is going to be a great year for movies. I’m confident of this. Since
we’re in this ride together I figured we’d get ready for the year in a
fun and exciting new way. First, over the course of the next fifteen
weekdays we’re going to highlight one mainstream film a day. Some of
them are slam dunks, some of them have a cloud of trouble floating
above them, but all represent a great way to spend a Friday night at
the movie theater even if it results in you ripping its ass thereafter.

of the things this site is built on is a love of movies. Some folks
think we’ve let some of that go by the wayside. I disagree, but
regardless, I want 2010 to be a year where this site restores some of
that wonder. Though the glass can never truly be half-full in a
business so driven by rehashes and hollow entertainment, we’re going to
have fun with it and prepare you guys with as many tools as possible to
make the moviegoing experience worth it. Especially as the internet
gets more and more bogged down with people who have no right serving as
an authority of film blabbering all over blogs and Twitter and beyond.

There’s a reason you come here.

Day Seven

The Expendables
Directed by Sylvester Stallone
Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Mickey Rourke, Eric Roberts, Randy Couture, Steve Austin, Dolph Lundgren, David Zayas, Danny Trejo, Charisma Carpenter, Gary Daniels
Written by Sylvester Stallone, David Callaham, Kevin King

Full Disclosure

I had nothing to do with this movie, though I wrote this treatment for Jagged Alliance that was intended for the same financiers…

The Gist
One of the things missing from today’s filmic climate is the vital “men on a mission” movie genre back in full force. Well, the genre is still alive in the world of home video but that’s not life. Life is unabashedly embracing the sheer fun of those flicks and who better to remind the Earth than the guy who embraces the cynicism free better than anyone.


The Expendables may be PG-13 or it may be R. We don’t know. One of the producers mistakenly thinks that the last Rambo [my amazing DVD review] film would have been more successful had it trimmed the violence, not realizing that its extreme violence is 100% of the reason the film was worth a damn. Hopefully justice prevails and we get bloodbags aplenty as a very nice ensemble of B-Movie greats share a screen.

At the worst it’s like the title, but just maybe it’s a throwback we desperately deserve.

Or as Dolph Lundgren summarizes, it’s “an old-school, kick-ass action movie where people are fighting with knives and shooting at each other.” Hard not to love it.

Participants to Watch
Jet Li is good at kicking people in the face. He is not good at acting, at least not in English speaking movies [though Fist of Legend is better than any Merchant/Ivory joint]. He is also not terrific at being funny, but judging from the teaser reel for this movie he not only looks to be having fun but also holding his own with a group of action heroes with a gift for deadpan. Though he’s threatened to retire, seeing Jet Li in an ensemble like this could bode well for us all as a species.

David Zayas is the villain of the piece. You know, Angel from Dexter. Good enough actor for sure, but look who his adversaries are. But you’ve heard the way the dude speaks. A big bad villain with a speech impediment? Then again, Stallone’s never won any diction awards himself.

Jason Statham is a delight. I love him. And I’m bored to death of him. At least as the lead in moderately inexpensive theatrical films that showcase his considerable athleticism but little else. In a group though, he excels. Look to the Guy Ritchie films or even [though the movie isn’t great] The Italian Job. I think a 3 to 1 balance of supporting to leading roles is the key. This is a perfect safe zone for the guy. I hope it pays off.

That said, what I really want to see is a Collateral prequel with him and Cruise.

The Buzz
There’s very little buzz as of yet, though it doesn’t really matter if there were any. This is muscular people wreckin’ ass. You need buzz for that? This is what you need:

Best Case
It showcases why fun wins out over grace almost every time. It allows these aging icons another moment in the sun. It reminds Hollywood that not all action heroes need to be Bourne again.

Worst Case
It hurts the chances for other fun old school romps that we so desperately need. Stallone broke his neck on set for nothing.

CHUD’s Prognosis
In the same way that the last Rocky and Rambo were, it’ll be a nice solid double rather than a home run.

Useful links
Tons of AICN exclusives and stuff
CHUD’s MB Discussion

Not So Useful Lynx

Discuss this column here.

Monday: A slam dunk sequel that I surprisingly have no interest in.