Posts Tagged ‘THE EXPENDABLES 2’


Screen Shot 2015-01-30 at 3.08.51 PMRichard’s “Canada AM” reviews for “Project Almanac,” “Wild Card” and “Black or White.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!

WILD CARD: 2 STARS. “most the action takes place in his head, behind dead eyes.”

Wild+Card+Movie+(4)If angst is your thing, the new Jason Statham remake of the 1986 Burt Reynolds’ thriller “Heat,” may be for you. Sure, he also kills a man with a spoon, but unlike other fast-moving movies in Statham’s repertoire, here most the action takes place in his head, behind dead eyes.

Statham is Nick Wild, an Elmore Leonard-esque character working as a bodyguard/thug-for-hire in Las Vegas. He is the trademarked Statham “troubled loner” character, a man with a murky past who “doesn’t rest his head on the same pillow twice.” When his friend, call girl Holly (Dominik García-Lorido) is attacked by some very bad people at the Golden Nugget—“Tough place,” says Nick, “even the showgirls can rip a phonebook in half.”—and left for dead Nick is drawn into a dangerous game of revenge. Job done he may finally be able to leave Vegas for good, but bad luck and bad guys just might get in the way.

“Wild Card” could easily have been retitled “The Art of the Montage.” Take out the slow motion, the montages and the slow motion montages and you’d be looking at a twenty minute running time. Director Simon West, who worked with Statham on “The Expendables 2” and “The Mechanic,” never met a pastiche he didn’t love.

They slow down the action, although to be fair, there isn’t much action to hold back. This is a study of obsession, of gambling, of putting it all on the line, but most of all it is a study of Statham making angsty faces while ruminating on the “creeping virus” of Las Vegas. He’s broody and only pushed into action a couple of times during the 92 minute running time. In those scenes we get what we pay for—Statham getting medieval on bad guys—the rest of the time we get an insider’s up-close-and-personal look at what Statham looks like when he’s sleepy.

“Wild Card” could have been an interesting look at the downside of Las Vegas life. Or it could have been a kick-butt action movie. As it is, it is neither.


the-expendables-2-teaser-starring-terry-crewsNFLer-turned-actor Terry Crews has a history with Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The pair has most famously co-starred in two installments of The Expendables, but their initial onscreen encounter came years before.

“My first movie was called The 6th Day with Arnold. I’ll never forget it,” says Crews. “He was getting cloned and I was a goon. I had to jump up on these steps and say, ‘Adam Gibson come with us.’ The first time I ran up the steps, faced him and Arnold said, ‘What do you want?’ I couldn’t talk. I’m not even kidding you. Everything in my head said, ‘You don’t belong here. You’re an athlete. You have too many concussions; you don’t know what’s going on. They hired the wrong guy.’

“Then something went wrong with the camera, and I’m telling you I pulled myself to the side and said, ‘What the fuck is wrong with you? You wanna keep doing security?’ I literally yelled and cussed myself out. Then when they were ready I ran to him and said, ‘Adam Gibson! Come with us.’ When we were done Arnold said, ‘I like this guy, he’s emotional.’”

Crews’s career, which now spans sitcoms like Everybody Hates Chris, to reality shows like The Family Crews and Stars Earn Stripes, to movies like White Chicks and critical hits like HBO’s The Newsroom, has come full circle with The Expendables 2, where he shares a scene with Schwarzenegger.

“In the last movie we weren’t with him because he was the Governor and they could only film on Sunday,” he says. “It was him and Bruce [Willis] and they built that one scene and we weren’t even around. To have the chance to all be together, man, I was ecstatic.”

In person Crews’s action hero dimensions—he’s 6’3″ and carries 230 well-defined pounds—mask his more down to earth side.  He’s gregarious; a talker who laughs easily and frequently uses words like ecstatic and thankful to describe his life and career. He underlines his sense of gratitude when speaking of his hardscrabble life in hometown Flint, Michigan.

“Flint is a city you have to escape,” he says. “I’m just being real. You have to escape that city because there are a lot of reasons your dreams get killed there. Talk about all these dynamics happening all at once the city, friends dying, crack, killings, shootings, it was not a fun place to be and I knew I had to go. Football was my way out but as I sit here now, there is no end to my thankfulness.”

He appreciates the gigs in The Expendables movies, (“People in Flint can’t believe it,” he says. “I can’t believe it!”), and working on them has reinforced his work ethic.

