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Dr. Kronner’s Joy: THE EXPENDABLES 2

I was born in 1983, which means that by the time I was old enough to watch and actually understand what was happening in movies, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone were the 2 biggest names in Hollywood. Those two were churning out some of the greatest action movies of all time, stuff like Predator, Conan, Terminator, the Rambo series, and the Rocky movies. However, they were also rolling out crap like Cobra and Red Heat too. As young as I was, I couldn’t really tell which ones were destined to be remembered as classics and which were fated to be forgotten (Raw Deal? Lock Up?) but I loved all of them. I was just a kid, but I can remember many an evening spent on the couch with the old man watching Rocky IV or The Running Man and through that, I grew attached to the genre and its stars. The action movies of the era were totally over the top (get it?) and I couldn’t get enough.

the expendables 2Here is Stallone, Schwarzenegger, and Willis back when Bruce was still wearing hats everywhere to hide his hairline. This particular one he probably got from the ‘Hudson Hawk’ set…

As the ’80s came to a close, a third action icon would emerge – Bruce Willis. His breakthrough role in Die Hard, still arguably the greatest action movie in existence, placed him rightfully in the conversation with Arnold and Sly, and for years, that was the hierarchy. But, as with every hero, age took its toll. Stallone did Cliffhanger in ’93 and Arnold had True Lies in ’94, but after that they both turned out a series of near unwatchable garbage – The Specialist, Assassins, Daylight, End of Days, Collateral Damage, The 6th Day – the list goes on and on. While Willis would find success in a few more Die Hard movies, even he started to shy away from the genre for a while. That is until 2006 when Stallone, desperate for a hit, went back to the role that made him with Rocky Balboa. At 60 years old, he proved he could still draw audiences and he repeated the feat 2 years later with a 4th Rambo movie. Suddenly, the gears started turning and the movie I had prayed for 20 years earlier began to take shape…

the expendables 2

In 2010, Stallone started recruiting his aging contemporaries to make a star-studded action movie that revolved around the idea that they could all still fire guns and blow shit up, and it was great. Ok, so maybe not ‘great’, but it was entertaining as hell and pure nostalgia was often enough to power you through the weak dialogue and thin plot. Then on Thursday night, August 16th, at about 11:55 pm, I loaded myself into a theater seat and got ready for the sequel to begin. I was not disappointed.

the expendables 2

This time around, we were given not only Stallone (66) and Jason Statham (45) again, as well as much larger roles for Willis (57) and Schwarzenegger (65), but we also get the return of Jet Li (49), Dolph Lundgren (55), Randy Couture (49), and Terry Crews (44). Not to mention the inclusion of Chuck Norris (72 years old!), Thor’s little brother (22), and a 52 year old JCVD! It was awesome. Norris told a ‘Chuck Norris’ joke while going by the moniker ‘Lone Wolf’ (like Lone Wolf McQuade), Van Damme did multiple roundhouse kicks as the villain named ‘Vilain’, and Dolph Lundgren’s backstory was that of his real life – a chemical engineering degree from MIT…it’s like Stallone was writing the script while watching an action marathon on SpikeTV and reading Wikipedia.

the expendables 2

The movie also featured Nan Yu, who’s mostly Chinese resume I’m unfamiliar with. While she wasn’t bad, I would’ve gone with Maggie Q instead. With her resume already boasting adrenaline fueled flicks like Live Free or Die Hard, Mission Impossible: III, and the action-packed TV show Nikita, it just felt like a missed opportunity to grab the biggest cast they could. However, Nan Yu probably has more global pull and that could be why the decision was made. That being said, Yu did kick some ass in here.

the expendables 2

This was a movie that didn’t take itself too serious and delivered on the action. There were a few parts that might have come off as cheesy dialogue-wise, and it’s doubtful many people under the age of 18 could really appreciate most of the references, but for me, at the wise age of 29 – I was thrilled. The Expendables 2 delivered exactly what was promised and didn’t try to be something it wasn’t. The ‘R’ rating is barely warranted as the language wasn’t super harsh, there were zero female chesticles exposed (as Aaron pointed out), and much of the violence was so stylized it wasn’t intensely gory.

