscure.

  172. Yeah, in fact OUT OF SIGHT (which I don’t like either, as I have stated several times before) was a huge hit when it came out. Well, I don’t know how well it did at the box office (Too lazy to Google it. It probably didn’t make blockbuster numbers), but it was pretty much the huge “It” movie of 98. The one that everybody talked about, made Jennifer Lopez a star (*sarcastic clap* Well done.) and kickstarted Clooney’s movie career when it seemed to die an early death after BATMAN & ROBIN.

  173. Out of Sight opened at #4 at the box office and grossed $37 million. It had more popular recognition than a lot of Soderbergh films, but the average man/woman on the street wouldn’t remember it. That same average person would remember the Ocean’s films or Erin Brokovich.

    Out of Sight probably seems more well known to you because you’re clearly a Soderbergh enthusiast.

  174. It did about 40 million in the US. Respectable mid-level hit, when those still existed.

  175. Soderbergh is a wonderful cinematographer and quite the editor. But I don’t think he is that gifted as a storyteller.

  176. CJ, I don’t think it blew up at the box office, but it was popular and very influential when it was released. I still think it holds up as the best Elmore Leonard film adaptation ever crafted.

  177. Charles,
    Do you hold Out of Sight above Jackie Brown, or did you forget about Jackie Brown. I need to know soon, because I’ve just removed my hair piece, set it on the table, and am now cracking my knuckles.

  178. Fair point skani, but my mom does not know who Soderbergh is by name, and can’t remeber half the films she sees but she remembers OUT OF SIGHT.

  179. Well, in addition to making a film that Rotten Tomatoes assigns an impressive 93% fresh, I applaud Steven Soderbergh for the impact he has had on the lives of you and your mother. It’s a fine film, and Soderbergh is to be credited for creating a handful of good-to-very-good movies and experimenting with various genres, etc.

  180. Skani, you can put your hair piece back on. I don’t think OUT OF SIGHT is better than JACKIE BROWN (I think they are both great), but it is a better adaptation of Leonard’s work. JACKIE BROWN is Leonard but presented through a QT filter. To me JACKIE BROWN is more a QT film then a true Leonard adaptation. QT took Rum Punch and did his own thing with it, and the film is very much written in his voice. Soderbergh’s take was more of a straight adaptation of Leonard’s work and more in the authors voice.

  181. I think that’s probably fair, but then again I wouldn’t really know. I’ve never read either of them, but it’s clear that Jackie Brown is QT through and through. And I’ll be the first to concede that the average moviegoer (over 30) knows about Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill but doesn’t remember Jackie Brown. I maintain that Jackie Brown is the best of the three.

  182. I think that’s true, but it’s more true of the Ocean’s films and is even somewhat true of Jackie Brown.

    Anyway, so, while I think the criticism is true, I think there is plenty in this film to enjoy. It’s pretty formulaic, but the chemistry is great, the characters/actors are an interesting mix, etc. I am not a Clooney jock-rider, but he’s got that old school Cary Grant / Gregory Peck kind of quality going on in this, and it reminds you that J. Lo can actually be a good actress, and everybody else works pretty well, too. I think the prison scenes are funny and well-done, it’s a different side of the Keaton character, the plot moves along coherently and satisfyingly. I think it’s a good movie. I didn’t sense it being overly pretentious or high-brow.

    It seems like you’ve gone into it with a kind of snarky chip on your shoulder. But maybe not, since I see some of what you are saying in the Ocean’s movies: Hey George, Hey Brad, you’re both suave, dreamy, and quick-witted. Hey Steven, great dialogue buddy, even though no one is that cute and quick-witted in any kind of actual human interaction. Get the hell over yourselves, already, and let’s get on with the actual plot and stuff.

  183. I agree that it’s not a masterpiece. It’s a good movie. Three stars.

  184. I originally wasn’t going to voice my disagreement with Vern about Soderbergh handling Ex3, but since it’s a thing now, I do have to say I think HAYWIRE gets WAY too much of a pass round* here just because the way the HANDFULL of MOSTLY LESS THAN A MINUTE LONG hand to hand action scenes were shot in a pretty clear and coherent manner. Not that I think HAYWIRE is “bad”, per se, just a movie that could have been great, but for me, was more of an interesting letdown.
    My disappointments with that movie were in the ways it failed to actually deliver anything climactic in it’s climax, and kept it’s action limited to foot chases, the aforementioned brief fight scenes(the best and longest of which comes halfway through the movie), one car chase, and a blink and you’ll miss it firefight. This is hardly in the wheelhouse of the sort of OTT, traditional 80s style blockbuster action the Expendables series is meant to be trading in. I also don’t think his overall style is at all suitable for The Expendables. It’s way too classy and understated. Expendables needs to be a bit more kinetic and high energy, just without being a fucking mess. Like with a Hyams of Florentine.

  185. oops. Wrong thread.

  186. I moved Paul’s post to the forum, so we could continue the Soderbergh debate there.

  187. Nope Skani. Expendables 1(well, 2 also but 1 moreso) was certainly flawed, but even with it’s flaws it’s more exciting than any of those movies I mentioned. Even with shakycam I’d rather watch Statham beat the fuck/stab/shoot a bunch of dudes, or see Stallone and Austin fight, or whatnot than watch J-Lo do, well, anything, or watch the Oceans group plotting their heists(oddly enough, I don’t mind heists, I watch Leverage which is show that has a heist or scam every week), I just didn’t find THAT group’s heists overly fun or exciting.

    I haven’t seen The Limey(I wanted to when it came out, then sorta kept forgetting about it, and ended up never seeing it) or Haywire so I can’t offer an opinion on those.

  188. I still drive by EXPENDABLES 2 billboards every day, and it amazes me that while Stallone understands the value of amassing a team of legends, it’s still Sallone front and center. I mean, he is the leader and the orchestrator of this, but it’s still the Stallone show. Never forget that.

  189. The Original... Paul

    August 26th, 2012 at 5:18 am

    DS – amazingly I gotta switch sides on this one. (Yeah, I know, I know). The only problems I really have with most of Soderbergh’s films is that they leave me somewhat cold. Some are definitely more flawed than others, but in the end… I have a ton of respect for Soderbergh as a craftsman. A lot of people have a huge amount of respect for him as a director and I honestly don’t think that that respect is misplaced. The guy knows how to use a camera and always has a distinctive vision. I don’t always like his scores but they’re certainly distinctive, and there’s no way he could ever be called a “hack”.

