I’m about to go see the midnight premiere of the action extravaganza “The Expendables”, and this is the most excited I’ve been to see a movie all summer. I was jazzed to see “Iron Man 2” and “Inception” as well, but this is different, kids. This is not only a hard-to-screw-up action premise (jinx #1), it is also the dream of my childhood that this movie become a reality.
“The 1980′s are back…and they’re pissed.”
Forget “Inception”, let’s start this story at the beginning. I’m a kid watching movies like “Die Hard”, “Terminator 2” and “Rocky IV”, and my friends and I are arguing: who is the best of the best (and yes, I made the pun knowing Eric Roberts is in this movie. I need to settle down.)? If you were to take every action star and throw them into a pit and let them duke it out until only one survived, who gets the win? The wait is over…we actually find out tonight! (well, kinda…Van Damme and Seagal passed because they’re dummies who are now hoping to have cameos as valets in the sequel)
“Actually Mr. Stallone, we were just finishing up the second coat of wax now…”
I love this premise, and even more so I love this kind of action flick. I need lots of bullets and hand-to-hand combat. And I want to see it, not use laws of probability to determine what’s going on because there’s too many jump-cuts and focus issues. It’s an action sequence, not a hip-hop video. And for goodness sakes, can we hold the camera steady while a fight is going on? Who’s the cinematographer, Jason Bourne?
I really started to get depressed about the state of action films when “The Matrix” was released. Ok, ok, it was a cool premise and the visuals were neat and blah-blah-blah…I want my heroes fighting with some sort of karate that they learned, not choreographed with invisible wires. And I want guns shooting in real time; not slowed down to the point where the bullet is moving slower than Oprah on mile 23 of a marathon. This is a gunfight, please don’t slow-mo it like John Madden explaining how Joe Morris snuck through a hole.
I dig the John Woo slow motion to a degree; partially because it looked cool and mostly because it was Van Damme on screen. But I really hope “The Expendables” doesn’t rely too much on this trick; Woo relies on it so much now you’d think it’s his only move. He looks like me playing “Street Fighter 2” for the first time (remember playing a new fighting game? You learned one move, and it was sweep the leg until your brother figured out how to block).
Ryu wearing his alternate uniform, despite playing at home.
I just want straight-up action from guys I trust, that’s all. And I know that they’re all older now, and they probably all had to star in this together to avoid this movie already being available on Netflix. But that’s part of the appeal…I want to see if the guys I believe can get the job done can still do it. You think I care that they’re getting a little long in the tooth? I have my phone set to alert me if Brett Favre’s ankle twitches; I’m rooting for Tiger to regain his old form; hell the Redskins just signed 57 year-old Donovan McNabb to play QB. Van Halen is rumored to be touring again soon and Stephen King just released his 1,278th novel! This is the year of the old guy! Forget 40 being the new 30…2010 is the new 1987!
This is one of the very few times when I don’t even care that I’ll be in a packed theater…usually I hate being in large groups of people, especially when watching a movie. Seeing a cell phone light up irritates me like Clint Eastwood in “Gran Turino”; someone with their feet up turns me into Michael Douglas from “Falling Down”. But this is different. This is a sporting event. It’s not a midnight showing of “Doubt”, I don’t need total silence to determine if Phil Seymour Hoffman is diddling his pupils. And it doesn’t bother me that this crowd tonight will look like a UFC title fight (they have those in MMA, right?)…I want to hear reactions. I want the place to go crazy when our heroes are introduced; I am so pumped for the place to go wild when Arnold makes his return to the action film landscape. It may be the closest I get to Willis Reed jogging out of the tunnel at The Garden in 1972.
“I don’t believe it…Schwarzenegger is limping out onto the court!!”
So I’m going to see this tonight not just for me, but for my inner child as well. That phrase gets overused nowadays, but there are circumstances where it is unequivocally true. When you hook up with the prom queen at a high school reunion, when you meet an ex-athlete, and when there’s a clash of action flick legends. Inner child, buckle up; we’re about to witness our all-time action movie goal…and Harloff’s driving.
MEEllis, Inner Child to Attend Midnight Show of "The Expendables",