Insofar as trending analysis goes, I try to keep abreast of the latest movie happenings. The past several years have been the era of geek friendly comic book franchise dominance (Marvel Phase 1, Batman, Harry Potter et al.) This has left red blooded balls-out action lovers like you and I a bit wanting. Aside from a few big name tent poles, this summer has been pretty lackluster. Fortunately, the old faithfuls starring in The Expendables 2 allow us to go out with a bang, as well as bringing tidings of excellence yet to come.
Bottom line up front: The Expendables 2 is better than the first, mostly living up to the promises that the original failed to deliver on. Ultimately it’s still a full-retard plotless piece of cinema, but if you’re concerned with silly things like story arcs and thematic depth, you watching the wrong movie brother. The best thing about the movie is how they embrace the self awareness of a bunch of leathery skinned arthritic granddads doing high octane action they should’ve stopped doing 20 years ago. There’s plenty of in jokes and self referential parodies abound (Chuck Norris as a “Lone Wolf”…get it?…you morons will watch anything!!) and the big names ham it up and look like they’re having a blast doing it. For all the irony, however, what you may find most surprising is that Sly and Arnold are far from finished kicking ass and taking names, as evidenced by the trailers before the movie even started. Behold!
A Texas Sheriff with an Austrian accent? No Fux Given.
I’m interested in this for several reasons. In both The Expendables and The Last Stand, Arnold seems to be fully coming to terms with being long in the tooth. It looks like hes down for diving into the role of a grizzly badass who’s Too Old For This Shit and just letting his natural larger than life charisma ride alongside with his older and wiser experience. This is also the American debut of Korean Director Jee-woon Kim, famous for The Good The Bad and The Weird as well as I Saw The Devil. I have only seen Devil, which was a motherfucker of a Korean revenge movie (5/5 murdered torture porn actresses……it’s a pretty fucked up movie), but I understand that Kim can handle various different genres well. Whenever a respectable director famous for solid Cannes-Level movies overseas comes to America, they usually end up making shitty big budget B-Movies. I get the feeling this one might be playing upon that expectation though, so I definitely am looking forward to it.
Gritty Hired Killer: The Movie
Now this is whats up. The crazy thing about this trailer is that it honest to god looks like it came straight out of the 80′s. Its got all the great earmarks of a run of the mill action yarn: hired killers in suits, dead partner spurring a quest for vengeance, buddy-cop comedy racial tension, Rocky, Conan, Christian Motherfucking Slater, this is the goods. As it turns out, this story is an adaptation of a Graphic Novel of the same name which was inspired by the very same 80′s action burners that Sly helped cultivate. My, how things come full circle. More interesting is the confluence of comics and mindless action cinema that indicates that they need not be mutually exclusive, as well as the opportunity to tap into a huge well of source material that could potentially lead to more great action films for years to come. After all, it worked for Sin City and The Losers.
The thing I enjoyed most of all about about the Expendables 2 was the fantastic performance by the Muscles from Brussels himself, Jean Claude Van Damme, who plays the creepy Euro villain to the Hilt (John Vilain….yeah the whole movie is like that). They even added my very favorite action movie trope: Badass Right Hand Man/Lieutenant, played by the extremely capable martial arts actor Scott Adkins. Van Damme and Adkins have appeared in no less than 3 DTV films together, which makes me think he might be somewhat of JCVD’s protege. Moreover, they are starring together in another joint coming soon that’s super high on on my give-a-shit meter:
This kind of batshit insanity is what DTV is ALL ABOUT
Adkins has been steadily building his hollywood career. He has been in other big name films, but you probably haven’t even recognized him (X-Men Origins: Wolverine, The Bourne Ultimatum). If Jason Satatham is the heir to the throne of Action Superstardom, Adkins is the spiritual successor to the runner-up niche Action stars like JCVD, Segal and Dudikoff (lol) who specialize in kicking motherfuckers to death with style, grace, and a steely grimace. Take a look at this semi-sizzle reel to get a better Idea of Adkins chops:
Scott Adkins is The Truth!
In conclusion, Expendables 2 is Big Stupid Fun, emphasis on the stupid and fun. I give it 3/5 HGH Injections! There are a good number of old dudes kicking ass still in play and on the horizon. Hell, Liam Neeson has re-invigorated his career based on this concept. Let me know in the comments about any other of your favorite over the hill action stars still going strong and your favorite current films featuring them who deserve some love. And as always, I encourage you to share all your Euroland, Down Under, and Brown America favorites. Peace!
Can your grandfather still whoop your ass? Who The hell is Liam Hemsworth anyway? Is trailer-trending totally lame? Are you getting too old for this shit??