    Now “The Expendables”, on the other hand… I keep coming back to the fact that I’ve never seen Stallone give a worse performance than in this film. That last scene with the love-interest in particular, I was cringing. I actually give him more credit for “Judge Dredd” than I do for “The Expendables” because at least in “Dredd” it looked like he was trying something, even if it didn’t work. In “The Expendables”, he literally goes through the entire film looking like he doesn’t want to be there. And as Fred says, this is supposed to be his baby, his pet project! If the guy in charge doesn’t give a crap, what chance anybody else will?

  190. This Scrooge was visited by three ghosts this afternoon: Stallone, Bruce, and Governator. And, oh yeah, all those other ass-kicking dudes.

    And they do kick ass. And this movie kicks ass. A tremendous improvement on the original, and a lot of fun. The Schwarzenegger stuff that people whine about all happens in about 30 seconds of screen time, and I can’t help but still find Arnold winsome. The iron grill terminator stare and the “we all do” line covers over a multitude of sins. The chemistry among the core expendables is excellent. I don’t know if I was too hard on the first one, or if it just took the first movie to establish these guys as a team so that their chemistry in EX2 seems earned and rooted in something.

    I pretty much dug every single performance and character. Yu Nan: dope. Chris Hemsworth: knows his place and actually adds something. Crews and Couture do a nice job. Adkins is a trip. The action is well done. Even the CGI blood seems fine to me. It’s completely outrageous, but it all works. I think 95% of the one liners are satisfying. The setting and production values are good.

    Love the locations. I even dig the old faux NYC combat training site. The film has some bona fide atmosphere.

    Norris’s appearance is a net plus. The ratio of bona fide camp to just kick ass manyy action is very favorable.

    Stallone made the right choice handing this off to Simon West.

    Adkins’s stupid accent had me at whatever stupid-accented thing he first said. My only complaint about JCVD is that we didn’t see more of him.

    It’s possible my views will nuance and mellow a bit before they crystallize, but I don’t see me having a Majestyk-like overnight conversion. I distinctly remember that sinking feeling in my stomach when I saw the trailers for part 1, and when I watched part 1, the inescapable “this is a barely competent, completely forgettable, wasted opportunity of a film” set in very early and never subsided. I got a crappy feeling about the trailer for EX2. But here’s the thing, the opening scene of this one immediately one me over, and I stayed won over the whole time. I kept waiting for them to drop the ball or for Schwarzenegger or Norris to just completely ruin it, and that never happened. In fact, I was glad for their presence.

    Very glad to be pleasantly surprised on this.

  191. errata

    -won me over

  192. I am glad you liked it Skani. I have seen it twice now and it was even more fun the second time. Any nitpicks I had after first seeing the film seemed even less bothersome the second time around. Actually, I think the first time I saw the film I kept bracing myself for disappointment, but it never came. Then the second time I saw it I could just sit back and enjoy it without worrying about being disappointed. I wouldn’t say it is one of the better films I have seen this year, but it is one of the most fun films I have seen this year.

  193. Right. I think this movie is a fitting tribute to the films these guys have made and the era of cinema that they represent. It honors that entire chunk of movie history. And it doesn’t just coast. The younger, newer cast members mesh well with the older ones, and the Expendables team really feels like a team. I love the Bruce and Arnold scene with the smart car and their last scene together. JCVD’s performance is different from anything we saw in his theatrical career. Dolph continues to shine. Whereas I thought a lot of the Statham-Stallone bromance stuff seemed forced in part 1, the chemistry was really there this time. Yan and Hemsworth could have seemed like “token” characters or just surplus character overkill, but I thought they genuinely added to the film.

    Yeah, just a lot of fun.

    And I also liked the lean running time. It didn’t overstay it’s welcome.

  194. Paul, umm, what? Never once did I criticize his direction or technical abilities, just that everything he’s done that I’ve seen is boring. I never said they were poorly shot or badly filmed, more like, a really well shot, nice looking, and nicely directed film doesn’t make up for uninteresting characters, dull action, and boring stories. ‘

    Skani, I agree with your review pretty much, and always nice to see someone point out that the “constant references” people complain about occur in basically 2 scenes, over the course of about 30 seconds. To hear some people talk you’d think 90% of the dialogue was references to the cast’s glory days, and I’ve seen many reviews that talk about how “Arnold makes at LEAST 4 I’ll be back references” when, in fact, he makes two, once with his initial rescue of the team with the “I’m back!” line, then in the airport shootout where he says it to Bruce before Bruce cuts him off.

  195. The Original... Paul

    August 27th, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    DS – apologies. Yeah, I’m more in agreement with you there, although not universally so (“Haywire” had great action scenes, and I really liked “Traffic”).

  196. Just saw this as the first of a double feature at a drive-in.

    I have to catch up with everyone’s posts, but this movie was terrible. It’s like Stallone read a recipe for a good action movie but got the quantities of everything wrong. The cast is too big, and most of them have nothing to do; the jokes are too many, and they’ve gone bad; the chemistry between the actors was nonexistent.

    BTW, was Harrison Ford ever rumored to have interest in this? I counted at least three INDY references that he could’ve made shitty jokes about.

    If they make an Expendables 3, for god sakes have Nic Cage as the villain please.

    (The other movie was the TOTAL RECALL remake, which I was surprised to enjoy, although it had some gigantic plot holes.)

  197. I think Harrison Ford should retire. He and Clint produced great work. But its time they took a break.

    Anyone here seen “EXTROADINARY MEASURES”?

  198. The Original... Paul

    September 3rd, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    Felix – was that the thriller where Michael Keaton plays a serial killer whose liver will save the life of a dying child? If so I saw it ages and ages ago but don’t remember too much about it.

  199. That was DESPERATE MEASURES, not to be confused with the Hugh Grant-Gene Hackman thriller EXTREME MEASURES. EXTRAORDINARY MEASURES is “I ALREADY WORK AROUND THE CLOCK!”. Man that has to be the most calm sentence ever written almost entirely in caps.

  200. The Original... Paul

    September 5th, 2012 at 4:08 am

    OnTheWall – ah yes. What I’ve learnt from this is that there are way too many films with the word “Measures” in the title.


    I’ll sort of borrow Vern’s format and break it down point by point without giving more thought or care to the plot & characters than the filmatists did:

    (JCVD, JCVD’s triceps, Scotty A, lil Hemsworth, most of the climax even if it was also stupid)

    -5% bad pseudo-ownage
    (nonsensical action photography, not necessarily demonic shaky-cam & shaky-camesque but ok firefights)

    -85% GARBAGE
    (nonsense dialogue, nonsense plot, Chuck Norris as The Spirit of Chuck Norris, no continuity, painfully bad “one-liners”)

    I disliked this movie, but it was half-entertaining, I guess.

