Sunday, October 17, 2010

king of films and the film that would be king....

hey everyone

obligatory apologies for the lack of updates of late - been bust at verk, and indeed very busy with the boys! never mind, let me try and catch up with a few posts!

first off, some film reviews. and where better to start with than one of the most entertaining, insanely violent films ever made and possibly ever to be made?

those of us who endured the full 3 odd hour version of the awful Grindhouse will happily tell you that the only decent thing about it was the joke / mock trailers at the start and inbetween the two horrid films. of those, easily one of the best was for something called Machete. clearly a lot of people thought that this was the best "trailer", as they have gone ahead and made an actual Machete film, staying very close indeed to what was presented in that mock trailer!

there's always the great danger of a film based on a loose joke such as this becomes distinctly unfunny when actually made, but i am delighted to say that this is not the case with Machete. it very much "does what it says on the box", or if you will, did exactly what it said it would in the trailer.

plot? you want plot details? very roughly, a Mexican super duper agent going by the code name of Machete has his family wiped out and is left for dead whilst pursuing Mexcio's biggest baddie. and i do mean biggest - the wonderfully oversized, making latter year Brando look rather mobile and swift Steven Seagal takes this role. Machete surfaces some 3 years later in Texas as a labourer of sorts, and somehow finds himself in the middle of a conspiracy to help re-elect a Govenor. all hell breaks loose thereafter is something of an understatement, really.

Danny Trejo, a regular in films of this calibre but one of those actors you never quite recall the name of, shines at the front of this film in the titular role. he is mental.

the film proved quite educational for me too, really. i had no idea who or what a Lindsay Lohan was, bar being someone apparently important enough to make the news every time she was arrested. if all her films are as ace as this, in which she is either without clothes or in a nun's outfit wielding a massive gun, i am all of a sudden very interested in her.

hard to pick out many of the other cast for doing a good job, really - there are so many well known actors and actresses making a film for fun that is supposed to be fun and doing it rather well. applause, though, for Robert De Niro - he seems to have long since given up on proper acting for massive paychecks (and why not?), so it's refreshing to see him do something with little artistic merit but going full out on the performance.

Machete is something close to being the ultimate action film. despite promised sequels, it's unlikely that we shall see a film as frenetic, fast paced and outright ridicuously entertaining as this for quite some time.

which brings us on to the film that should have been the equal to, if not greater than, Machete, but falls confusingly short of doing so.

for over a year now fans have been watering at the mouth of the latest Stallone project, The Expendables. he promised a cast full of action legends and a return to "old school 80s action films" with the project. did he deliver this? yes, maybe, no, really.

The Expendables uses a very 80s style plot, in which a bunch of well armed nutcases go off to try and liberate an imaginary island from some rich guy with enough money to hire thousands of poor soldiers with bad aim. no, that really is the plot. except to say that the reason for liberating the island seems to be that Stallone's character is rather taken with one of the ladies living on it.

the cast Stallone has put together for the film is theoretically cool, but in practice just doesn't deliver. other than Jet Li bumbling around demanding more money, the stellar cast of action stars don't get to do all that much, and that would include Mr Stallone himself. all of the best action sequences seem to get left to Jason Statham, and the funniest lines tend to get delivered by - get this - none other than Dolph Lundgren. on one side that tells you exactly how funny those funny lines are, then, but it's perhaps not as bad as you fear.

Eric Roberts turns up as the really bad bad guy. he is as forgettable here as he has been in every single film he has ever made.

there is of course the celebrated scene featuring Stallone and his two mates Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger. *** SPOILER WARNING *** if you want it. basically, Arnie turns up to say he is not in the movie, and Brucie just swears a lot. an amusing idea, then, very poorly executed. *** SPOILERS OVER ***

one of the oddities of The Expendables is Mickey Rourke's performance. my brother is highly dismissive of it, suggesting he is present only as a "favour". from whom to who he won't elaborate on. oddly, i found Mickey Rourke to be one of the better aspects of the film.

in terms of utilizing a well known cast, The Expendables finishes a poor second to Machete. in regards of a more sanatized yet trying to be fun action film, it falls short of The A Team film from earlier this year. there's an inescapable charm to the film, though, that makes it worth watching. like Machete, the actors here are clearing having more fun that they are attempting to flex their thespian muscles, and do their best to deliver the kind of film action fans crave. whereas they don't quite get it right, they don't go too far wrong, either. worth seeing , at the least. a second film is promised with, Lord help us, an expanded role for Bruce Willis' character. let's hope the follow up doesn't have the same level of bland moments, if they can learn from Machete's pacing and editing they could deliver quite a winner.

happy viewing if any of those reviews are of use to you!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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