Sylvester Stallone

Creed Trailer photo
Gonna fly now, gonna fly forever
Everyone's got that one film franchise that means more to them than anything. Some have Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings, Jurassic Park, and there's probably a few folks that really want more of Pixar's Cars. But me, I've got...

Hulkamania photo
Hulkamania

Hulk Hogan says he's playing the villain in Expendables 4


Rocky vs. Hulk: the rematch no one wants
May 27
// Matthew Razak
Think The Expendables is going to run out of aging, muscle-bound actors? Think again. Hulk Hogan is claiming that he'll be playing the villain for the fourth film in the implausibly continuing series. Of course, as with ...
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First official photo from Rocky spin-off Creed


Eye of the (old) tiger
Apr 13
// Matthew Razak
We're mostly just posting this to remind you that, yes, another Rocky film is coming and it's called Creed. Remember? Probably not since it's hard to get excited outside of the fact that Michael B .Jordan is starring in it as Apollo Creed's son. Here we have what must be an image of him visiting a retirement home and teaching the elderly how to box.  Creed releases on November 25. 
Creed photo
Creed

Rocky spin-off Creed gets a sad synopsis


I'm not ready for this to be over again :(
Feb 26
// Nick Valdez
It took me years, YEARS, to get over Rocky Balboa. When the three decade long Rocky saga finally came to end, it was a good end but I still wanted much more. The Rocky films mean so much to me (so much that I wrote my undergr...

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Stallone working on Rambo 5 next after Creed


Titled Last Blood: Rambo, which is a dubious claim
Dec 30
// Matthew Razak
While Sylvester Stallone is currently on his way to the city of brotherly love to film Creed, the Rocky spin-off in which Rocky trains Apollo Creed's son to box (just stand there and get punched a lot) he's revealing tha...