    I’m pro-Mel Gibson for EXPENDA3LES. (<– insert vertical knife image attached to left side of the #3 in that clever title) (also, make title explode; lots of fire)

    Thing is, those ridiculous Chuck Norris jokes have always been funny to me. Very funny.

    Unlike you guys, I wasn't too internet-savvy or internet-present circa 2006-2008. I was no talkbacker back then. I received the Lone Wolf-Invasion USA-Braddock barrage of "Chuck Norris is awesome" aphorisms & anti-zen koans as a function of scratchings & Sharpie inscriptions on the insides of various porta-jons across Iraq, Kuwait, and Army/Marines/Air Force training installations around that time. And, I freely admit (and this is possibly because I was often starved for entertainment at those places), they were always funny.

    I didn't have any awareness that their online proliferation was annoying the more thoughtful critics of BADASS CINEMA.

    There's a special place in my heart for whomever came up with "When Chuck Norris does a push-up, he doesn't push himself up; he pushes the earth down."

    I don't, like, live my life in accordance with the Chuck Norrisisms, but I do allow them to give me inspiration. My atheism won't change, but I'm glad to have a supernatural inspiration out there reminding me that it's possible to do the impossible, that there's a figure who, when God said 'Let there be light,' permissively replied 'Okay,' whose tears contain the cure for cancer though tragically he never cries.

    When I achieve muscle failure at the bench press, when I'm not sure I can carry that heavy load over that next mountain without resting or asking for help, when playing basketball and the guy I'm defending is trying to outsprint me down the court for a late game fast break, that's when I remember that there's a force greater than me out there. I compete with myself and I compete with the great Spirit of Chuck Norris, as formed by all those ridiculous jokes in all those somehow-connected yet internationally disparate porta-toilets, in order to make myself better.

  202. Thank you, Mouth and M. Casey, for making me stop thinking I’d gone insane. Maybe it’s just dudes with M-based interweb monikers who can bear to put on the sunglasses and see the truth without a nine-minute backalley brawl.

  203. “He also has a particular taste for tacky biker shit, so even when he loans somebody a pen it’s covered in chrome skulls and snakes and shit”

    That’s a Limited Edition Montegrappa pen ! I think it’s the roller version , and Montegrappa is one of the oldest Italian pen-maker labels around . I was really happy to know that Stallone had a collaboration with them to create “Chaos” Limited Edition , the name of that ridiculous skulls-and-serpents pen . I’m an amatuer “artist” ( I don’t consider myself an artist , and I don’t like that word because I’m not very good ,but I don’t know another word for it ….maybe “drawer” or “creative guy” is a better description), I like to draw , paint and sculpt , and I was familiar with the name , because like Montblanc ,Taddei and Tibaldi, those are high-end writing and drawing tools : the waterfountain silver version of that is actually almost 6000 dollars , the gold more than 60.000!!I’m not shitting you guys check Amazon ! To promote the movie Sly and Harry Knowles from AIC , had a contest a while back with one of those pens as prize, and I submitted my piece : we had to draw and ink a “logo” for the movie , done only with pencils and inked with a waterfountain pen ! We had to submit photos of all the creative process , including a photo of us actually inking , and it was fun and old school : they didn’t want to see any photoshop , only drawings. We’re still waiting for the final results , but I’m glad Sly worked with this fine Italian artisans , and I’m glad for the opportunity and fun!

  204. Thanks, Kermit. I had no idea. I added an Amazon link in case anybody likes that pen and wants to pay $69,350.00 for it. I’m not sure if that includes shipping. But if you’re gonna buy it please buy it through my link.

  205. Yeah , and if you’re interested in one of these , make sure you read all the user reviews on Amazon , they’re very informative!

    Funny thing is , Montegrappa pens are really good , truly well made writing instruments , made famous back in the day by writers like Hemingway , who praised them . I only ever touched a low cost Montegrappa in my life ( low cost = 100 dollars), and it was not one my pens! (The most expensive waterfountain pen I own is 13 Euros!)Here is an intro to the Chaos pen by Sly himself , where he talks about Italy and his love for our country :


    Apparently , we invented democracy!

  206. And in other bizarre, vaguely EXPENDABLES-related news, Dolph Lundgren is apparently the new David Hasselhoff.


  207. So I caught this again last night and I didn’t enjoy it anywhere near as much as the first time.

    The sugar rush of seeing The Big Three ™ together at last had gone and I was left with two decent set-pieces that bookend the film, a pretty damn good/odd performance from JCVD and not much else.

    It’s just too flimsy and empty overall. As Vern said, at least part 1 had heart. This is The Cannonball Run with bursting heads.

    And Arnie looks like a brawny Stan Laurel.

  208. Quite surprised nobody mentioned the really bad score to the film that sounded like the composer was fucking a set of bagpipes and recording it.

    This film was awful. You know it was. They weren’t even trying to make it make sense, but of course… sigh… “it’s a bit of fun, not supposed to take itself seriously” as I’ve just been told by someone who decided to correct my opinion on another website.

    I genuinely thought the Statham/DeNiro film Killer Elite was a better Expendables film than this Expendables film.

  209. I didn’t like part 2 as much as part 1.

    – I’d assumed that Mickey Rourke was the one in the bag-head and that he was to be killed by JCVD. Lots of internet sites & forums hinted at this, so it was weird to not see him in this movie at all (though I was surprised to see Arnold under the bag-head & it made me smile). Still, the movie could’ve used Rourke, and it would’ve been better if Jean Claude had killed him (though I think this would’ve drastically changed the tone & direction of the movie – probably for the better).

    – One night when I was drunk I was surfing youtube.com and began watching the final showdown between Stallone & JCVD. I thought it was awesome and stopped watching half way through. He’s great in the movie, but is under-used and the final fight wasn’t as good the second time around. I think it’s because – even though Van Damme is great – there just isn’t much meat to the character and not a great deal of build up. The bad guy in COMMANDO with the skinny arms and fish-net shirt has more screen time and more of a character arc, for Christ’s sake.

    – I liked that the team seemed smaller & more “nailed down” as a unit this time. I was fine with Jet Li leaving, and I even didn’t mind Terry Crews & Randy Culture (though Randy should’ve done more).

    – Dolph is the most interesting and I wish they’d given him more to do.

    – JCVD should’ve killed someone else (maybe Counter or Cruise).