“Watching Sly and Arnold and Bruce and all these guys on the set I realized they all had the same attitude,” he says. “They work like crazy. The effort that Sly puts in, it’s as if he never did a movie before. You watch that and you realize that’s how they made it. That’s who they are.

“I look at it as something I can never take lightly. I always have to stay in a mode of appreciation and never ever entitlement because I was never entitled. It’s about the effort and what the work is.”


The-Expendables-2-Movie-Randy-CoutureRandy Couture has no idea of the body count in The Expendables 2.

“I couldn’t keep up,” he says.  “I tried to tabulate my own. I had to quantify it like this; I had to see that cat die for it to count. I did it in the first movie and I got to twenty-six, like I saw that dude die, I know I killed him. I got to twenty-nine in the second movie.”

It’s doubly confusing because the same stuntmen were coming back day after day to be felled again.

“I beat Danny up several times,” Couture laughs.

The former five time UFC champ plays demolitions expert Toll Road in the Expendables series, a character he describes as “the glue that holds all of these dysfunctional guys together.”

He’s a real-life tough guy who turned to acting after retiring from the ring. Many of the skills he learned while fighting, however, have crossed over to the movie set.

“There is no other time in my life when I’m more in the moment then when I’m standing in a cage looking at a cat who wants to kick me in the head,” he says. “That’s what acting is, being in the moment. You have to listen. Know your cues and your fellow actors. Know your lines, be coachable, have discipline, show up ready to go and I think all those things, for me, came from athletics.”

At least one other habit transferred from his former career to his new one—his tendency to knock people out.

“It was an accident!” he says. “I didn’t mean to do it. There’s a guy who comes at me with a pistol [in the movie] and I take him, bring him around and throw him over my back. He flies up and lands on his head. He wasn’t supposed to land on his head, he was supposed to land on his back, but he got hung up on a shelving unit that I threw him against and then hit his head on a granite floor.

“To credit the stunt guys I worked with, it seemed like the higher you threw them and the harder they landed, the bigger the smile was when they came up. They are that crazy. This guy was worried he had ruined the scene. I said, ‘You were supposed to be dead. You looked dead. I’m pretty sure that’s the take they’re going to use.’”

Even though he’s worked with a who’s who of action heroes, there is one he has his sights set on.

“I half jokingly said I would come out of retirement to fight [Steven] Seagal. If he would sign on the dotted line I think I would have to really consider it.”


936full-the-expendables-2-posterThe Titans of Testosterone are back.

“The Expendables 2” has Cold War undertones to go along with a cast that found fame during that time. Aging action heroes Sylvester Stallone, Dolph Lundgren, Chuck Norris, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger act out a shoot ‘em up with so much blood and guts it would make James Bond positively red with envy.

I could tell you the plot of “The Expendables 2,” but this movie isn’t about the story. It’s a revenge flick about a team of mercenaries who will take on any mission, no matter dangerous, for money. Imagine what they’ll do for payback! In other words: “Track ‘em. Find ‘em. Kill ‘em.”

The old guys are mixed-and-matched with (slightly younger and more limber) film fighters Jason Statham, Jet Li, Randy Couture, Terry Crews and Liam Hemsworth.

There’s enough grizzled faces on display here to make you think you’re watching at Mount Rushmore. The difference is, these faces speak. They say things like, “Rest in pieces,” after they’ve shredded a bad guy.

Most of the dialogue sounds as though it was run through the Action-Movie-Cliché-O-Matic™. The ever-popular “Houston we have a problem,” line makes an appearance, even though no one in the cast is named Houston and the film isn’t set in Texas.

More successful are some of the meta-jokes about clichés and the surreal cameo by Chuck Norris.

Mostly though the dialogue gets in the way of the big action scenes, which, let’s face it, are the real reason to see a movie like this. When the actors are speaking instead of shooting your mind wanders. “Why does Stallone have a Ming the Merciless moustache?” you may wonder. “How much did they set aside in the budget for arthritis medicine?”

But these are nit-picky points. How do you review a movie like “The Expendables 2”? I can say if you have a soft spot for 80s action, you’ll probably like it. If not, go see “Hope Springs” instead. The best review for the movie actually appears in the film. At one point Bruce Willis says, “A nice touch. A little extreme, but nice.” My thoughts exactly.