Tag Archives: Expendables

What Happens in the Kremlin Stays in the Kremlin

RED was the sleeper hit of 2010. The well-written action/comedy exceeded expectations both in quality and commercial success. It is littlered_2_poster_teaser wonder  the film was destined to do well with Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Brian Cox, Bruce Willis and John Malkovich portraying aging retired CIA, MI6 and KGB operatives. As is the current nature of Hollywood, the sequel was a forgone conclusion. Amazingly all of the fantastic talent returned for the second outing.

RED, along with the Expendables (2010), touched off a type of action film renaissance–not just a renewed appreciation for the genre, but a glow placed on the stars that drove the genre in the 80s and 90s.  What differentiates RED is its reliance on those who were often not action stars, and John Malkovich providing high comic relief.

RED2 begins with Bruce Willis’ Frank Moses once again trying to adjust to civilian life. Moses and his girlfriend Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker) are experiencing a very realistic relationship issue. Following the events of RED Frank is overly worried about Sarah’s safety, and Sarah has gotten bored with their non action RED 2packed lives. After the presumed death of Malkovich’s Marvin, Moses is brought in for questioning about a portable nuclear device the details of which have just been released via Wikileaks. After a fantastic shootout between Moses and various special forces, led by the very capable Neal McDonough, Moses and the not dead Marvin are forced to go on the run in an attempt to clear their names.

Our unlikely team of heroes are joined by Cathrine Zeta-Jones as a former love interest of Moses’ and Anthony Hopkins as the delightfully mad scientist who invented the bomb at the center of the plot. The trail leads them to Paris and Moscow all the our team is stalked by the “worlds greatest assassin” played by Byung-hun Lee.

RED2 explores complex relationships and displays depth even though it doesn’t have to. The action sequences are a tad over the top, so much so that it seems to poke fun at more serious movies in the genre. The new characters and exotic locations are fantastic. Though often accused of phoning it in as of late, Bruce Willis’ performance is one of his best. He conveys a great deal of emotion through facial expression, and seems to show genuine surprise and irritation as he reacts to some of the more ridiculous scenarios. red2set-116

RED2 doesn’t break any new ground, and it doesn’t need to. What it does has already been done. Where it succeeds is in its acknowledgment of that. Everyone is doing it, but from where I stand, no one is doing it better.

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Harrison Ford Gets Expendable

Grauman's Chinese TheatreSure the plot of the first two Expendables films was as incoherent as director/star Sylvester Stalone singing Tip Toe Through the Tulips with a mouthful of jaw breakers, but the idea was solid enough; jam as many aging action stars as you into an explosion-packed shoot ’em up and market it to 30 somethings who grew up watching these actors kick, stab and shoot the bad guys. The box office bank, of course, guaranteed the sequel, and the sequel guaranteed even more dried up old anti-heroes blowing up the baddies played by other old actioners.

While it seemed amazing to see Arnold Schwarzenegger share the screen with Dolph Lundgren and Jason Statham, the novelty wears off pretty quickly. Honestly, I only watched the second film for the inside jokes, the highlight of which is Chuck Norris tossing out references to his Internet fandom. I was really surprised to learn that the threequel had been greenlit.

Adding to its already ridiculously overcrowded stable with the likes of straight to video king Steven Seagal and recent parolee Wesley Snipes, Expendables 3 is due in 2014. We learned this week, however, that the film will have to go on without the likes of Bruce Willis. Series creator Stalone announced on Twitter that Willis was “greedy and lazy” and had been released from the project. I wonder if perhaps Rocky discovered that John McLane could actually act.

Moments after announcing the ouster of Willis, Stallone made another announcement; he welcomed Harrison Ford into the Expendables fold. I will repeat that because it bears repeating–Harrison Ford will be in the freaking Expendables!! The question I keep asking myself is why?? Why would someone like Harrison Ford want to be in something as ridiculous as an Expendables sequel. Why would an actor of his caliber want to lend his gravitas to such a piece of tripe?

Sadly my answer was obvious. It was the same answer that was offered to Holly Martins in the classic film The Third Man– “For the money.” See I just made a reference to a film that probably only one person in the sure to be simply awful Expendables 3 would get. That person is Harrison Ford.

Harrison Ford is in the freaking Expendables!!!! You win, Universe

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