    – I agree with Vern that the constant self-aware jokes coming from Schwarzenegger/Wiliis/Norris seemed lame after a-while. One or even two is tolerable. Three is pushing it, and they did like five or six (though my favorite cameo was when Norris first appeared).

    I want them to make an EXPENDABLES 3, but not if it’s gonna be all inside-wink-wink jokes. Give more of these guys a strong, original direction and they may surprise us. Or maybe cut half of them out of the story and focus on just a couple of them. You can always shove cameos in at the end. Doose Ech Mackina, or whatever.

  210. This is the feelgood movie of the year for me. I don´t get why people are so mad about the in-jokes and puns. To me that was part of the fun. Sure they are amazingly awkward and ridiculous.. ( Chuck Norris introduction is one awkward motherfucker of a scene were Chuck delivers Chuck Norris facts and then leave. What the hell was that…?)
    But I enjoyed them just for being a bizarre part of the movie, not for the jokes themselves, but the history behind these guys and all those other awesome movies they made that the jokes relates to.

    I can honestly say I did not have any problems with that whatsoever. In fact, very little about this movie annoys me
    I mean, there must be a place for movies that celebrate the awesomeness of our childhood heroes without being too grim and serious. We have other movies for that.Its not Hyams-UNISOL good,sure and this movie has not a plot that deserves this so called “sincerity” some people demand. I guess thats probably my complaint, but its not as messy and unmemorable as part 1, partly because it has better villains and you actually notice Scott Adkins, which is not something you can say about Gary Daniels. I only noticed he was in part 1, the third time I watched it. Its probably unfair to compare them,since Adkins was second henchman and Daniels more like third, but anyways, its more fun.

    To sum it up, this movie is my new comforting blanket. When everything seem uncertain around me and the wotrld turns to shit ( zombie-apocalypses etc..) I pick up this motherfucker and feel safe and secure among these guys who feels like part of my family.

  211. Everything Shoot said times 11.

  212. caruso_stalker217

    December 6th, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    EXPENDABLES 2 is kinda like THE AVENGERS. It’s just a fun kind of bullshit cartoon movie where you get to see all your favorite heroes punch stuff for two hours, without really having to deal too much with character shit.

    Plus, it’s fucking hilarious that they send Liam Hemsworth’s girlfriend money at the end, along with a publicity still of him standing in the forest holding his sniper rifle.

    The action is good, too.

  213. I kinda feel like I should probably give it another chance to see if I’ve mellowed on it, but quite frankly, the thought of sitting through one single frame of Chuck or Arnold’s scenes again makes me want to throw up. I know that’s only like five minutes of the movie, but that’s like saying that your day will include “only” five minutes of testicle torture. Those five minutes tend to linger in the memory more than the other parts.

    Is there a fan cut out there I can watch that Norris isn’t in and Arnold plays a mute? And also where the action isn’t thoroughly mediocre at best and completely terrible at worst?

  214. “Plus, it’s fucking hilarious that they send Liam Hemsworth’s girlfriend money at the end, along with a publicity still of him standing in the forest holding his sniper rifle.”
    I actually thought for a split second that they were sending her Vilain’s severed head.

  215. A trailer for an upcoming Dolph/Stone Cold collaboration: THE PACKAGE.

    Could be fun, Stone Cold kills a guy by headbutting him in the chest Zinedine Zidane-style! And was that Darren Shuhlavi in the trailer?

  216. I saw THE LAST STAND and I am happy to report that it is an enjoyable R rated action film that does a nice job launching the old man phase of Arnie’s career and is a solid American debut for Korean director Kim Jee-woon. I grew up on Arnold’s films and love Kim’s work so I was really excited when this project was first announced, but after Arnold’s groan inducing performance in EX2 (Mr. M, his shtick gets worse with repeat viewings but I still like the film) and a trailer that featured way too much Johnny Knoxville I found myself lowering my expectations heading into the film’s release. I wanted it to be a homerun, but I was starting to feel that maybe my expectations were unrealistic. It turns out all that worrying was for nothing. I will wait for Vern’s review to go into greater detail, but THE LAST STAND is a fun modern western with some great action. Arnie is a little rusty and his performance has some uneven moments, but he find his groove and there are even a few more emotional and somber scenes latter in the film that he nails. However, I think Kim ultimately deserves the most credit for the film’s success. His skilled and confident direction carries the film. The action is all clearly staged and executed with lots of practical effects and stunt work. He also infuses the over the top action and violence with an almost cartoon quality that gives the film a blood soaked LOONEY TUNES meets RIO BRAVO quality.

    PS: Unfortunately the film had a terrible opening weekend. It bums me out because while THE LAST STAND is not Arnie or Kim’s best work it is a good film that deserves more attention than it is getting. It is also a bad sign for hard R action films and stories that are smaller in scope with smaller stakes then saving the world form an alien invasion or doomsday devise. With TLS tanking at the box like DREDD did it is only going to be that much harder to get a hard R action film made and/or released theatrically. People like to bitch about how much they hate how films that should be R rated are developed and released as PG-13 pictures, but this is the second quality hard R action film released theatrically (DREDD being the first, and I am not counting UNISOL: DAY OF RECKONING because it was only released in like 10 theaters nationally) in the past 6 months that is getting ignored in theaters. I not saying that if you are a fan of hard R action you need to run out and see THE LAST STAND, but if you don’t you lose the right to bitch about the DIE HARD franchise or other R rated stories going PG-13.

  217. Jesus, what a shitpile of a movie. Fuck that, it’s not even a movie. Ist a bunch of mindless, slopply action scenes cobbled together according to all the guys schedules. I mean, come on, they didn’t even fucking try to make a good movie. It’s a fucking disgrace to everybody involved. An utterly disgusting, embarrassing piece-of-shit that, as much as like Stallone, makes me not wanna see him doing a movie ever again. Even more as in the shitty first one here you have NO STORY, NO CHARACTERS, you have nothing at all. The only things this sorry excuse for a movie succeeds in is in showing us what a bunch of brainless idiots the Expendables are. I for one would never hire these guys for anything, not even to take out my trash. Stallone’s/Barney Ross’s idea of a rescue is crashing is own plane, with everybody on board, into a mine and then the oh-so-smart-Gunnar is too dumb to blow away a rock wall and they’re all like, oh, haha, our Gunnar is dumb and we’re still stuck in this mine, until this homeless guy in a funny shirt, oh wait, it’s Arnorld, for some reason simply breaks through the wall and… ah forget, just writing this is a waste of fucking time. Shit likes this is disrespectful to its own audience fuck you Stallone for allowing this to happen.

  218. Yeah, I liked it too.

  219. Bad day at work, Rico?

  220. That was beautiful, Rico.

  221. I remembered a time January last year when I had a similar outburst. Also over EXPENDABLES 2. But for different reasons

  222. {*applause*}

    I’m jealous of Rico’s voice. He’s right about everything, even if I sorta liked the movie, and he kinda echoes my thoughts about the 1st EXPENDABLES, the part where they stupidly magically transport themselves to the island for the finale.

    Except I can’t bring myself to say “fuck you” to the guy who made RAMBO (2008). Stallone would have to personally come to my home and perform acts of cruelty on my neighbor’s dogs to lose that goodwill.

  223. So because of my magnanimous nature, I gave it another shot. I’m not mad at it anymore, but I remain shocked at the level of sub-competence involved in basically every level of filmmaking, from writing to acting to action choreography to special effects to (most significantly) editing.

    This is a poorly made movie no matter how you slice it. It has no rhythm or build, so there’s no momentum or payoff. It tries to be all killer, no filler, but that doesn’t work. How do you know what’s killer if you don’t have any filler to compare it to? if it’s all killer, nothing is killer.

    The action scenes are just money shot after money shot with no connective tissue. A car crash cuts right to a body slam cuts right to a headshot cuts right to an explosion. Hundreds of people get killed and maybe three or four of them go out in an interesting or satisfying way. Compare this to the low-scale but narratively engaging action vignettes in THE LAST STAND. That movie had a bunch of non-badasses, but they all had a role to play in the climax, unlike EXP2, where you’ve got all these legends with nothing to do, just standing around firing indiscriminately. Personally, I’d rather see one guy get shot using some interesting tactics and staging than a thousand assholes blown away while one ego-tripping dickhead waves a machine gun around like a leaf blower. The hand-to-hand is surprisingly decent, but these are some of the absolutely worst gun battles I’ve ever seen. You got one group of dudes standing right in the open shooting at another group of dudes standing right in the open. One group of dudes always misses, the other group never does. Repeat this for like 20 minutes, throw in the most pandering “Look at how R-rated we are!” CGI blood ever witnessed, and you’ve got what EXP2 thinks is a real satisfying action climax. The end of KINDERGARTEN COP was more cathartic than this formless mess.

    The dialogue is the same way. Every line is a quip, and an unfunny one at that. (“I got your gang bang right here!” says Terry Crews while sliding down a zipline in the jungle, shooting at Nepalese militiamen. Huh?) I was particularly irritated by how Stallone had to have the last word in every exchange, giving himself little filler lines like “Really?” and “Yeah, right” and “You got a point” when just a look would do. He’s just gotta be the one to put the button on every scene, even though he’s absolutely awful at it.

    And the in-jokes remain mortifying. People have been trying to tell me that there aren’t really that many, so I kept score. I counted at least 17 references to other movies, from blatant ones like every single word that came out of Arnold’s and Chuck’s mouths to less obviously recycled one-liners like “Rest in pieces” (I COME IN PEACE) and “Heads up” (DEMOLITION MAN). It’s not nonstop, but the movie is so poorly assembled that the embarrassing parts are the only moments that really stand out.

    In the interest of balance, I will point out that I thought the funeral scene was reasonably dramatic, although it could have used a little breathing room, like everything else in the movie. A couple of seconds of the guys soaking in Barney’s speech would have made the “Track ’em, find ’em, kill ’em” line land with a little more impact. Seems kind of abrupt as is.

    Also, for a movie so overflowing with quips and jokes, I only laughed once, and that was when Bruce called Sly “Bam Bam.” I don’t think anyone noticed he called the other guys “the Little Rascals” twice, though.

    In summary, this is a shitty movie that is never more than sporadically entertaining. And that is my last word on THE EXPENDABLES 2: WHATEVER.*

    *Unless somebody tries to argue with me, obviously.

  224. I disagree on the incompetent filmmaking on EVERY level. The cinematography and the lighting ( with fog and shit) is a lot nicer to look at than the fuckugly mess of the first one. The moment when The Expendables first encounter Vilain´s villainous gang is a nice reveal using fog and also I happen to like the blue lighting in the fight at the end because it reminded me of a time when people used that. I think its a nice movie to look at.

  225. MR. M, one thing I have noticed about EX2 with repeated views is it has a ridiculous amount of shot and scenes of guys just standing and firing their guns without doing anything dynamic or there being much action other than gun fire.

    I have been thinking that with the recent box office troubles of THE LAST STAND & BULLET IN THE HEAD coming off the success of EX2 what does it say about what American audiences and what they want from Arnie, Sly and action cinema. I think that other than the stunt casting the EX franchise is built around the almost meta and ironic tone of EX2 is a big part of what allowed mainstream audiences to get on board with the film and helped propel it to success. I think that the modern average movie theater patron that is not a fan of badass cinema like the Outlaw Vern community looks down on action films and action film stars, and they are not willing to check out films like THE LAST STAND or BULLET IN THE HEAD unless they are marginalized and presented as ironic. It is as if the only way modern audiences are comfortable embracing films from Sly & Arnie is if they are presented as a joke/spectacle.

  226. Charles- you are spot on. Exactly what I was thinking. It´s also I think the nostalgia factor behind it that may bring the audience in and when they reference the old movies, they get thinking “Oh man,I remember PREDATOR and THE TERMINATOR being awesome. I should probably watch them again”. It never goes further than that.Rather than being interested in the future projects these guys has in stall most people just see it as a temporary reunion thing. Kinda like if Led Zeppelin got together. Nobody cares about if they play new songs at their concert. They just wanna hear the classics

  227. Shoot: Okay, I’ll give you that. I’m not sure I care, though. I generally assume with the tools available to today’s DPs that most movies will look pretty good. There’s just no excuse for them not to. I’ve said before that cinematography is far and away the least important aspect of filmmaking for me. I care quite a bit about framing, mise en scene, shot length, camera movement and all that, but as for the more photographic aspects of cinematography like color and light and image quality, etc., I just don’t give a shit. I think it’s one of the reasons I rarely get into, say, Ridley Scott’s work. If you’re indifferent to the pretty pictures he paints, there’s not much else going on. Another example is how everybody was bending over backwards to praise Roger Deakins’ work on SKYFALL, whereas I barely noticed it. It didn’t do a thing to improve the film’s sloppy storyline and muddled themes.

    Basically, I only notice a film’s cinematography it if it’s really amazing or really terrible. EXP2’s was neither, so it wasn’t even worth mentioning for me. So I guess you’re right. At least one guy on the set had some clue what he was doing.