There is also something I want to give them credit for – something that seems to be a lost art form in most newer action movies – HOLDING THE GODDAMN CAMERA STILL!  Ever since Spielberg wow’d everyone in ’98 with the opening scene of Saving Private Ryan, directors have been shaking the camera around so much you can’t tell what is happening. Perfect example would be ALL of the Bourne sequels. This time around the camera stayed stationary long enough for us to actually see the action happen – so thank you Simon West (Con Air, The Mechanic).

Overall, while the plot was a little thin and, quite often, the characters just seem to appear out of nowhere for the purpose of delivering a one-liner, this movie was a fun ride, and I think trumped the first movie easily. I give it 4/5 Grizzlies for delivering on its intended purpose and staying fun.

 

Despite the movie only being out a day in its spread its seed of unabashed 80s magnificence, there are already rumors that for the 3rd movie Harrison Ford, Clint Eastwood, and Nic Cage are all wanted.

the expendables 2As sweet as Eric Roberts and JCVD were in the first 2 movies, Nic Cage could be the greatest villain since Hans Gruber if written correctly (Editor’s Note: Honestly, he’d be the best villain ever if written incorrectly, which is what I’m rooting for.-C Tan)PUT HIM IN A BEAR SUIT!!!

Personally, I’d like to maybe see Linda Hamilton or Sigourney Weaver pop up as they were the baddest ass action heroines around when I was a kid. You could also see if Uma is busy, let her do some more sword play as it will have been over a decade since Kill Bill

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And, it may just be my movie-riddled mind drawing connections where there are none – but I spotted references to all the following movies – did anyone catch one that I missed?

– Good Guys Wear Black (1978)
– Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
– Conan the Barbarian (1982)
– First Blood (1982)
– Lone Wolf McQuade (1983)
– The Terminator (1984)
– Die Hard (1989)
– Total Recall (1990)

I’m sure there are more, I just have to go see it again…

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CCI 2012: Oz The Great & Powerful and The Lone Ranger Trailers, Plus The Expendables 2 Panel & More!

Lots of movie news and trailers coming out of Comic-Con International, so let’s get started!

Oz: The Great and Powerful

It seems like the pairing of Sam Raimi and a Disney prequel to The Wizard of Oz starring James Franco wouldn’t exactly be on the top of “Things to be Expected at Comic-Con 2012”. But alas, Oz: The Great and Powerful is very much real. A Comic-Con panel revealed that the story would follow The Wizard before he became The Wizard of Oz, starring James Franco as the title character. Raimi also revealed that longtime friend and fan favorite Bruce Campbell will have a role in the film. I don’t think I’m alone when I say he’d be awesome as the leader of the munchkins.

The trailer, which was released soon after the panel finished up, reveals a similar style to the original film in that it begins in black and white and turns to color once our hero reaches The Land of Oz. I’ll admit, once Franco reaches The Land, the whole thing becomes Tim Burton-y in the Alice in Wonderland variation, a film that I despise with every fiber of my being. Joe Roth, one of the producers of Alice in Wonderland, serves as a producer on this film which may explain the similar style.

But here’s the thing, Raimi is better than 95% of most mainstream action/adventure directors working today. His projects always have an immense amount of passion regardless of the budget, and he has the decency to give the audience a self-aware wink, but not to the point of pretentious overload. I’ve yet to encounter a Raimi film that I didn’t like, and hopefully Oz: The Great and Powerful won’t be an exception. Here’s the trailer:

You can read more over at Bosco’s Grindhouse.

The Lone Ranger

After what seemed to be a falling out on production of The Lone Ranger due to an inability to find a suitable actor for the title character, a surprise visit from Trailerland has made its way to Comic-Con. A thus far unreleased preview for The Lone Ranger has been screened at the Con, and this is what Collider had to say about the goings-on of this important preview.

