Archives for posts with tag: Sylvester Stallone

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

For those with ADD: “Creed” isn’t as entertaining as “Rocky/Rocky II/Rocky IV,” but it is more or as emotionally satisfying as the first two “Rocky” movies.  The seventh “Rocky” movie is worth watching, especially with lead actor Michael B. Jordan doing a great job playing the title role.

Stallone, playing Rocky Balboa for the seventh (!) time, is all alone.  His wife has succumbed to cancer; brother-in-law Paulie is also dead; his son is in Canada somewhere; and of course his closest friends Mickey and Apollo Creed have died many years ago.  Quietly living out his old age running his restaurant, Stallone is visited by a young man (played by Jordan) who is the illegitimate son of Apollo Creed.  Jordan, a born fighter, wants to be a champion prizefighter like his father, and he wants Stallone to train him.

At first Stallone doesn’t want anything to do with boxing anymore.  Train the son of his friend who died in a boxing match, a match that Stallone could have ended by throwing in the towel but didn’t because Apollo wanted to go all the way no matter what?  No, that’s too much of an emotional burden to put on himself.  But…Jordan keeps coming back and it is clear Jordan will pursue boxing with or without Stallone’s help.  Stallone eventually caves in and trains the young man; they quickly form a father/son bond, each filling a void in the other’s heart as they train for a championship bout that has the potential to destroy Jordan’s career before it even really started.

Number 4 in my most memorable, movie moments of “Creed” goes to the scene when Stallone writes on a piece of paper some exercise drills for Jordan to do on his own.  Jordan takes a picture of the paper using his cell phone, then gives the paper back to Stallone.  Confused, Stallone asks why Jordan gave back the paper.  Jordan says it’s already in his phone.  But what happens if the phone is lost, Stallone asks.  Jordan says it’s already in the cloud.   Stallone looks up and asks, “What cloud?”

Number 3 goes to the scene when Jordan has to take a “number two” right before a fight!  His gloves are already on, and he yells for Stallone to cut the gloves off because he has to take a dump in the toilet.  Stallone hesitates, and Jordan asks if he’s going to wipe his ass for him.  Off comes the gloves!

**SPOILER ALERT**The scene that takes the number 2 spot of my memorable moments of this movie is the part when Stallone reveals to Jordan that he has cancer, and he is not planning to have any treatments done.  He explains to Jordan that everyone whom he has ever loved is gone, and that he decided a long time ago that if his body ever broke, he won’t fix it.  Stallone also hints that he wants to die so he can see his wife again.  Jordan then asks the old boxer about the relationship they have with each other, asking if they are a family, suggesting that Stallone has something to live for.  Stallone lies to the young man and tells him they are nothing more than boxer and trainer.  Why Stallone said this…maybe it was to spare Jordan of the sadness of Stallone’s passing in the near future, or maybe it is because Stallone doesn’t want to be pitied.  Whatever the reason, Jordan was hurt tremendously, and this is the most emotional scene of the movie because Jordan now feels as if he has been abandoned twice: first by his biological father, and now by his father figure/trainer.

My most memorable, movie moment of “Creed” is the scene when Stallone visits the Art Museum steps where he had ended so many of his runs in the first two movies.  Where in the past Stallone flew over the steps four or five at a time, he now walks slowly with the help of Jordan, and frequently needing to stop every few steps.  I was a boy  when I first started watching “Rocky” movies, and now I am nearing middle age.   I still work out often, as Stallone has done when he was my age; but as Stallone has said early in “Creed,” time gets to you.   You can slow it down, but eventually it gets to you.  I watch this scene and grieve for the loss of youth of one of my favorite, action heroes; and I think of the day when I will struggle to walk up a flight of steps…but with old age comes life, because only the living grow old.

— 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

 

 

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