  228. I agree that nostalgia is a big part of it, and your Led Zeppelin reunion concert analogy is a good one. However, at least if LZ did a reunion concert it would be treated with respect and honored. When Sly, Arnold, and Bruce get together for a movie it is presented as a self-referential joke or ironic. It makes me think we will never get a quality serious EX film.

  229. I don´t really think the tools automatically make it good, it´s how it is used. That is what seperate the hacks from the pros. I do understand your concerns, though. And to some degree I actually agree with you on THE EXPENDABLES 2. It is certainly not flawless. In fact, it may have more flaws than what is actually good about the movie. But in this case I can let go of most of the flaws, since the movie actually made me feel good in a time I felt like shit and I really fucking appriciated the moral boost I got from it.

  230. I get pleasure from understanding from beginning to end your article The Expendables 2 The Life and Art of Vern placement, I sought after to write a little statement to support you and wish you a first-class maintenance .All the finest meant for all your blogging efforts.

  231. Sly on Twitter said Mickey Rourke is coming back for EXP #3.

    Also trolling with suggestions that Chan and Banderas could also join the cast.


  232. I didn’t catch the Banderas, but “we’re thinking of raiding THE RAID” means Iko Uwais, right?

  233. “Next time they’ll probably have Randy Couture fight Mad Dog from THE RAID and they’ll forget to take the lens cap off.”
    –Mr. Majestyk, August 10, 2012

    They thought I was mad. But soon the prophecy will be fulfilled.

  234. Some of us still think you’re mad, though…

  235. https://twitter.com/TheSlyStallone

    ….Calling SEAGAL this morning.

  236. Dikembe Mutombo

    May 17th, 2013 at 5:11 pm

    I was just thinking about this movie today, specifically the Chuck Norris jokes. It’s one of those movies where I remember the stuff I hated about it a lot more than the stuff I liked. Looking upthread, Mr. Majestyk really nails it in every way. It’s gonna be really hard for me to go into EXP3 (cuz who am I kidding, I’m gonna watch the fucker eventually) with an open mind after being burned twice.

  237. Oh Sly, you fucking troll. We know Seagal/EXP3 is not gonna happen.


  238. *spams refresh button on Twitter*

  239. I’m sure this is quite a blow to the totally-gonna-happen-no-seriously-guys THE EXPENDABROADS.

  240. I understand the thought of trying to put Jovovich in the movie, with her being pretty much the only big female mainstream action star these days (although all her movies are made by her husband and 99% of the time just RESIDENT EVIL sequels), but I hope she won’t be in it. She always came across like a poser to me. An ultra skinny model who pretends to be tough by wearing gimp suits and carrying a tough gun. I saw her doing all those jumps and kicks in the movies, but I never bought it.

  241. There’s room for everybody on the Expendables train. Welcome on board, Milla.

  242. CJ – I don’t like those movies either but to use that argument against Jovovich is sorta a stretch. Did you really believe Stallone gunned down Vietnam in RAMBO 2?

    Personally I was hoping more for a female EXPENDABLES movie, where I had this crazy idea that you had leader Jolie (whos actioneers I don’t care for either but that’s besides the point) and her team of Jovovich and Rodriguez and Carano and and whoever else who are part of an agency run by Yeoh. President Sigourney Weaver ordering them to stop a psychotic terrorist (Linda Hamilton)* and her top subordinate (Beckinsale).

    *=Not to call her crazy, but anybody ever read her interview about James Cameron published after AVATAR came out? She would be awesome for that part.

  243. RRA- but the thing is, I believe someone like Stallone COULD gun down Vietnam! The main key of being a successful action star is a certain amount of charisma and believability. Milla already lacks the first one and her action cred was so far doing ultra cheesy, extra stilized superficial kicks in SlowMo and bullet time, then striking a model pose.

    Although I should add that there might be a fitting role for her in EXPENDABL3S. Maybe something like the villain’s right hands woman/main squeeze. The one who is always dressed in black, wearing sunglasses and blows up something big in the first scene, by pushing a button on a remote control while walking away in slow motion and either laughing like crazy or showing no emotion at all.

  244. The Undefeated Gaul

    May 31st, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    I’m not sure we need female expendables unless it’s someone who can actually kick ass like Gina Carano. But she’s already gone over to the female expendabroads (love that title!) so I would rather see Wesley Snipes and Michael Jai White as the villains, maybe let them play a pair of evil brothers. Let Sly fight Wesley at the end and Statham Vs White before that… Oh, and maybe give those guys more than half an hour to rehearse and shoot the fight this time.

  245. So anybody seen that movie-themed reality TV show Lundgren hosted?

  246. The Undefeated Gaul

    July 17th, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    Anyone seen this yet? New After Dark action film, directed by Peter Hyams, edited by his son John. JCVD is the baddie.


    Not sure what to think myself. I will never buy Orlando Jones as a tough guy and I’ve never heard of the other main guy. Still, looking at the trailer it seems like Van Damme’s haircut alone might provide enough entertainment to make this worth a watch.

  247. Harrison Ford has joined EXPENDABLES 3, Bruce Willis won’t return. (According to Sly’s Twitter.)


  248. The Undefeated Gaul

    August 6th, 2013 at 2:40 pm

    This is just too weird. Never in a million years would I have thought Ford would be up for something like this (I’m sure in a few days we will hear about him having left the project after all, I just can’t believe it will happen)… And then the thing about Sly calling Bruce greedy and lazy… Where the fuck did all of this come from, I thought they were buddies

  249. I’m trying to imagine the forced one-liner jokes about his past characters.

    “I think this is what you would call a Clear & Present Danger.”
    “Don’t get cocky like that was one shot out of a million.”

    Oddly that article seemed to mention Seagal was still attached.

  250. It’s hard to defend Bruce based on his recent movies, but I can also sympathize if he’s not all that excited to do another one unless they pay him more. His character’s reluctance to take part in the “jokes” about past movies seemed pretty authentic.

  251. It seemed like he did the first one as a favor, and then all of a sudden he was expected to keep doing favors. You’re happy to help your buddy move once, but when it’s the third time in five years, you gotta be like, “Dude. Rent a van.”

  252. First I hear that Bruce has been tanking his press interviews (I wouldn’t know, you couldn’t pay me to watch that shit), now he’s been “replaced” with Harrison Ford, an epically surly grump who hates talking to the press even more than Willis does.