Review: The Expendables 3

Aug 14 // Nick Valdez
[embed]218182:41744:0[/embed] The Expendables 3Director: Patrick HughesRated: PG-13Release Date: August 15, 2014 During a routine mission into some nondescript country, Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) and his Expendables run into Stonebanks (Mel Gibson), a cofounder of The Expendables who has gone rogue and now runs a small militia in "Azmenistan." After the mission ends in failure, Ross disbands the group and hires a batch of younger mercenaries (including Kellan Lutz and Ronda Rousey) for a revenge mission. After some shenanigans, it's up to Ross and the older crew to save the younger crew and stop Stonebanks once and for all.  The Expendables 3 has the most promise in the franchise at the outset. Banking on the back story once considered to be stifling, the film probably would've had more effect had the seeds been planted sooner. The Expendables' concept is inherently great as it allows the films to replace, recast, and add actors whenever it chooses (by focusing the story on a team of ever changing members) so the fact there's a member we've never heard of makes sense, but it's executed in such a haphazard fashion as they just kind of stumble on him. That seems to be the major current running through the film. It's full of decisions that seem like a good idea in theory, but are marred by awful follow through.  For example at one point, The Expendables 3 is quite awesome. It presents this "old blood vs. new blood" theme that works as both a nostalgic fix (as that's one of the major staples of 80s action) and fun plot, but it's abandoned about fifteen minutes after it's picked up. Instead this awesome idea bloats the screen time of the already pushing its luck film beyond understandable limits. The "new" crew full of relative nobodies (sorry, Rousey) is a complete waste of time as there's an incredibly long montage (featuring Kelsey Grammer for some reason) that introduces that crew as if we'd care about them, then pushes them to the side for the majority of the film when shenaningans lead to their capture. The only newbies who get attention, Rousey and Kellan Lutz, only serve to befuddle the audience. Rousey's character is a blatant attempt to make up for the lack of strong women in the series, but is shown fighting in heels and is the only one who gets direct abuse from her captor. And someone in Hollywood is still trying to make Kellan Lutz a thing. It's even worse when he starts riding a dirt bike through tanks and you realize he's been wearing biking gear this whole time. It's sort of an unintentionally funny moment that almost cycles around to being entertaining. It's funny how the most nostalgic thing about this film happens when it's trying to distance itself from it. And it plain sucks that the newbies get so much attention when the new additions to the older crew are brilliant.  Wesley Snipes, Mel Gibson, and Antonio Banderas? Fantastic. Wesley Snipes has the same swagger that's really been lacking in actin films lately. With a suave darkness, his scenes are very enjoyable even if they're criminally in short supply. Gibson has a great turn as a villain, and while he's not as cheesily great as he was in Machete Kills, he really colors the film when on. And Banderas gets a lovely turn as the comic relief, but only gets to use his Desperado flair once. While his jokes actually land, it's sort of a toss up as I selfishly wanted him to be more of a badass. Speaking of comic relief, the comedy actually kind of maybe works here and there. When it's intelligible through the majority of the cast's thick accents, a lot of the jokes work. Sure, some are forced, but I'll take what little works.  You may have noticed that I've really only talked about the cast and general plot for this review and are wondering why I've seemingly skipped over everything else. Well, the rest of the film is really, really bad. So bad in fact, I just want to focus on the few bright spots. The film borders on boring at times, the needless back story building is still here, and while the practical effects are okay, the CG is just far too funky for a film with a budget like this. You just have to assume the bulk of the film's money was used paying actors and the rest of the film had to be shot in some styrofoam building somewhere. And for those wondering about the film's PG-13 rating, don't worry the violence is still here and is in fact helped by the lack of the terrible looking CG blood from the first R film.  If you're wondering whether you'll like The Expendables 3, let me tell you a bit more about myself. I love Sylvester Stallone's filmography so much, I once wrote a 15 page thesis on Rocky's montages. I grew up with these types of films, and while I got a few knowing chuckles out of hearing Schwarzenegger playfully yell "Get to the choppa!" I don't think it's worth sitting through the rest of this. If I could gauge how tired everyone seems to be (and Harrison Ford? Yeesh.), I'm sure you can too. There's no hiding it anymore. Everyone involved needs to stop lying to themselves. Stallone can't do this again.  Matthew Razak: The Expendables 3 is easily the best film in the series. Now you might be of the opinion that that isn't saying much, but for me the films have always been a solid throwback to action films of yesterday. Solid, but not great. They always seemed a little flat, with the first film suffering from only one truly big action sequence and the second a bit over stuffed. This one, however, is all action and almost entirely fun. Easily the best scripted with some fun humor and awesome throwback one-liners it all builds (as much as a mostly plotless movie can) to a fantastic, all out action sequence that smartly weaves everyone's skill into one violent explosion of action. It took three films, but Stallone finally nailed it. 78 - Good
The Expendables 3 photo
One last, tired, soggy ride
The Expendables could've been a good series had it been advertised differently. First touted as a return to form for aging 80s action stars as they wax nostalgic about their glory days, The Expendables turned out to be a grey...

Expendables 3 Trailer photo
Expendables 3 Trailer

Final trailer for The Expendables 3


Aug 04
// Nick Valdez
Due to some unfortunate events, a digital copy of The Expendables 3 was leaked onto the Internet and was pirated more than 2 million times. Now Lionsgate is trying to sue the individuals responsible claiming that the piracy ...
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See The Expendables 3 early and free


Washington DC screening
Aug 04
// Matthew Razak
I'm not sure any of us really thought The Expendables was anything, but a one hit wonder, but thanks to Stallones ability to crank these babies out and continuously put more over-the-hill action stars into his films its ...
The Expendables 3 photo
The Expendables 3

Character posters for The Expendables 3 get colorful


Jul 22
// Nick Valdez
While the trailers for The Expendables 3 refuse to drop the Fast & Furious-style title font, at least it's trying something different with the rest of its marketing. In a lighthearted move to remind us the film will be ra...
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Rumor: Rambo V is something that maybe possibly might still happen


