Friday, October 5, 2012

The Expendables 2

Follow-up to the 2010 action/adventure, this time with more stars and more action. Another sequel that fails to see that more isn't always merrier. Just like in the first, Stallone and Statham are the only ones with any purpose while the rest of the group is just there because they were once popular tough guys. Rourke's absence creates a void, though his character didn't do much in the first movie anyway—his uselessness is actually substituted with Chuck Norris' couple walk-on cameos that add nothing to the story; and Li annoyingly gets third billing again despite his character being drastically smaller than in the first film. It's nice to see Schwarzenegger and Willis' characters expanded though. Jean-Claude Van Damme joins the cast as the main antagonist; however, a guy like him should have been a way better bad guy than Eric Roberts was. The first film was refreshing because it didn't fall into the trap of corny lines, and the setting was original and interesting; unfortunately, this film does not have the same quality. The climax is especially lame. No sign of Giselle Itié; instead, we are introduced to Yu Nan, who briskly shoves herself into the movie like a token Bond girl. Must the women in these films be so… expendable (no pun intended)? Add yet another sequel to the inferior list.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Expendables

It's funny when the trailers, posters and other movie-advertisements make a film look cornier than it actually is. Stallone's 2012 action/adventure—though not perfect, but very entertaining—falls into this category. A tight-knit group of mercenaries go to Vilena to stop an evil ex-CIA officer (Roberts) who is using a powerful general (Zayas) as a puppet to dictate the small helpless island. The setting, design, style and tone of the film are all superb; and while the action is above-par, it gets a bit cartoonish and fails to be mind-blowing. While the acting and choice of casting is exceptional, the characters are either cliché, hypocritical or both—Zayas seems to be the only actor amongst the large ensemble that brings to life a character convincingly conflicted and three-dimensional. The amount of characters is completely unnecessary, with most of them lacking any purpose—even Mickey Rourke can't seem to earn his keep despite having a terrific monologue mid-film. While the pros outweigh the cons, there are a couple of unacceptable missteps in this blockbuster homage. Have fun watching, because that's all it really offers… and that's not a bad thing…