  253. Forget about Mr Grumpy. Mel Gibson has a cameo in MAD MAX: FURY ROAD!!!

  254. ya know, I never understood why Harrison Ford is so grumpy, I mean shit, you were both Han Solo AND Indiana Jones AND you’re fucking rich! lighten up a little, ok?

  255. The Undefeated Gaul

    August 7th, 2013 at 3:05 am

    I thought Bruce doing the Expendables movies was only part favor and mostly him just enjoying himself with the other action legends. I remember him expressing his gratitude to Sly for making it happen on a couple of occasions. Then again, I can imagine two times being enough and him not wanting to do it a third time, but that doesn’t seem like reason enough for the hostility in Sly’s tweets…

  256. by the way, have you guys heard the rumor of Sylvester Stallone supposedly converting to Christianity?

  257. pegsman – “Forget about Mr Grumpy. Mel Gibson has a cameo in MAD MAX: FURY ROAD!!!”

    In the immortal words of Apu the Kwik-E-Mart owner: “what? what?!? what?!??”

  258. Broddie, a long, long time a ago, in a movie world you’re too young to remember, Bruce Willis was a TV actor and Mel Gibson the coolest action hero ever! That’s what I’m talking about. And nobody, I mean nobody, puts ketchup on a hot dog!

  259. Or did you mean “What?! Is Mel in the next MAD MAX movie?”

  260. pegsman – “Or did you mean “What?! Is Mel in the next MAD MAX movie?””

    Exactly this. I’ve been following FURY ROAD pretty closely and never heard that till today.

    I just turned 30 yesterday the last thing I need is to be schooled on Bruce’s career. I’m old enough to remember him from Seagram’s Wine Coolers commercials lol.

  261. Apparently they’ve filmed a scene with Gibson playing “Drifter”.

  262. Man, I didn’t want to know that. NEW OFFICIAL POLICY: Don’t give shit like this away. If something is obviously supposed to be a surprise, even if it has gotten out, be discrete about sharing it. For example, don’t tell me who they end up casting as a surprise Fast 7 villain. Give a spoiler warning and only even do that if you can do it in a context where the fact that there is a spoiler makes it easy to figure out what you’re about to say.

  263. I hate virtually any & all pre-release hype, movie business chatter, budget/profit projections, & casting gossip (unless it’s about martial artist match-ups or it’s Mouth trying to convince WB to heroically cast Jodie Foster as Alexis Luthor in a MAN OF STEEL sequel), so I support the new policy.

    That said, these kinds of spoiler-y posts don’t bother me too much, as they are evidence of a type of cinephiliac enthusiasm. I might prefer we all always stay on topic and only discuss the completed, already released works & reviews at hand, but I’m no idealist. Maybe y’all really do live in a post-feature world, the era of the Teaser, where anticipation of the thing trumps the thing itself, where opening weekend is the time to discuss the years-away sequel[s]. Can’t hate; carry on, fanboys.

  264. Griff- I believed (and assumed) Sly has been a Christian for a long time? What with Rocky being one circa 2006, and Rambo helping them all out circa 2008. Or is he taking the next step and refusing to swear in his movies like Chuck?

  265. Sorry about that, Vern, but I figured this was information along the lines of “Harrison Ford’s in EXPENDABLES 3” since he’s listed in the credits.

  266. I forgive you. If you’re getting that from IMDb then I’m gonna assume it’s bullshit, and if you know otherwise then don’t tell me! Sorry I was grumpy.

  267. So if it’s not from IMDb I can’t tell you that it’s not (and I’m not saying it is or that it isn’t)? Tricky stuff this.

  268. Apparently Bruce quit EXPENDABLES 3 over money. For 4 days of work, he was offered $3 million. He wanted another million.


    I’m sorry, but couldn’t they have afforded that other million?

  269. Oh no! How will the franchise survive without Bruce’s beloved character Colonel Whatshisdick?

  270. Now that I see what this franchise has become, I’ll never forgive it or get over the tragedy of its shoddy existence for having sucked the oxygen away from a potential RAMBO 5 (or 6!?!), in which John Rambo becomes a one-man US-Mexico border fence/weapon, personally tearing apart drug cartel henchmen with his bare hands and, over the objections of pussy liberal politicians advocating mercy & a porous southern boundary, knifing human traffickers until the Rio Grande turns pink in aerial photographs.

    {*spins RAMBO dvd, cries tears of elation & regret*}

  271. What the series has become? I’m pretty sure it is what it’s always been: a self-perpetuating cycle of press releases concerning hirings and firings with a contractually obligated but redundant series of films attached as ancillary product.

  272. Sly referenced his Christian beliefs way back when he did those amazing Aintitcool Q&As.

  273. Fuck THE EXPENDABLES, I want to know what this Sly/Bruno rift means for the future of that great American institution: PLANET HOLLYWOOD? WHAT HAPPENS TO THE JACKETS?

  274. Somehow I suspect Bruce is way past caring if someone out there thinks badly of him. He surely isn’t in the movie business to make friends.

  275. Mouth, your idea makes Franchise Fred cry too. Not quite as sad as the dream of a BACK TO THE FUTURE IV in 2015, but a great idea.

    But according to the new trend, Rambo will be back as a supporting character in TRAUTMAN, in which Col. Trautman’s granddaughter is now a PTSD counselor and wants to correct her pappy’s billy goat puking creations.

    I’m also hoping for MARION COBRETTI, the ultra dramatic bookend to the cure for crime’s disease.

  276. Some interesting discussion going on over at Vern’s Facebook page concerning the Sly/Bruce flack.

  277. clubside – Yeah I saw that earlier this morning. Even added my 2 cents to the question Vern asked. Willis wasn’t option A or B he just seems to be indecisive.

  278. Bruce’s paycheck demands reminded me of when Jodorowsky almost made his Dune movie back in the 70s and would’ve had Salvador Dali playing the Emperor, and his planned wage scale was going to be $100,000. A hour.

    And we’re talking 1970s money here, folks.

  279. Apparently Mad Mel is now confirmed for EX3 and another wild card casting choice was also confirmed, [CHRIS KATTAN VOICE]ANTONIO…..Y BANDERAS!!![/CHRIS KATTAN VOICE].

  280. The Undefeated Gaul

    August 9th, 2013 at 5:08 pm

    So all Banderas does now is do silly cameo roles in action movies that amount to nothing. Haywire, Machete Kills, now Ex3… The guy used to be a legend, time truly is not kind to most of us.

    Happy Mel is confirmed though. Machete Kills trailer is not looking too good, maybe he gets a better chance with Ex3. Dude needs to be back acting and/or directing pronto

  281. Gaul-
    I wouldn’t say that’s all Banderas does. The Skin I Live In was only two years ago and I thought that was one of his best performances.