This times he's going south
Jun 24
// Matthew Razak
If the subtitle for the story isn't the tagline for this film, which is only a rumor and evidently only a screenplay at this time, then I'm out. See Sylvester Stallone is reportedly pitching a fifth Rambo movie, though there'...
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New trailer for The Expendables 3 gets the blood pumping


Explosions
Jun 17
// Matthew Razak
Been wondering if The Expendables 3 would have explosions and fight scenes and action? That's a dumb thing to wonder since it's The Expendables, but this trailer fully confirms that those things exist along wi...
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Expendables 3 shoots up a PG-13 rating


Now with less gratuitous violence!
May 22
// Jonathan Wray
I guess it was inevitable. The latest version in the Expendables franchise, due for release in mid-August, will be PG-13. This move makes Expendables 3 go from that movie that annoying kids snuck into to that movie that the a...
Expendables 3 Trailer photo
That's the Furious 6 font, right?
The folks over at Yahoo Movies have released the first teaser for The Expendables 3, showing a couple action beats and the film's pretty sizable cast. I didn't much care for The Expendables One, with its dark color palette a...

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Expendables 3 rolls out a whole ton of posters


Because it has a whole ton of actors in it
Apr 02
// Matthew Razak
The cast for the Expendables films just keeps getting larger and larger, and in this very rare instance that is a completely awesome thing. You can tell it's completely awesome because despite the absurd amount of charac...

Review: Grudge Match

Dec 24 // Matthew Razak
Grudge MatchDirector:  Peter SegalRated: PG-13Release Date: December 25, 2013  It's easy to see Stallone in this movie as the guy is still built like a brick wall and dumping out action films with his shirt off left and right. DeNiro on the other hand is a harder sell. He looks old, and while it turns out he's in pretty good shape the film's premise seems like a stretch. Stallone and DeNiro respectively play Henry 'Razor' Sharp and Billy 'The Kid' McDonnen, two aging boxers who were once rivals back in their heyday. The two fought each other twice, each winning once, but when the third fight was about to happen Razor dropped out. Flash forward and through a series of improbable events and the wonders of viral video a grudge match is set up between the two boxers by broke promoter Dante Slate, Jr. (Kevin Hart). If the film had solely relied on old people jokes and training montages we'd be having a far different discussion, but instead, knowing its two stars aren't actually boxing material owns up to its ridiculousness and focuses on the comedy and relationships. Does it do this especially cleverly? Not in the least, but it does it far better than a movie about two 60 plus men punching each other in the face deserves to be done. 'The Kid' has a plot line focusing on kindling a relationship with his son (Jon Bernthal) while 'Razor' works on a broken relationship with Sally (Kim Basinger). Alan Arkin, as Razor's trainer, adds some comic relief and emotional punch as well. It's the film's focus on these relationships instead of the boxing that make it better than it should be. There's barely a training montage to be had, and by the time the actual boxing match rolls around the movie has smartly parlayed the focus from the fight to the people, bluntly hitting the viewer over the head with its cliche sports movie message of sportsmanship and family. Nothing is very subtle here, but it never hits that point where the film loses the audience. It helps that its liberally peppered with enough humor to keep you moving when the lackluster screenplay doesn't keep you interested.  It's also pretty smart of the filmmakers to mostly ignore the boxing since the boxing itself is pretty damn awful. Stallone and DeNiro's previous in ring appearances weren't exactly known for their realism, but this concluding fight is a joke. As if it wasn't obvious enough that Stallone was about 100 times heavier than DeNiro, the fight is so cut up its hardly coherent. That's probably the fault of the two boxers, who aren't exactly able to jump around like they could in their youth. Still, its just enough to hit that spot where all decent sports movies hit so when the triumphant ending comes you're suckered into it even though you've seen it a million times before. DeNiro and Stallone seem to be in the same boat. The two riff well enough here and there, but it's all so obvious at what they're trying to do. At some points they're spot on and at others they aren't, but they both pull out just enough to get you going. It's really the comic relief of Arkin and Hart that keep their characters alive. The film -- to use another old person metaphor -- is kept off life support thanks to the fact that the actors pump just enough life into it to get you going with the characters. It's obvious everyone is having a bit of fun even if they aren't fully committed to it.  Grudge Match is definitely not your best option in theaters this holiday. Far, far, far, far... far... really, really, really far from it. That being said, and despite the fact that it is cliche and obvious, the movie delivers some heart. I'm not sure where they found one that was still beating with actors this age, but it's there. 
Grudge Match Review photo
Old dog. Same tricks.
Grudge Match is a movie based entirely around getting two old actors (Sylvester Stallone and Robert DeNiro) from two of the greatest boxing movies ever made (Rocky and Raging Bull) back into the ring to punch each o...