Most of the trailer has Tom Wilkinson (who plays the film’s villain) providing narration about the importance of trains.  He explains that because trains will be the fastest mode of transportation in the old west, and whoever controls them “controls space and time.”  It’s unintentionally funny because, it’s, you know, trains.  But the visual style is full of Verbinski’s indulgences, like a brief shot that goes into a saloon and there’s a prostitute swinging from a wooden crescent moon that’s suspended from the ceiling.  There’s also a slo-mo shot of a bunch of white guys in around a table getting shot at.

Then there’s the big reveal of Tonto (Johnny Depp) and The Lone Ranger (Armie Hammer), and the shot is the first official image from the film.  Then there’s a bunch of quick action shots including the Ranger drawing down on an unseen enemy, and Tonto clinging on to the bottom of a speeding train.  But if there’s one big take-away from this trailer, it’s trains.  Trains are really, really important.  The film also stars Helena Bonham Carter, William Fichtner, Barry Pepper, James Frain, Ruth Wilson, and James Badge Dale.”

Personally, I think Armie Hammer is an awesome choice for any movie, especially one as epic as The Lone Ranger. He has a certain screen presence about him that led to very powerful performances in The Social Network and even J. Edgar. Put Johnny Depp in just about anything and I’ll watch. I’m not too worried about his performance here. The Lone Ranger is set to release July 3rd, 2013.

Again, read more over at Bosco’s Grindhouse.

Frankenweenie

A new trailer for the upcoming Tim Burton film, Frankenweenie, was released at the Con today. It’s an extended version of the trailer that’s been running in theaters for the past couple months, and it furthers the tone set by the partially creepy and partially cute trailer we’ve already seen. This is definitely a passion project for Burton because it’s based off a short he made at the beginning of his career. I’m actually very excited to see how he extends the idea to feature length, and the way the premise seems to be played out is reminiscent of Edward Scissorhands. Will this be Burton’s first good film since Big Fish? I hope so.

You can read Collider’s summary of the Con Panel with Burton right here and you can watch the extended trailer for the film below:

The Expendables 2

One of the most anticipated panels of the year was The Expendables 2 which brought together literally every major action star of the past forty years. From Stallone to Schwarzenegger to JCVD to Liam Hemsworth, The Expendables 2 has something for everyone and this panel only proved that. One of the high points of the evening was seeing Schwarzenegger awarded IGN’s Action Hero Hall of Fame Award by last year’s recipient, co-star and friend Sylvester Stallone. A collection of Arnold’s best scenes and kills was shown to the audience and met with uproarious applause.

The bromantic panel that followed allowed for the actors to brag about how great everyone in the movie is. Stallone went as far as saying that audiences will be surprised by JCVD’s performance. The stars also got to talk about how much fun it was to interact with other legends in their genre. Some new clips were shown including “a truly kick-ass gunfight scene set at an airport between JCVD’s bad guys and the Expendables.” Despite Chuck Norris’ involvement (sorry, Kronner) and the film’s PG-13 rating (which is because of Chuck Norris [sorry again, Kronner), I’m pretty excited for this movie, especially because the first one was so truly bad-ass and will go down as one of the most popular cult hits of all time.

Here’s the panel for your enjoyment:

Wreck-it-Ralph

Disney’s newest film, Wreck-it-Ralph, looks to be something like The Avengers (Ed. Note: Nothing is like the Avengers.) meets Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World with animation similar to Tangled. What comic books were to The Avengers, video games will be to Wreck-it-Ralph. A valentine to gamers everywhere, this is one of my top ten most anticipated films for the rest of the year, and one that I’m getting more and more excited for as the release date approaches.

A new, ten minute clip was premiered at the Con today. A detailed description of the clip can be found here. According to IGN, the plot goes something like this:

Ralph is the antagonist of an old school arcade game called Fix-It Felix, Jr., where he destroys builds as Felix (30 Rock’s Jack McBrayer) makes repairs with his magic hammer. This is Ralph’s job, where he’s seemingly stuck forever as a destructive, brutish villain. The only time he can truly be his good self is after the arcade closes or during his Bad-Anon support group meetings with other video game heavies.

