Archives for posts with tag: Arnold Schwarzenegger

Grade D

Manny’s Movie Musings: “The Expendables” is awesome; “The Expendables 3” is awesomely bad.   There are too many characters that are undeveloped, and so we don’t care about most of them (the original members are sort of safe, as fans already have an attachment to them); the editing seems like it was done by a film student; it’s rated PG-13 (so we get that corny, 1990s style James Bond violence); the action sequences are incoherent and so over the top that they can’t be taken seriously, and therefore the audience has no emotional connection to them because you get the feeling that no Expendable will be killed off; and many characters doing things that make no sense.  Oh, there is somewhat of a story here: The Expendables are hired to capture an arms dealer, things go bad, and many characters say lots of bad inside jokes that puts this movie into the comedy genre.  Lots of wasted money and talent, and lots of disappointed 1980s/1990s action movie fans like me.  My most memorable, movie moment of “The Expendables 3” is the scene when Mel Gibson (playing the lead bad guy) explains to Sylvester Stallone why Gibson became the way he is.  It’s the only well acted scene that gave this movie any real depth.

— M

If this is the last movie Arnold Schwarzenegger gives his fans, then it is a satisfying and appropriate ending to this biggest, action star’s amazing career.

“The Last Stand” is about a Mexican, drug cartel kingpin (played by Eduardo Noriega) who escapes from an unbelievably inept group of FBI agents led by Forest Whitaker during a prison transfer.  Hopping into a modified, Corvette ZR-1, Noriega races to the U.S./Mexican border.  But…his path takes him to a town where Schwarzenegger is the Sheriff.   With a heads up from the FBI — and not much help — Schwarzenegger prepares his town for a bloody fight with Noriega and his crew of heavily armed mercenaries.

Although this movie suffers from the typical plot holes and lack of realism in some of the action sequences that is found in Schwarzenegger movies, “The Last Stand” is still entertaining and it was a pleasure to watch.   I was able to forgive retarded plot holes like: only 1 FBI helicopter following Noriega’s ZR-1; and when Noriega turned off his lights and braked suddenly, the FBI chopper couldn’t find it with its spotlight.  Huh?  So that chopper that is following an escaped, drug kingpin who has killed an FBI agent doesn’t have night vision?  But, like I said before, this kind of s*#t happens all the time in Arnold movies, so it’s all part of the ride.  And overall, it’s a good ride.

Speaking of rides, besides the bad guy’s modded ZR-1, there’s also a Camaro ZL1 that Schwarzenegger uses to chase down Noriega.  Muscle car against muscle car.  This sequence is one of my memorable moments of this movie.

Another memorable, movie moment of “The Last Stand” are the scenes when Schwarzenegger tackles a mercenary off a roof, and shoots the merc’s head while in the air, then lands on the dead body.  Fast forward later on and we see Arnold still lying on the dead body, then he slowly and painfully gets up to continue his defense of his town and prevent Noriega from escaping to Mexico.  This man no longer shrugs off injuries.  Each hit is felt deeply, and we feel more for the character because of it.

The most memorable, movie moment of “The Last Stand” is the scene when Schwarzenegger goes toe to toe against Noriega.  Old against young.  Brute force against speed and jiu-jitsu.  It is a hell of a fight.

A big, endearing aspect to this movie is that Schwarzenegger knows he’s old.  His character knows he’s old.  But he still has it.  And the actor, as well as the character, gives it 100%, as much as they are physically able to.  And that is to be admired.  I’ve been a fan of Schwarzenegger movies since the 1980s when I was a kid.  I’m in my 40s now, and although I can rock a compression shirt just as well as a 20-year-old athlete, there are days when I feel my age.   So when I watch movies like this, where my favorite, action stars are old and graying and slow (but still putting up a fight!), it gets to me.  Because I understand.

Here’s hoping that “The Last Stand” won’t be Schwarzenegger’s last movie.

–M

God damn, I like this movie!   Most of my favorite, action stars of the 70s, 80s and 90s in one, big, loud, bloody movie!  What Stallone did for the first movie was a minor miracle; doing it again is just plain magic.  For those of you who make fun of Stallone and think he’s this big idiot, you’re wrong.  After seeing the making of documentary of “The Expendables” and “Rambo,” I highly respect this man as a director, producer, actor, artist, and human being.  He deserves all the success he has and will continue to get.

In “The Expendables 2,” we lose Mickey Rourke, but we get Jean-Claude Van Damme!   And yes, he still can’t act!  We get Chuck Norris.  And yes, he still has the charisma of a $4.99 plank of wood at Home Depot!  Who cares, they are both in the same movie with Stallone, Dolph Lundgren, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Arnold, and Bruce Willis!  Anyone growing up in the 80s watching these masters of destruction knows the relevance and improbability of all these men being in the same movie.  And I should just end my review here, as what I wrote should be enough to take your butts to the theater to watch this man movie.

But for those of you lacking testosterone, for those of you who still drink Zima, for those of you who think a broken down, old Honda Civic with a huge rear wing and fart can exhaust is cool, maybe a bit more explanation is needed before you ask your parents for money so you can pay for the ticket to see “The Expendables 2.”  Okay.  In this movie, the Expendables are forced to retrieve information that’s in a safe that’s in a plane that was shot down in some third world, European country.  Van Damme, playing the lead bad guy, robs the information from the Expendables; but he makes the mistake of leaving the Expendables alive — well, most of them.  Of course, the Expendables want some payback; and they are joined by Willis and Arnold to beat the hell out of Van Damme so bad that he might just start speaking English well.

It pains me to say that the first movie is better.  I know it’s rare for a sequel to be better than its predecessor; but I was hoping this would be one of the rare exceptions, if only for the bragging rights and financial boon to the aging, action heroes.   It’s still a very good, extremely entertaining movie.  Just not as awesome as the first.  Why?   I think it was the final action sequence, which was huge.  It seemed to me a bit unfocused.  It was also devolving into cartoon violence when Willis, Arnold, and Norris were in the shots.  You just knew those guys weren’t going to be in danger at all, whereas in “The Expendables” you didn’t know who was going to make it out alive.  The editing and unarmed combat was also better in the first movie.  Better how?  They were faster.  But I understand that most of these men are in their 50s and 60s.   You can’t keep running forever.

My most memorable movie moment in “The Expendables 2” is the scene where Stallone tells Liam Hemsworth (the youngest Expendable) to take point up a hill.  Hemsworth, carrying a large caliber, sniper rifle weighing maybe 50 pounds, runs up the hill like it was nothing.  The older Expendables stop and watch Hemsworth, amazed and slightly envious of the young man’s speed and energy.

Old age comes to us all…if we’re lucky.

M

 

 

%d bloggers like this: