I avoided this movie for over a year until I was on a plane heading to Hong Kong, China. I stared at the movie selection menu on the small screen before me and realizing it would mean death to dodge this movie yet again I reluctantly watch the film. It seemed like it would be a crazy, mindless and explosive action movie with next to no plot, I presumed correctly to my dismay. Now if you are an action junkie who hoots and hollers at even the hint of an explosion, yelling of profanity or just seeing a bunch of dudes being macho to the core you’ll probably enjoy this romp of endless camera cuts. Don’t take offense if you fell into this category and could actually read all the words up to this point but this one’s not for me.
To see old Sly Stallone trying to be an action star hurts. He is past his twilight but forces this performance with all he’s got which I do have to applaud. Now this movie is designed to be homage to action movies of the past, OK I get it. The old action movies were pure though and weren’t made to satisfy a manly sense of pride against the superhero genre, that’s right I just said what you thought I did. They put a ridiculous amount of exploding in this movie where I didn’t know what exactly was happening at times. The whole movie is full of all these quick cutting action and fighting scenes that drives me fxcking bonkers, yup bonkers. My eyes are searching everywhere to find what hit what where and by whom. The darkness of the majority of those scenes really didn’t help things either. I know the movie is made to be action but it’s such an uncontrolled display of it. Was anyone actually in charge on the sets? Or did all the ‘dudes’ nod in approval after every take? I can see why Jean Claude Van Damme passed on the movie. He was the kick boxer and that story, albeit not award winning looks that way set alongside The Expendables.
The entire final battle scene was all to save one person for the purpose of, well nothing worthwhile actually. I mean dig deeper than that, it’s cliché to a fault and it wasn’t even a good sensible story to conclude in that fashion. How nobody died is beyond me, except all the poor nameless souls going against these merciless expendables. There is no way they all survive, meaning the stars, not even in an action film. Everyone died in the Predator except Arnold but that’s because he is the only man who can kick it’s @$$, am I right? Ha-ha. Sly needs more depth is his plots, how about a personal grudge? Oh, Jet Li, man what a waste for him. He gets beat up and all those poorly cut fighting scenes don’t help. It had some stars but Mickey Rourke, who plays Tool, was the best and he never picked up a gun or left his tattoo shop. I got sick of Jason Statham (not a fan of) throwing knives after five minutes. How many does he have? Did he pick up a power up off camera of x99 throwing knives? He is throwing them nonstop! Dolph Lundgren, who plays Gunner Jensen, dies but then at the end he is alive and well hanging out with the boys. He died its good for the movie. I felt a sense of sorrow for Sly, who plays Barney Ross – what a tough guy name! When he shot his old comrade, he knew it was bad but had to be done. It is decent writing, as far as this story is concerned, until you bring him back to life. I’d have to say Hale Caesar, Terry Crews, had the best gun, it was like an alien technology he acquired from District 9 I swear.
I like Sly but his better days are in the past, at least writing wise. You can tell he honestly loves what he does and it’s really a shame he can’t do it at a high level anymore. A dying action star has the wrong motivation for an action movie is what I can conclude. Screw the superhero stuff and focus on a solid story line with memorable scenes wherein main characters die or lose something dear to them. The airplane spraying fuel on the dock then shooting a flare was good but forgotten once you have hundreds more action and exploding scenes before the movie ends. I didn’t like the movie much but I can at least explain why not. Is it safe to say the cameo appearances by Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger, were among the best scenes? I’ll close by saying I would give it one more shot out of a sliver of curiosity to find something more in it, that’ll be like finding a needle in a haystack you say? Ha-ha!
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