The lonesome Ralph is determined to find himself a new video game home, one where he can finally be the hero. What appears to be a simple power strip on the floor of the arcade is, in fact, Game Central Station, which allows characters to venture to the different game worlds of the arcade. Some of the other game worlds Ralph journeys to include the sci-fi combat shooter game Hero’s Duty and the cart-racer Sugar Rush, encountering no-nonsense Sgt. Calhoun (Jane Lynch) and Vanellope Von Schweetz (Silverman) along the way.

Sugar Rush offers Ralph his best chance yet at heroism (and love via his burgeoning relationship with Vanellope), but all is threatened when it’s discovered that the seemingly safe and saccharine realm of Sugar Rush holds a deadly secret that threatens to destroy all the game life in the arcade itself.

I think this is a fantastic premise for a film and I’ve been waiting for something that incorporates a bunch of different video game characters in a movie setting. While I’m not the avid player I once was, I know I’ll be able to understand most of the retro references that come up even in the film’s trailer. Something that disappointed me, though, was the reported absence of Mario and Luigi. According to the panel (which you can watch part of below) at the Con, Super Mario Bros. asked too much for an appearance in the film so Disney scrapped the idea.

A bit of news that redeemed this bad news; Skrillex will be providing music for the “Hero’s Duty” portion of the film. Guess where you can read more about Wreck-it-Ralph? Yep. Bosco’s Grindhouse.

And that’s the beginning of the news. Seriously. We’ll talk again, real soon.

For more CCI coverage click here. For pics from the con check out our Tumblr!

‘The Expendables 2’ Trailer Has Arrived! Explosions! One-Liners! More Explosions! Chuck Norris!

There are a lot of haters out there for The Expendables, which I don’t understand. Out of any movie franchise out there right now, it clearly knows what kind of movie it wants to make, and packs it full of the actors who are going to do that well. It was a star-studded action movie that provided action and stars. Great success. So believe me when I tell you how excited I am for the second one. The cast list has expanded to include almost every possible action star from the 80’s on including some new faces and a hell of a lot more action.

Continue reading ‘The Expendables 2’ Trailer Has Arrived! Explosions! One-Liners! More Explosions! Chuck Norris!

Movie Trailer Roundup: MiB III, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, The Expendables 2 and MORE!

Men in Black III

 The MIB duo of Agent Jay and Agent Kay are back in action. When the world is threatened by an evil alien, Agent Jay travels back in time to 1969, where he teams up with the younger Agent Kay to stop an evil villain named Boris from destroying the world in the future. 

Stars: Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Emma Thompson, Josh Brolin, Alice Eve, Jemaine Clement

Release Date: May 25th, 2012

Continue reading Movie Trailer Roundup: MiB III, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, The Expendables 2 and MORE!

The Expendables 2: Schwarzenegger and Willis Returning

For all of you Expendables fans out there who can’t get enough of Hollywood action stars shooting and killing bad guys then here’s some excellent news: Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis are returning….

But don’t worry, it won’t be as lame as their little bit of face time in the first movie, according to Worst Previews, these roles are “substantial”:

Millennium Films recently revealed that Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis will return for “The Expendables” sequel, but now comes word that the two actors have officially closed their deals for “substantial” roles in the film.

Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Terry Crews and Randy Couture are also all returning. And they will be joined by Chuck Norris, Scott Adkins and Jean-Claude Van Damme.

Now, by substantial roles I hope that means Arnold gets a nice little Commando-esque scene where he destroys about thirty guys on his own. Seriously that’s the only way to go! With the film reportedly losing Jet Li, they are a couple of guys that I think more than make up for his absence: Chuck Norris and Jean Claude Van-Damme. And with Simon West, director of Con Air at the helm, you know this movie is more than likely going to be the most retarded thing ever… but in a good way. I watched Con Air over fifty times in the summer of its video release and many of you may not know that it is indeed an Academy Award winner nominee. (Original Music and Sound) So buckle up for 2012 my friends because the world IS ending once the Schwarz-Damme-Allone wave hits ya!