The Expendables 2

laststand19

As written, The Last Stand is not an interesting movie. It’s a simple modern-day western as action flick with dialogue that’s nearly 100% expositional and a plot that offers nothing in the way of surprise, suspense or subtlety. It could really have been made at any time and starred any major or minor actor and been roughly the same as what we’re looking at this weekend with Arnold Schwarzenegger in the leading role. But The Last Stand is arriving now and indeed with Schwarzenegger’s name on the top of the marquee, his first starring vehicle in ten years. That makes the movie of note all by itself, in such a way that it might as well be actually titled “The Return of Arnold Schwarzenegger.” Or “Arnold is Back,” although this would imply that it’s an opportunity for winking bits of self-awareness. Surprisingly, there’s not a lot of silly references to the Arnie classics and signature lines. He thankfully got the obvious “I’m back” shtick out of his system in last year’s The Expendables 2.

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The Best Action Movies of 2012

Movies are many different things to many different peoples. A film may tug at your heart strings, tickle your funny bone, or change the way you look at the world. But sometimes all you want from a movie is an adrenaline shot straight to the heart, a testosterone booster right to the balls, or whatever the female equivalent of getting really hyped up over an action film is. 2012 didn’t see the apocalypse, but it did see a bunch of cinematic ass-kickery, the best of which is counted down here for your pleasure.

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Welcome back to This Week In Discs! As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Tarantino XX 8-Film Collection Haven’t seen this Blu-ray set yet, but at less than $9 per movie (based on Amazon’s current price) it seems like a no-brainer. The collection includes Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown, Kill Bill Volume 1 & 2, Death Proof, Inglourious Basterds and True Romance. There are three spectacular films in that list, three pretty great ones and two more of varying quality, and all eight are presented in HD with the original special features intact. The set also includes two bonus discs with new features including nearly five hours of discussion on Tarantino’s films, a two hour retrospective and five trailer variations for his upcoming Django Unchained. [Extras: Individual special features per disc, extensive new featurettes]

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The Expendables 2

Sylvester Stallone‘s The Expendables undeniably got a lot of people excited when it was first announced. It sounded like a dream come true but the stark reality of it was somewhat more disappointing. It was entertaining, but nearly as great as it could have/should have been. With the second coming of The Expendables, excitement was still high, but tempered by the slight sting of the first. For a lot of people, dreams came true - The Expendables 2 was a vast improvement over the first, offering up more mayhem and one-liners than anyone thought possible, making it super easy to find 10 Badass Moments we loved. Of course, spoilers follow, but if you’re brave enough, check out the best badass the film had to offer, after the break.

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2010′s The Expendables gave fans of iconic action hero badasseration a taste of what it would be like to experience some of our favorite face punching, public property demolishing, one-liner dropping stars of recent yesteryear share the big screen. It was over the top, explodey good times. Stallone, Li, Crews, Statham, Lundgren, Couture, and Rourke were a fun sample course. Sly, never being one to shy away from sequels (still waiting on Cliffhanger: Hang Some More), poured moonshine in the formula and give us more Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, and the perpetual awesomeness that is Chuck Norris in The Expendables 2.   Even better, the villain finally gets an equal measure of excellence in the form of The Muscles from that Place in Belgium, Jean-Claude Van Damme. Sorry Eric Roberts, I love you but…Sharktopus. Still, one JCVD chair-splits punch alone isn’t enough to compete with those  three decades worth of action superstars, and whomever tangles with them next will have to compete with an action aficionado wet dream of additional Expendables. What is a top bad guy to do? Contract out — pull an equal measure of baddies from the past together and give Barney Ross and company a run for their money. Below are my ten Anti-Expendables, in no particular order.

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Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Expendables 2

Just like a cybernetic killing machine from the future, Arnold Schwarzenegger just can’t be stopped. Sure, he can take long breaks between sequels or be a two-term Governor of one of the biggest states of the union, but he’ll always be back. Now that his political tenure has come to an end, Arnold is going back to doing what he does second best: acting. First best is lifting heavy things, of course. Aside from his cameos in The Expendables and Around the World in 80 Days, Schwarzenegger has been absent from the big screen for around nine years – his last leading role was Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. If your life somehow felt more meaningless in that period, you are not alone – and relief is coming as we break down Schwarzenegger’s upcoming confirmed and rumored film appearances.