Expendables 3 Teaser photo
Extremely brief but great.
We've been completely in the dark with The Expendables 3. We've heard about all of that ugly stuff behind the scenes about Bruce Willis, the numerous additions to the cast, but no one really knows what's going on. There...

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See Grudge Match early and free


Washington DC and Baltimore screening
Dec 16
// Matthew Razak
Old people boxing? No it's not another Rocky movie, though Stallone is in this as well. It's Grudge Match, which sees not only Stallone returning to the ring, but Robert DeNiro as well. There's going to be a lot of wrinkles. ...
Homefront Trailer photo
Homefront Trailer

Red Band trailer for Homefront is so America


Oct 21
// Nick Valdez
Homefront is a film, written by Sylvester Stallone, starring Jason Statham as an ex-DEA agent who has to eventually confront the druglord Gator, played by James Franco. How has this film not been hyped more? If you're lookin...
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New clip from Escape Plan has some bad one-liners


Sep 20
// Matthew Razak
"You hit like a vegetarian." It's going to be a bumpy ride sitting through Escape Plan if that's the best the movies got. In this first clip from the film we see Stallone and Arnie get in a fist fight in order to help t...
Homefront Trailer photo
Homefront Trailer

First trailer for Homefront, written by...Sly Stallone?


A film so American, only a British guy could be the hero.
Sep 13
// Nick Valdez
This first trailer for Homefront, adapted from a Chuck Logan novel with a screenplay written by Sylvester Stallone, is everything great about movies. It's about an ex-DEA agent, played by Jason Statham, who travels to a back...
Grudge Match Trailer photo
Grudge Match Trailer

First trailer for Grudge Match settles all bar bets


Who'd win in a fight between Rocky Balboa and Jake LaMotta?
Sep 13
// Nick Valdez
Let's say you're drunk and your drunk nerd friend goes, "Hey, who'd win in a fight between Rocky from the Rocky movies and Jake La Motta from Raging Bull?" Assuming any of that comes out coherently, the two of you get into a...
Rambo TV program photo
Rambo TV program

Rambo TV show in development, possibly starring Stallone


"They drew first blood, not TV."
Aug 21
// Nick Valdez
You know how that upcoming Rambo: The Video Game seemingly came out of nowhere? I think we finally know what it's attached to. Stallone has been trying to get another Rambo film off the ground for some time now (it would've i...
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Maybe Stallone was on to something


Looks like Bruce IS a little on the greedy side after all
Aug 08
// Jim Schweitzer
Yesterday, we let you know that Bruce Willis had effectively been chucked from the upcoming Expendables 3. Also, that the spiritual heart / driving force of the franchise (i.e., Stallone), had Tweeted a foot into his ass on t...
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Things are getting ugly in "Expendables" land


No love lost between Sly and Bruno
Aug 07
// Jim Schweitzer
USA Today is reporting that the soured relationships surrounding the upcoming Expendables 3 have taken an even nastier turn. The film's writer and star Sylvester Stallone tweeted yesterday that former co-star Bruce Willis was...
More Rocky movies photo
More Rocky movies

