The Culture Cast with Zack and Nick

Digesting the lowest rung of pop culture so you don't have to!

Speed Reading! – The Flash #34

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“Collision Course”

The Mashup Gang storyline is done!  And it ended in an incredibly uninteresting way.  Not to say that the issue was bad, but it wasn’t all that good either.  It was probably as middling as a comic book can come.  And, in some ways, that is worse than it being bad.

I don’t want to dump on this, but the story wasn’t really all that engaging.  Flash figured out who the killer was last issue, so 34 was really nothing much beyond a boss fight.  Brett Booth’s art was good (he really has a knack for the Flash), so it was visually interesting – just not narratively.  I suppose it might read better in a collected edition.  I’ve had this complaint before in regards to the Gorilla Warfare storyline, so I can’t really pick-apart the Venditti and Jensen too much as it is a pitfall of the comic book medium.

But I think another issue with the Mashup Gang arc is that it went on a bit too long for its own good.  I started to realize this last time, but now I am convinced of it.  This storyline did not need to be five issues long.  I suspect it likely would have been shorter had the writers not been juggling two other stories at the same time.

That said, I did appreciate how they tied Seaborn’s villainy back to the events of Forever Evil where Central City was trashed due to a MIA Flash.  At least that gave it a little more depth than the traditional “cop-goes-bad” trope.

And then we have Wally’s story – which ends too easily.  The last time we saw the kid, he was getting arrested for being a look-out during a robbery.  So, how do we get him out of that jam?  Easy – have his Uncle Daniel (the Reverse-Flash) give him a scared straight talk!

Oh, did I mention that Barry bribed him to talk to Wally?  And that he will be putting regular deposits in his account so he won’t talk?

That is incredibly stupid!  Barry has never been shown to be this dumb.  Maybe aloof, but not dumb.  How can he not see that this will inevitably blow up in his face?

And is it me, or has Daniel West undergone a personality change?  While he is obviously a bad guy, he wasn’t previously depicted as a sociopathic mastermind who now seems to be the T-Bag of Iron Heights.  His new depiction makes him a bit less sympatric as a character.

I do feel bad about slamming this issue so hard, because I really do like this creative team and the direction they are taking the book.  Everyone puts out a bad issue here and there.  Hopefully, we can go full steam ahead and leave the Mashup Gang behind us.

Next: Five Years Later — The Battle for Wally West’s Life Begins!

The Gorehound Reviews: From Dusk Till Dawn (’14) – Part 2

Episode 3, 4, and 5 all felt like a sham. It pretty much consisted of redoing every scene from the original while adding some additional scenes which don’t change the story at all. We have some additional characters such as the cop who seems to be making an appearance in every episode. Every scene the cop is in brightens the Gorehounds day. Perhaps it’s because he is the only recurring and new character and every other character is simply a pitiful blur from the classic in 1996. The argument against remakes is boring and ultimately pointless but it appears that every scene and prop from this movie is taken straight from the set in 1996.

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Ritchie Gecko is indeed more horrific than Tarantino. He frightens the Gorehound and not in the way the Pet Cemetary or ghosts from Paranormal Activity frightens. I want to change the channel when Ritchie is on the screen. No more gigantic chin or foot fetish, just constant creepiness.

The drunken father, Robert Patrick, is just disappointing. His drunkenness isn’t comedic, or violent… it just makes you turn your head and sigh. Remember the T-1000 from T2? Now that was an entertaining antagonist. He preaches traditional familial values all the while being a stupid drunk.

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The last shootout in Episode 5 was a sham. If they were going to blast everyone, why’d they take up 10 minutes of the episode trying to keep them sneaky? It’s good that they finally made it to Titty Twisters because Episode 5 was a turning point. This show is no longer fun. These last 3 episodes were a drag. Let’s hope Savini or Trejo comes in to kick everyone’s ass and teach them how to retell a story. Unless heads start rolling and the blood starts splattering, this last 5 episodes are going to be long.

I Saw As Above/So Below

Had I known that As Above/So Below, the latest found footage cheapie horror film from John Eric Dowdle (who also brought us 2008’s Quarantine) was indeed another found footage horror film, the chances of me seeing it in theaters would have been almost nonexistent. I didn’t catch any marketing for the film outside of a few posters in movie houses over the summer. I never saw a trailer and I didn’t see any tv spots either. If you had told me it was a direct-to-dvd movie, I would have readily accepted that and believed you on the spot. I caught As Above/So Below in theaters by chance over the long Labor Day holiday weekend with a friend, and despite a few good ideas, the film ultimately is a mixed bag – a few good ideas kept me entertained, but it failed otherwise.

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Featuring Ben Feldman (tv’s Mad Men) and English actress Perdita Weeks in the lead roles, As Above/So Below is the story of a group of young scholars and their urban exploration enthusiast tour guides who search the catacombs of Paris for the fabled Philosopher’s Stone, which they believe will give them the power to transmute lead into gold. Along the way, they run across supernatural powers, chanting cultists, legitimately cool ancient ruins, and various evil elements keeping them from their ultimate goal. The best part about the story is the setting – the catacombs of Paris make for a great backdrop (I’m a sucker for this kind of claustrophobic environment in a movie). The actual story, however, fails to live up to the potential of awesome and disturbing catacombs.