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The Great Lakes Expendables

When The Expendables first came to our attention, we were all psyched. By “our” and “we” I’m referring, of course, to just about every male born before 1990. These were our guys. Our heroes. All of them, together, in one place. Well, almost all of them. There were some notable figures missing, like Jean-Claude Van Damme, Chuck Norris, and Steven Seagal. As internet writers with a boner for lists, we all put together our dream cast for The Expendables 2.  Now that the film has arrived, men and awesome women everywhere were rewarded: Jean-Claude and Chuck Norris were both added to the  cast while Schwarzenegger and Willis both got expanded roles. Our action dreams were coming true! And while the word on The Expendables 2 is mostly positive, that hasn’t stopped the internet from churning out dream casting for the hopefully inevitable third installment. But here at Film School Rejects, we’re a little bit different. Why create another list of pretty cool action stars from the 80s or 90s? Everyone else is already doing that. We’re going the opposite direction, to Asylum Town.

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et tu The Expendables?

It almost hurts to think about The Expendables. It was simply heartbreaking to see such a great concept squandered, buried in a mire of terrible effects, ridiculous over-exposited story and worst of all, poorly shot and cut action sequences. How could they have brought together some of the greatest living action stars for a modern action film, a seemingly simple endeavor, and still managed to screw up? So it was with “fool me once” eyes that we as action movie lovers gobbled up news stories on the inevitable sequel. Expanded parts for Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis? Jean Claude Van Damme?! Chuck Norris!?! It wasn’t long before the excitement grew so big that it clouded our collective memory of the disappointment of the first film. With everyone important back, some great new faces and an R-rating secured, we allowed ourselves to hope that maybe they finally got it right. And while The Expendables 2 does deliver more of what we always wanted from these films, it’s still not quite the home run we wanted.

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Arnold Schwarzenegger Commando

If you’re a real action movie fan, you know the biggest super group team-up movie of the summer isn’t The Avengers, but The Expendables 2. Because who wants to see a bunch of heroes come together to wear tights, yellow armor, or purple pants, when they can see the mass team-up of 80s and 90s beefcake action heroes whose combined machismo could instantly mature a twelve-year-old boy into a beer-drinking, cigar-smoking, bicep-bulging, five-o-clock-shadowed manly thirty-something? If the question is “Are we not men?” then the combined manliness of The Expendables 2 cast reminds us that the answer is “Yes, but obviously only because action stars taught us to be.” Each of these men (well, okay, 25% of them) and their action movies could teach a master class on being the epitome of man, but amongst them there is only one Albert Einstein of Macho, one Dalai Lama of Masculinity, one Aristotle of Testosterone: Arnold Schwarzenegger.  Since he appeared in Conan the Barbarian in 1982, Ahnuld’s action films over the decades have woven together the definitive guide to being a Y-chromosome carrier. So, if you happen to need a refresher, or are new to this whole “being a manly dude” thing, here are 10 essential rules on how to be a real man – according to Arnold Schwarzenegger action movies.

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Having never previously covered the behemoth known as Comic-Con, I’m currently feeling woefully unprepared (underprepared?) for the experience. But years of monitoring and reporting on the news coming out of the ‘con has prepared me for something – the incredible flood of tangible marketing material that accompanies the convention. We’re not talking about panel chatter, rumors, or announcements, we’re talking hard stuff like posters and banners, material spotted out in the wild of the convention floor as often as it’s released before Preview Night even kicks off that you may one day be able to possess for yourself (and your walls). After the break, feast your eyes on every poster and banner (within reason) released at Comic-Con, an ever-evolving gallery of both pretty pictures and essential information, including such highly anticipated fare as The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Pacific Rim, Dredd, and some very special original works by the likes of Mondo and Gallery 1988.