Michael B. Jordan to star in Rocky spin-off, Creed


A ROCKY SPINOFF? YEEEEEEEEEEEEE-
Jul 24
// Nick Valdez
First of all, I'd like to go on record as saying the Rocky saga is favorite franchise of all time. More than Godzilla and The Simpsons combined. So when someone says they're making more of them (you guys weren't aro...
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Mel Gibson confirmed as Expendable 3 villian


Jul 17
// Matthew Razak
The Expendables series is something that keeps seeming to work on premise alone. We're all excited to see these action stars get together and do action, and while the movies don't turn out terrible I'm always a bit disap...
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Trailer: Escape Plan


Jun 27
// Liz Rugg
Escape Plan stars two big-name action heroes; Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger, as muscle-bound convicts who team up to escape from an inescapable prison. Stallone plays Ray Breslin, a man who specializes in buil...
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Poster: Escape Plan starring Stallone, Schwarzenegger


Jun 07
// Liz Rugg
This new poster for upcoming action thriller Escape Plan is actually kinda cool! Escape Plan stars Sylvester Stallone as a masterful architectural engineer who specializes in structural security systems; i.e. he builds maximu...
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Here's your first look at Rocky the stage musical


Rhinestone 2: Fight from the Heart
Apr 30
// Hubert Vigilla
It was ages ago when we first mentioned the stage musical adaptation of Rocky, but now we have your first look at the production, which is headed to Broadway in February or March 2014. And... well... it looks and sounds a li...

Review: Bullet to the Head

Feb 01 // Matthew Razak
[embed]214569:39568[/embed] Bullet to the HeadDirector: Walter HillRated: RRelease Date: February 1, 2013 One has to give props to Bullet to the Head for actually filming in New Orleans, which is where we find  contract killer James Bonomo (Stallone) on a hit with his partner. But after they get double crossed Bonomo finds himself on his own going up against a real estate mogul who bribes the government for special contracts and Marcus Baptiste (Christian Slater), a rich playboy. Of course no action hero can go it alone so Washington, DC detective-on-loan Taylor Kwon (Sung Kang) joins up with Bonomo to take down the bad guys. Their first obstacle is taking down henchman and killer Keegan (Jason Momoa). The worst part of the film is that its two leads just don't work. Kwon is supposed to be a special agent sent down from DC because he's a great cop, but the second he starts working with Stallone (because working with a criminal is the only way to get to the true bad guys) he becomes a rookie. His repeated idealism is actually more like stupidity and the love story between him and Bonomo's daughter is the weakest excuse to get an attractive woman (Sarah Shahi) into an action movie I've seen in years. It's supposed to be an odd couple type of thing (director Walter Hill also directed the likes of 48 Hrs.), but it doesn't work because neither character plays off each other. The rampant racist jokes that Bonomo throws out get old very quickly as well. The movie doesn't make their contrasts stand out enough either so that the whole cop/criminal relationship turns into two guys sitting in a car. The film's plot is paper thin as well, especially since most of the story's forward progress comes from the fact that Kwon can find any information he wants from his Blackberry in a matter of seconds. While the movie attempts to hide this cheap plot trick by joking about Kwon's new school "phone style" compared to Bonomo's old school "flip-phone style" it's still a really weak storytelling gimmick. You're probably not heading to a Stallone picture for the in depth plot and character development anyway. You want blood (check), fights (check), breasts (check) and Christian Slater acting like a mad man (check). If that is absolutely all you want out of this movie then you are not going to leave displeased. The film is definitely rated R with plenty of blood flying from bullet wounds and a surprisingly copious amount of nudity. The action is seriously old school as well. This isn't a kung fu fight film, it's big muscular men tackling each other. There are actually some very solid fist fights sprinkled throughout the film. I'd even go as far to say that the film's one-liners hit as well, which is something Stallone has been struggling with recently.  Hill is an old school action director and wisely keeps his directing in that style. There's no slow motion or crazy stunt work to be seen and that is definitely how you use a star like Stallone. Of course this also means that the action can get a little repetitive as Stallone basically gets into one fist fight after another. Add to this the fact that any interaction that isn't fists being thrown or guns shooting is often painful to watch and you've got yourself a recipe for a 91 minute movie that starts feeling a lot longer. By the end, despite enjoying some parts, I really just wanted it to all be over. Despite my headlines claim that you'll desperately want to get out of this movie Bullet to the Head delivers on what you would expect from a January action movie starring Sylvester Stallone, but it doesn't do much more than that. If you don't think that this kind of movie needs to do anything more than there's absolutely no reason not to go see it. However, if you're interested in a film that's actually worth your money then saving this for streaming is the best advice. 
Bullet to the Head Review photo
That's one way to get out of watching this movie
While Schwarzenegger has just recently returned to full blown action status Sylvester Stallone has been churning out  action films at a steady clip. The increasingly muscular actor, who clearly h...

