All-star cast is burden in lackluster ‘Expendables 2’
Jason Statham, Sylvester Stallone and Randy Couture star in “The Expendables.”
- “The Expendables 2”
★ 1/2 (out of four)
2012, Dir. Simon West, U.S., R
"The Expendables 2" is rated R for profanity and graphic violence.
- New films
Director: John Hillcoat.
Starring: Tom Hardy, Shia LaBeouf.
The plot: Set in the Depression-era Franklin County, Vir., a bootlegging gang is threatened by authorities who want a cut of their profits.
Genre: Crime, drama.
Director: Ole Bornedal.
Starring: Natasha Calls, Jeffrey Dean Morgan.
The plot: A girl buys a possessed antique box at a yard sale.
Genre: Horror, thriller.
- Film roundup
“THE BOURNE LEGACY”
★★ 1/2 (out of four)
This spin-off (skillfully directed by veteran screenwriter and Oscar-nominated filmmaker Tony Gilroy, of “Michael Clayton” fame) uses the Jason Bourne saga as a backdrop to tell the story of Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner), who, like Bourne, was part of a government research program aimed at creating physically and intellectually superior super-spies. Unlike Bourne, Cross remembers who he is and what he’s done, and becomes the target of government assassins once the Bourne situation goes public.
The film follows two friends, Frank and Casper (series stars Frank Hvam and Casper Christensen), as they embark on a first-annual canoeing trip, sold to their significant others as a nature-oriented male bolding experience. Their true intentions are more debauched, and their misadventures include a statutory rape escapade, casual sex with a random woods dweller, and an exclusive annual party based around blackjack and hookers. Along for the ride is the 12-year-old nephew of Frank’s pregnant girlfriend, whom he wishes to impress with his ability to care for a child.
“THE DARK KNIGHT RISES”
“The Dark Knight Rises” (which clearly should have been titled “Gotham Rises,” I’m just sayin’) picks up exactly eight years after the events of the last film. The city of Gotham is marking the anniversary of the death of former district attorney Harvey Dent, who, according to the official story, was betrayed and murdered by Batman before the masked vigilante went underground as a fugitive. The weight of this lie has done a number on Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale), who has vanished from the public eye and lives out his lonely days as a shut-in.
“THE AMAZING SPIDER MAN”
One could argue that this superhero is more suited to the vibrant colors and easy charms delivered by the first three “Spider-Man” films, and the dark alleys and existential quandaries should be left for Nolan alone to explore. But I’m not sure I buy the idea that the Batman movies have a monopoly on darkness and realism. There’s nothing inherently “wrong” with toying with different approaches and tones.
Posted: Friday, August 24, 2012 8:43 am
Updated: 9:47 am, Fri Aug 24, 2012.
I’m not even sure what to say at this point, besides thank God summer’s over. It has been quite an ordeal, and I suppose it’s only fitting that that the season goes out on a grossly disappointing note involving a sub-par sequel. Now we’ve just got to contend with that uneasy transitional period between the summer and fall movie seasons, and we may actually have some good movies to talk about. I’m waiting with breath that is bated.
I’m pretty much the world’s biggest fan of “The Expendables,” a rip-roaring throwback to the action movies of yore that almost claimed a spot on my annual top 10 list a couple years back. Writer/director/star Sylvester Stallone hit just the right note with nearly every scene, crafting an effective homage to ’80s-style action flicks while at the same time ensuring that the film would also appeal to fans of contemporary action. It was an impressive balancing act, and the viewer could tell that everyone involved was having one hell of a good time. The sense of old-school, rock ’em sock ’em fun was palpable, and instantly contagious.
Friday, August 24, 2012 8:43 am.
Updated: 9:47 am.