  282. Off-topic, but Scott Adkins tweeted that he auditioned for [REDACTED] for Zack Snyder. Thoughts folks?

    Gaul – you’re shitting me. I liked MK’s trailer.

    Dtroyt – Honestly I’m surprised the first local problem with the Banderas casting wasn’t his lack of action credentials, but maybe I’m too cynical at times?

  283. Dtroyt – Right on. That’s one of the best movies of the 2010’s so far.

    RRA – DESPERADO and his scene stealing role in ASSASSINS is all the action credentials the guy needs really. The first ZORRO too if that counts.

  284. RRA, I thought of Dali too, I almost made a joke about that on Twitter.

  285. On Adkins’ claim of auditioning for [REDACTED], I would be pleased as cheese if he got the gig. I think we all would, to see a guy be awesome on the DTV front finally getting that break, and that gig would be one bigass break for his career.

    But I’m pretty sure he won’t get it. Not when you have people online clamoring for the likes of Neeson. (The fuck?)

  286. I never saw that tweet. Did he delete it?

  287. The Undefeated Gaul

    August 10th, 2013 at 4:13 am

    RRA – The Machete Kills trailer has fun bits, but mostly it looks like the silliness is turned up to the extreme. Of course the whole thing is inherently silly but there is a line where it stops being enjoyably silly but badass and it starts being unfunny nonsense, coming dangerously close to Scary Movie levels of bad comedy. Booby guns, Lady Gaga… I don’t know. I’ll still watch it, but I lowered my expectations after seeing the trailer.

    Oh, and I haven’t seen The Skin I Live In. Will check that one out.

  288. The Undefeated Gaul

    August 10th, 2013 at 4:18 am

    As for Adkins, I don’t think he’ll ever be Batman. Physically the guy is amazing but his acting prowess is just not on a level where a studio would give him a major iconic role like that, especially not after they had Bale. They’ll need a proper actor with some gravitas to pull that shit off.

    On another note, anyone catch those pics Adkins posted on his Facebook of his upcoming film Wolf? Apparently he’s fighting Wu Jing in that, which has been a dream match up of mine for some years. I always thought Wu Jing would be a perfect fit for the new Undisputed villain, but in this one I think Adkins will be the villain. Can’t wait to see that, should be a classic fight.

  289. Vern – Perhaps he has. This is CBM reporting on that tweet.


    Gaul – Isn’t it funny that once upon a time that action stars were the first to be considered for these action-y roles but now they’re the last to be considered. Tells you how much times have changed.

  290. This is crazy talk. Batman’s not Russian.

  291. Gaul,
    Check it out. I agree with Broddie that it’s one of the best of the 2010s. A really well done creepy thriller.

    I’m surprised that this is the first we’ve heard of Adkins being considered for a superhero role. Surprised me that it was DC for some reason. Hopefully he gets to put on the spandex sometime soon. The guy deserves a break out role more than most.

  292. Well, Adkins played Weapon XI in X-MEN’S ORIGINS PRESENTS WOLVERINE. But nobody has to remember that if he wants a super hero do-over.

  293. Vern – like how Captain America was once Johnny Storm?

  294. Vern-
    I totally forgot that Adkins was in XMO presents W. But I think it means he has an even better chance of snagging a higher profile Marvel gig. Marvel seems to like recasting people from “lesser” (read not Marvel studios) movies into the official canon. Chris Evans (as RRA mentioned) and Ray Stevenson being the two examples I can think of off the top of my head.

    Side note: I’m overdue to rewatch Stevenson’s Punisher movie again. I don’t care what anybody says, I think that is the best, most faithful Punisher movie out there (Dirty Laundry is a close second).

  295. While I doubt Adkins will get the role, it’s pretty cool to me that he has a shot. Of the names I’ve heard that are apparently being in the running, Richard Armitage is my favourite. He’s got the right look and he’s a good actor who’s done action roles before(and played the spy in CAPTAIN AMERICA who tries to steal the super soldier formula), but he’s not so well known he’d overshadow the role.

  296. I may get slammed for this, but I really don’t think Adkins has the acting chops for that role. He’s not terrible, but MAN OF IHOP had a really talented, committed cast, and in that company Adkins would stick out like a wooden thumb. I love the guy and I’m looking forward to his inevitable big break as much as anybody, but it’s not like a effects-driven superhero movie is going to make proper use of his excellent screen-fighting talents. Unless it’s Iron Fist.

  297. Crustacean,
    Adkins as Iron Fist is absolutely perfect.

  298. Does anyone remember how back in 2001 Ray Park was supposed to star in an IRON FIST movie, directed by Che Kirk Wong (THE BIG HIT)?

  299. Official Plot Synopsis:
    “In THE EXPENDABLES 3, Barney (Stallone), Christmas (Statham) and the rest of the team comes face-to-face with Conrad Stonebanks (Gibson), who years ago co-founded The Expendables with Barney. Stonebanks subsequently became a ruthless arms trader and someone who Barney was forced to kill… or so he thought. Stonebanks, who eluded death once before, now is making it his mission to end The Expendables — but Barney has other plans. Barney decides that he has to fight old blood with new blood, and brings in a new era of Expendables team members, recruiting individuals who are younger, faster and more tech-savvy. The latest mission becomes a clash of classic old-school style versus high-tech expertise in the Expendables’ most personal battle yet.”
    “more tech-savvy”? So the Expendables have been ignoring the advances in computer technology (I take it) that’s been a major factor in warfare for DECADES?

  300. So did Mr. Majestyk’s prediction come true? Does everyone hate this one now that a year has passed? I never bothered to see it, so I’m kinda curious if people, with the benefit of time/hindsight, are still recommending it.

  301. Not at all. I´ve watched it 4-5 times and still enjoy it.

  302. I meant the prediction part.

  303. Keep in mind I haven’t bothered with part 2 yet because I thought the first one was a total piece of shit. But it’s on Netflix Instant, so if I don’t have to pay an extra money to see it I might give it a shot. Exactly how intoxicated should I get first?

  304. Depends. How much does it take for you to blackout and not remember anything?

  305. it is just the first one that requires beverages with high percentage of alcohol. You will be fine.

  306. Ok, so Shoot gives it a “Full Mormon” and Mr. M rates it “Roofies and a bottle of Night Train.”

  307. I’d give it “Bottle of malt liquor and several major distractions.” Worth watching while drunk, but you’re going to want to have something else to divert your attention when it gets annoying.

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