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See Bullet to the Head early and free


Washington DC screening
Jan 16
// Matthew Razak
While Arnold might be making his triumphant return to action cinema this week Stallone has been kicking out movies pretty much non-stop this entire time. His next opus is Bullet to the Head, oin theaters on Feb. 1, a mo...
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During a press conference for Chinese Zodiac (CZ12), Jackie Chan mentioned that Sylvester Stallone has given him a role in The Expendables 3. It seems like the role will be meatier than a mere cameo. As Chan explained: Sly h...

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New Bullet to the Head images have bullets and/or heads


Also a beaten up Christian Slater, and a Conan-less Jason Mamoa.
Nov 20
// Nick Valdez
Bullet to the Head is going to be a weird movie. It's going to have nice punchy-shooty, but then there's going to be awkward "hurr hurr you are so old" during all of that punchy-shooty. Don't get me wrong, I still think this ...
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UPDATE: Nicolas Cage not confirmed for The Expendables 3


Put the bunny back in the box, not the bees
Nov 07
// Hubert Vigilla
[UPDATE: Time to put the bunny back in the box. Sylvester Stallone told Deadline that he "has no knowledge of Nic Cage joining Expendables 3." He added that any reports that Cage was in negotiations for the film are false. Th...
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Trailer: Bullet to the Head


Oct 29
// Hubert Vigilla
Here's the newest trailer for Bullet to the Head, which pretty much covers the same ground as the first trailer and the international trailer. There's shooting and revenging and takening, and as Nick mentioned a while back, ...
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Stallone and De Niro are getting their Grudge Match


Also Kevin Hart is in it.
Oct 15
// Nick Valdez
Back when Xander first told us about the Sylvester Stallone and Robert De Niro starring old codger boxing film Grudge Match, it was moving forward with production without an official greenlight. Thankfully, Warner Bros. has j...
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Trailer: Bullet to the Head


Now even more badass because of Motorhead.
Oct 01
// Nick Valdez
This here is the international trailer for Bullet to the Head, the adaptation of the French comic book, Du Plomb Dans La Tete (which sounds a tad bit better), that involves an Italian hitman teaming up with a young...