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What to Expect at Comic-Con 2012

Check out a preview of what the Rejects will be up to this year at the San Diego Comic-Con, beginning with SDCC virgin Brian Salisbury… Having never been to Comic-Con, in fact having never before set foot in the state of California, I can’t help but feel a tinge of trepidation as I pack for San Diego. Chief among these concerns was whether I’d even get an adequate feel of the Con on my first outing as I darted from roundtable to roundtable, from press screening to blogger party. Would I leave my first Comic Con with no legitimate understanding of what keeps people coming back year after year? It was then I decided that, as a noob, it was best to experience the convention as a fan and not an industry professional. I needed to separate these two factions of my personality, to make a clean break from the behind-the-scenes journalism aspect and the intrepid geeks who walk the floor without the benefit of credentials. That’s when the idea of wearing a mask came into the picture, to disguise myself and resist the temptation of professional perks. I will walk the floors, stand in lines for panels in the various halls, and talk geek shop with the other attendees; providing journal entries for each day. This seems doubly fitting given the amount of cosplay that I’ve heard takes place at Comic Con. I will blend in even under fantastical vestments. So what character would I choose? What hero, outlaw, […]

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From the looks of it Django Unchained, Pacific Rim and Anything Marvel Does Forever are topping the list of the most anticipated movies hitting Comic-Con 2012. The question is, with 400 million (number estimated) other movie panels showing up in San Diego, how will you possibly see everything? And how can you see anything if you aren’t going to be there? Since the list of events is massive, we’ve teamed up with 14 other movie websites to make sure that every inch of the convention center is locked down. Consider this your portal, bookmark it, and return often to check out the full spectrum of coverage from ours and other fine sites. To get started, here’s a small look at what all of us are most excited to see.

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The first clip from The Expendables 2 is sticking to the formula of rapid squibs, snarky one-liners and people being fine after getting shot because they’re mas macho. In other words, it’s very cool. Sylvester Stallone and Jason Statham zipline in the most exposed-to-bullets way possible only to end up surrounded by a small group of well-armed baddies. How do they escape? By stealing a gag from The Losers, of course. Check it out for yourself:

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Sylvester Stallone’s upcoming all-star action extravaganza The Expendables 2 is currently in the midst of a mass scale marketing blitz that recently motored on with the release of its final official poster over at Yahoo! Movies (check out a larger version after the break). Just look at all those big names standing next to each other and try to tell me that it doesn’t get you excited for the possibility of seeing them kick ass on the same screen. These guys are the biggest badasses in movie history, without question, and just the idea of seeing JCVD finally going toe-to-toe with Chuck Norris is enough to make one salivate. But what’s with the name of this franchise? The Expendables? Hardly. These rich old men are anything but, as their films have basically made all the money the action genre has brought in over the last three decades. To paint them as some sort of rag-tag team of underdogs is just downright disingenuous. If rooting for the little guy is your cup of tea, however, then boy do I have an appealing B-team of action badasses for you. Meet the Soldiers of Fortune:

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Culture Warrior

Crowding a movie with talent often seems like a good idea only in the abstract sense. In practice, such films can easily feel overstuffed. For example, the basic conceits for both The Expendables and Grown Ups sound like products of wishful thinking held during a drunk conversation between a group of 19-year-olds at 3am. Yes, in theory a movie featuring all of the action stars of the 80s or the most successful SNL cast since the late-70s would be great – however, a bunch of famous people do not a seminal action film or great comedy make. What’s most surprising about Joss Whedon’s The Avengers is that the whole somehow proved greater than its parts. A movie with this quantity of iconic superheroes runs the incredible risk of being overstuffed and only half-cooked. The standards created by previous Hollywood films indicate that studios would be happy enough allowing the conflagration of bankable characters stand in for (or, more accurately, distract from the lack of) actual entertainment value; mammoth opening weekends, after all, are always more a sign of effective marketing than good filmmaking. But The Avengers not only stands as an equal to some of the stronger entries in Marvel’s 4-year, 5-film multiverse-building, but is arguably superior. Some of these characters came across more fully-fleshed and three-dimensional as part of an ensemble than in their respective standalone films.

