Watching The Expendables 2 has reminded me what I love about The Expendables. Its non-stop entertainment value. The big guns, loud explosion, over-the-top sequences, head-shots, enemies blown up into pieces, and more. You name it, you have it. And then, there is this casting full of stars. Even Arnold Schwarzenegger took a break from his day job and acted a few scenes in this movie. I’ll be back. I am back. And more I’ll be back. Yes, Mr. Governor. We love the fact that you are back.
I did have one complain about The Expendables. The lack of female presence in that team of mercenaries. As though Hollywood has read my mind, in The Expendable 2, Jet Li is out. As he jumped out of the plane for a permanent vocation, he promised, “You’ll find another minority.” And so, the Chinese actress Yu Nan is in. Now, what I found strange is that she is not credited on the posters. Yet, she has played as big a part as Jet Li did on the previous installment. I found Yu Nan charming. Though my friend TK may not agree with me. Beauty is only skin deep my friend.
There is not much point talking about the plot. It is the Rambo style of blowing things up. The lines are cheesy as ever. But that is part of entertainment. Hearing actors poking fun on each other, making references to their past successes, I laughed out loud throughout the movie.
The one-on-one fight between Stallone and Van Damme is exhilarating. That is how men should fight. I wish that scene lasts much longer. I was so overwhelmed that after the movie, I said to TK and Cynthia, “Now, how I wish the fight between Batman and Bane is as epic as this!” Both of them simultaneous gave me that you-are-an-idiot look. I should have known better not to provoke a Batman fan. Or two at the same time for that matter. Interestingly, the filming of The Expendables 2 may have damaged the population of bats in one Belgium cave. It is a true story. OK, that is totally random and unrelated. Forget that I have mentioned the bats.
Rumor says that there may be an all-female Expendables. Who would you like to see? If I was the producer, I would want the following in my movie.
- Carrie-Anne Moss
- Uma Thurman
- Kate Beckinsale
- Angelina Jolie
- Milla Jovovich
- Scarlett Johansson
- Lucy Liu
I can understand why this film receives mixed reviews. And I can also understand why this film is doing quite well, commercially speaking. Audiences love to feel good. We love to see our heroes beating up the bad guys, many bad guys. And we hate to see our heroes getting hurt or get killed. “The Expendables” delivers just that, with a big team of stars. I was not expecting anything intelligent from the plot and hence, this film works for me. Some dialogs can be entertaining too. The clip with the uncredited Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis is probably one of my favorites (though some may cringe). There is not much acting to highlight per se. But I enjoy watching one particular scene as Mickey Rourke recounts the past. That is a convincing piece of acting.
I am a big fan of Stallone and his career thus far has inspired me to rise up to the challenge against all odds (that Rocky theme song still plays inside my head when that happens). Directed and co-written by Stallone, “The Expendables” is full of loud action. Some action scenes are so incredible that can only be seen in a shoot-them-all type of video game. The story is pretty simple. A CIA officer has hired the mercenary group called The Expendables to kill off a dictator in a fictitious island backed by an ex-CIA agent. And in the mist of this, the general’s daughter whom seems to disagree with her father’s dictatorship is involved. Hardly an epic storyline, I must agree. But it is good to see the actors having fun with the scenes like good old friends.
We watched this film at Cathay Cineleisure and the sound effect was loud, really loud: The gunfire and the explosion and let’s not forget that super loud machine gun that is capable to blow bodies and military structures into pieces with a single shot or two. Fortunately, not everyone in The Expendables equips that I-win weapon. I like the knife fight better. More stylish to watch.
And yes, there is some blood and gore. But worries not. I have seen worse on screen, much worse. It was the loud sound effect that seemed to bug me, for just a bit.
OK. Bad joke. I can’t remember the exact dialogue. When I suggested to watch “The Bank Job” last week, my buddy TK was like, “Isn’t that your job? 9 to 5 is not enough and you have to watch it on big screen?”
Cynthia couldn’t have put it better: Before “The Italian Job” and “Ocean 11”, there was “The Bank Job”. If you have watched all of the above, you shall know what she meant. And you know what? If luck holds, we may have “The Brazilian Job” played by the same actor, Jason Statham. It’s a sequel, that much I can tell you.
Now, check this out: British intelligence set up a robbery to gain possession of a safety deposit box containing incriminating sex photos of Princess Margaret. How much of the story is true? It’s impossible to tell. The film producers claim that they have inside source. Then again, this is UK you are talking about. I always loved to read their sensational tabloids especially the weekend editions when I was a student there. We need spice in life, we need to feed on gossips.
I love the rather complex plot of murder, corruption, and a sex scandal, and overlaid on top, a rather low tech bank robbery (it’s a crime committed in 1971 so what else do you expect?) that is not without its nail biting moments. And I also love how this rather multi-dimensional storyline is being told with such fluidity. Despite the fact that there are quite a number of characters and dialogues involved, each scene tells a concise piece of story that gels well with the next. It’s not a movie that you can leave your brain outside the theatre, of course. But it is not hard to follow either.
So is there enough chemistry between Queen of Troy (Saffron Burrows) and Mr. Transporter (Jason Statham)? I think they are both fine English actors and if there was more passion between the two, even for the imaginary character of Martine Love that does not exist in the so-called true story, it wouldn’t be believable.