Review: The Expendables 2

Aug 17 // Xander Markham
[embed]212495:38727[/embed] The Expendables 2Director: Simon WestRating: RRelease Date: August 17, 2012 Expendables is as much a superhero movie as Avengers. Stallone, Schwarzenegger, Willis and their ilk may have sported different names and costumes with each project, but their legacies are as clearly and individually defined as Captain America or Iron Man. No-one has ever been to see a Schwarzenegger movie for the character, only the actor and the characteristics carried over: the accent, the one-liners, the implausibly large guns (muscle and mechanical), explosions big enough to level continents. It's a point Stallone would do well to recognise, because for all Expendables 2's merits, perhaps its biggest disappointment is how interchangeable each of the actors' roles turn out to be. True, Lundgren provides some (weak) comic relief and Statham's Lee Christmas fights in a more balletic fashion than his comrades, but the movie rarely makes substantial use of its stars' personas. Chuck Norris doesn't kick anyone, Stallone ignores the blue collar roots which made Rambo and Rocky so winning, as does Bruce Willis with John McClane's grumpiness. The gang's all here, firing guns and blowing stuff up, and it's sufficient, but not as fulfilling as it could be. References to Rambo, McClane, Terminator and even Chuck Norris facts are forced into the dialogue and sit uncomfortably, although Arnie's first recall of his trademark catchphrase is at least delivered with such stupid bombast it's hard not to feel a cheer coming on. The cast is mostly differentiated by the range of lousiness with which they deliver their limited dialogue, with Statham being the best - Christmas' perpetual huffiness is fun - and Schwarzenegger and Norris tying for dead last. In a class of his own is Jean-Claude Van Damme, playing a villain named Vilain, a touch as magnificent as it is lazy, with the most peculiar syllable emphasis this side of Christopher Walken. Combined with his soupy accent and evil sunglasses, he's more than enough fun to give the film the memorable bad guy presence so lacking in the first Expendables, even if he doesn't actually do much. It's a shame Van Damme is the only big name on the side of evil, because it leaves few opportunities for the big names to be pitted against one another. The climactic battle between Stallone and Van Damme is passable but over-cut and lacking a sense of danger (but definitely not some curiously blatant homoerotic dialogue), with the only other smackdown of note being between Jason Statham and Scott Adkins, two of the least iconic actors in the series. True, their relative youth gives the fight an energy that the older cast members would struggle to emulate, but lacks the nerdy pleasure of the Lundgren - Li fight from the first movie. Speaking of Li, he disappears from the movie entirely after the first fifteen minutes, swapped out Asian-for-Asian with Yu Nan. She brings a welcome whisper of soulfulness to break up the rampant machismo, but watching her fight (when she's given a rare opportunity) cannot match the excitement of watching an icon like Li in full flow. On the plus side, cramming everyone onto a single team does lead to a slightly wonderful sequence near the end where Stallone, Willis, Schwarzenegger and Norris gun their way through an airport full of heavily armed mercenaries. (They actually start shooting before most of the civilians have fled, but let's put aside such minor indiscretions). Though it would be an improvement to be able to distinguish even one defining characteristic for each character, watching the genre's golden generation of action heroes working in destructive tandem is an unabashed delight. The sight of Willis and Schwarzenegger commandeering a smart car in typically furious fashion is as close as the movie comes to attempting an iconic scene on its own terms, hinting at how spectacular the series could be if Stallone and his co-writers were bolder in giving their audience something new to enjoy rather depending so heavily on memories of action past. Director Simon West handles the action well tidily, ditching the shakycam and giving Statham and Yu enough full body shots to convey the brutal grace of their fighting styles. The grey and brown cinematography captures the right militaristic tone, and while Bryan Tyler's score is perfunctory, it does what it needs to do, backing up the action without intruding. Despite a brief dip between missions, the pace rattles along at a solid clip and extraneous scenes are at a premium even in the short running time, they're fun enough to justify themselves without a need for narrative context. Using such terms in an Expendables review is frankly absurd: this is a movie whose sole ambition is to deliver plenty of bang for your buck without such unwanted complications as story getting in the way of the fun, and for the most part it succeeds. A third entry might consider giving its stars a little more room to shine individually and perhaps a slightly more robust plot, but anyone disappointed by the original will find this much closer to their initial expectations, even if it doesn't aim high enough to exceed them.
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The Expendables 2 is exactly what you want it to be, and nothing more. It's an extravaganza of big explosions, awful puns, ancient stars and barely-there plotting. Like all good ensemble pictures, there's an ample serving of ...

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Trailer: Bullet to the Head


Aug 17
// Nick Valdez
In this trailer for the film adaptation of the comic book, Bullet to the Head (releasing February 1st, 2013), Sylvester Stallone has an accent that's harder to understand than his normal one. It's sort of his normal mush mou...