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Sylvester Stallone seems to be pretty proud of the work he’s done on his latest film, The Expendables 2. So much so that he’s even dressed up in a suit and tie to premiere the movie’s trailer on IGN (fancy!). Sly says of his new all-star action extravaganza, “If you thought the first movie kicked some serious ass, you haven’t seen anything yet.” For fans of The Expendables, that has to be an exciting bit of music to their action-loving ears. But what of us who thought the first movie was mostly just a disappointing bore? Well, if this new bit of advertising is to be believed, there might be some hope for us as well.

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Terry Crews is not f*%king around with you, man. Or lady. In an announcement teaser for the upcoming release of the full trailer for The Expendables 2, the action star has taken to the YouTube with the same brand of motivational speaking presence that made him everyone’s favorite Old Spice salesman. In this 30-second spot, Crews shows off what we can only assume are some of the best parts of the upcoming trailer — the parts where a bunch of things explode. So seriously, stop screwing around and watch this trailer for a trailer. (I hate myself for writing that last part. I’m now part of the problem. Thanks, Terry Crews.)

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly column that assembles the heroes of movie and entertainment news every night. Marvel has only assembled its team once. Take that, Marvel. We begin tonight with several items on The Avengers. First — embargo be damned — it’s so much fun. There is also a new image of the team completely assembled amidst the rubble of the film’s massive third act war scene. And then there’s the disappointing news of the day. Matt Singer reports on CriticWire about angry nerds attacking a female critic over a negative review of The Avengers. Not only did the lash out at the otherwise lovely Amy Nicholson of Boxoffice Magazine, they did so in a terrible, misogynistic way. If this was you, be very ashamed of yourself. Every critic gets their say, and just because she didn’t like the movie, that doesn’t mean you get to be a shit about it. It’s truly sad. Please grow up.

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Over at Sylvester Stallone Fan site StalloneZone (a website that totally, actually exists), Craig Zablo reportedly received confirmation from Stallone that the forthcoming Expendables 2 would be rated R – directly contradicting his earlier explanation that the movie would be both PG-13 and “large.” It was a short but direct statement from Stallone: “After taking in all the odd rumors and hearsay, EXPENDABLES II is an R”(his emphasis). And there are 3 ways to take that. They were shooting for PG-13 (possibly because of Chuck Norris‘s weird sense of prudishness) but the outcry has made them rethink it. Stallone was playing an odd game of misdirection with his earlier comment in an attempt to lower the bar/piss off potential fans. A fan site is fanning flames with a false comment. The first makes the most sense. At any rate, something has made them rethink making a mature action movie fit firmly into a ratings box reserved for adults. The second option seems absurd given that his original statement not only claims the PG-13 rating but tries to explain it with the knowledge that fans would be up in arms. The third could be true, but StalloneZone has actually proven itself to be fairly well connected to the actor/writer/director/bench presser. So, who knows. And who cares? Anyone who sees nothing wrong with a bunch of dudes fighting and blowing shit up being able to say “Fuck” or show some blood doing it. That’s who.  

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Though his older brother Chris Hemsworth jumped a bit ahead in terms of fame factor after starring as Thor in the Marvel Comics movie of the same name, it’s starting to look like younger brother Liam Hemsworth is poised for a comeback. He’s all set to play Gale Hawthorne in the sure to be ridiculously high profile The Hunger Games as well as join forces with a bunch of action movie legends as Bill ‘The Kid’ Timmons in The Expendables 2 coming up in 2012. And, you know what they say in Hollywood (not really), with great notoriety comes great castability, so Hemsworth is now seeing some offers for starring roles coming in as well. According to THR, the young up-and-comer is currently negotiating with Relativity Media to take the lead in their upcoming drama Timeless, which is about a man who is struggling to develop a scientific method of turning back time after the death of his wife. You know what that means fellas: all this one needs is some shots of Hemsworth’s handsome face looking sad, some swelling music, and a declaration of never letting love die in the trailer, and your girlfriend is going to absolutely force you into the theater to see this one.

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published: 04.18.2014
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published: 04.18.2014
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published: 04.18.2014
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published: 04.18.2014
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