Losing My Virginity: Rocky

Aug 16 // Geoff Henao
Like most classic, iconic films, Rocky is one of those films where, even if you haven't seen it, you're aware of some of its more memorable scenes, such as the training montage climaxing with Rocky raising his arms in success as the camera pans over the Philadelphia skyline. Then there's also the hilarious Sly snarl of "ADRIAAAAAAAN!" after his fight with Apollo Creed. However, it's the intricacies in the film's plot that ultimately stood out to me in the end. Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) moonlights as an amateur boxer that never quite lived up to his potential. Having dropped out of high school at an early age and finding minor work as a loan shark's enforcer, Rocky doesn't really have much else going on in his life BUT boxing. However, when the Heavyweight Champion Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) decides to stage a promotional fight to celebrate America's bicentennial, Rocky finds himself in a lucrative position when Creed personally chooses him. What fascinated me the most was Stallone's script. Stallone pitched the script to United Artists, which was quickly picked up. However, he had to lobby for the role, claiming it'd be his greatest regret if the film became hugely successful and he wasn't the lead role. Funny how things can set the tone for the future. Despite how critically and commercially successful Rocky turned out, however, Stallone's acting in the film is questionable. At one point in the film, I actually noted I couldn't find where Stallone ended and Rocky began.  One aspect of the film that I actually empathized with is how "normal" Rocky is. Paired with Stallone's acting, Rocky was a bumbling, awkward, slightly desperate character. There's a scene partway through the film where Rocky is trying to grab his crush, Adrian's (Talia Shire), attention at the pet shop where she works. He lingers way too long, talks way too much, and his voice is tinged with way too much desperation. The "unremarkability" of Rocky is one of the film's strongest points. Playing into the underdog tone of the film is the pacing/script itself. I came into Rocky expecting numerous scenes of Rocky training and fighting. When I realized early on that the film wasn't going to be anything like how I expected, I actually found myself becoming more enthralled with its direction. The emphasis really isn't on Rocky the boxer, but Rocky the person. I had no idea that Rocky was gonna be so human and personable. Because of this, Rocky's less-than-stellar attributes are highlighted under a microscope, much like the aforementioned awkwardness of the character. This brings me to the film's amazing ending. Unexpected to even pose a slight challenge to Creed, Rocky actually shocks himself and the world when he knocks Creed down early in their fight. As the rubber match meets its close, the film does something I wasn't expecting. While I knew that Apollo Creed was ultimately declared the winner, the ending focuses not on the announcement of the fight's winner, but on Rocky's and Adrian's declaration of love to each other. Even in modern films, an ending like this would still be amazing. I can only imagine the reaction to the film's ending in 1976. To create an underdog narrative where the underdog not only loses, but is uncaring of his journey's results is fantastic. While I would still rank later boxing films above Rocky, it definitely set the tone and foundation for every boxing film that followed it. Technically-speaking, the sound mixing gets muddied where multiple volume sources overlap over one another. With no option for subtitles, I found myself not being able to understand certain lines of dialogue. Furthermore, Stallone's acting is spotty at best. While his "action" scenes are where his true talent shines, his delivery is just cringe-worthy. Again, I'm not sure if this was deliberate to better shape Rocky's persona, or it's just how suspect Stallone's acting is. After the film ended, I found myself quickly adding every other Rocky film into my Netflix queue, making good process into Rocky II before I was able to pull myself away to write this feature. Rocky was surprising and obviously left me wanting to find out more about what happens in the life of Rocky Balboa. From here on out, I won't feel guilty every time I yell out, "ADRIAAAAAAN!" whenever I find my face battered and blue after a life-changing fight.
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[Losing My Virginity articles are reviews written by someone who still hasn't seen an incredibly popular movie after all these years. LMV reviews are interesting in that they can offer the perspective of a person who's untain...


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