I’m not a big fan of found footage horror films. The best one out there is probably Cloverfield, though it’s not even a really good movie either (and it’s also arguably not even a horror film). The genre doesn’t appeal to me at all, but it has been fairly consistently popular for the past half-decade and change. As Above/So Below incorporates a few interesting ideas and some genuinely cool sets, but doesn’t go far enough to set itself apart creatively. Characters are mostly stock and forgettable, with few distinguishing characteristics. Some are set up as having tragic backstories, but there is never really much of a satisfying pay-off. The found footage element means it is far too often difficult to see what’s going on, which makes this low budget film (it was shot for about five million dollars) appear even cheaper.

Though I admired a few elements of As Above/So Below, I ultimately have a difficult time recommending it, especially when the price of a theater ticket is factored in. The film does a few things to set itself apart from a crowded genre (I actually like the idea of a search for the Philosopher’s Stone quite a bit), but it ultimately failed to endear itself to me. It’s not scary enough, the characters aren’t well defined, and the ending is far too abrupt. I understand why studios commission these sorts of films – they’re cheap enough that they present almost zero economic risk. I just hope that the creative minds behind them can incorporate a few more interesting elements next time.

-Z-

Getting Back to My Roots: Interview Time

If these Getting Back to My Roots segments have brought anything to our website, it has been in the form of discovering other blogs. Perhaps the best and most interesting thus far has been Fujinsei, where blogger Arria talks all these Japanese pop culture and has a deep affinity for the anime medium. She was gracious enough to answer some interview questions, so I have posted them here. Eventually I plan to feature a variety of interviews with other anime bloggers/reviewers/podcasters. Thanks, Arria! We appreciate your contribution to this feature!

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1.) When did you first get into anime?

I can’t remember exactly when I first got into anime.  All I know is that I was very young.  From the time I started kindergarten, I already remember watching anime.  What do I know?  Perhaps I was already watching anime from the moment I exited my mother’s womb.

2.) What were some of the formative anime titles for you?

Definitely Dragon Ball, Yu Yu Hakusho, and Rekka no Honou (Flame of Recca).  These are the ones that I remember watching with my father as a child.  And for some reason, we watched them in original Japanese audio with no subtitles.  I think it was because there wasn’t any dubs available during that time, in my mother country at least.

 Of course, I also enjoyed Pokemon but I enjoyed the games more than the anime, since it was already English-dubbed.  Same withSailor Moon.  It was already compiled in VHS format imported from the U.S. so there was already no trace of the original Japanese audio.

3.) Where did you grow up?

I was born in the Philippines.  I spent my childhood there, before moving to Canada where I spent my entire teenage years and still live here as an adult.

4.) Did where you grew up have an affect on your anime watching/experiences?

Yes, of course.  Filipinos love Japanese anime.  As I’ve mentioned before, I remember watching anime with my father as a child.  It means that most of the time, the entire family enjoys watching anime in Filipino households.  There’s always an anime show airing in Filipino TV everyday.

I think part of the reason for this close connection between Filipinos and Japanese TV is that TOEI Animation Philippines became the 100% subsidiary of TOEI Animation Japan in the 90’s.  I heard that currently, TOEI Animation Philippines does about 3/4 of the animation work in shows.  So go figure.

5.) Do you attend anime conventions?

No, unfortunately I don’t attend anime conventions.  I prefer reading about them, rather than personally attending.  But my attitude towards them may change in the future.  I’m not sure.

6.) If so, do you cosplay? Why or Why not?

No, I don’t cosplay.  I prefer looking and admiring other cosplayers, rather than cosplaying myself.

7.) What are you currently watching?

Man, this is a LONG list.  But just to give you an idea, I’m currently watching my all-time favourites ONE PIECE andHUNTERxHUNTER (2011).  Of course, I watch a whole bunch of other shows, but these 2 are the ones that I prioritize.

8.) Have you ever considered visiting Japan?

Yes, of course.  I have some family living there, not to mention I blog about it.

9.) What are some projects and/or titles you are looking forward to in the near future?

I’m looking forward to the conclusion of ONE PIECE and HUNTERxHUNTER.  I’m willing to wait, no matter how long these series take to end.  But you say “near future”, which I don’t think applies to both these titles. . .hmmm. . .perhaps Yowamushi Pedal 2 and Magic Kaito which will both air next month.  But if we’re talking about titles that I’m REALLY looking forward to, then that will be the season 2 of Shingeki no Kyojin (Attack on Titan).

10.) Where do you see the anime industry heading in the next few years?

That’s quite a difficult question.  But from what I perceive now, I see that it will be geared more towards the international market.  There will also be more mature content than ever before.  As for the distribution, it will partner with more anime-streaming websites such as Crunchyroll where you pay a premium every month to watch high-quality episodes.  I think that most episodes will be watched through online streaming, less through DVDs, and even lesser through English-dubbed episodes on foreign TV.  Finally, I also think that there will be more non-Japanese working behind the scenes to create these anime shows.

Be on the lookout for more interviews in the future!

-Z-

The Gorehound Reviews: From Dusk Till Dawn (’14) – Part 1

Well, well.. the remake of the one of the best horror movies around: the story of the Gecko brothers, one messed up and one sound of mind, trying to escape the law all the while getting held up in bar till morning with a bunch of vampires. The story of the remake came out last year and the Gorehound, not having cable, didn’t think much of it but then this month it debuts on Netflix. So let’s break this series down into 4 parts as the Gorehound delves into the gore and violence.

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The first 15 minutes were actually quite frustrating. I felt like The Geckos were just posers: trying to live up to Clooney and Tarantino who were such cool characters. For someone to try to replace them in pretty much the same scene? It’s damning. The premise of the show is clearly a remake though it is much more elaborate. The original was the typical hour and thirty but these episodes alone are 44 minutes. They allow for more elaborating, explaining, and talking and mind games. It’s not a bad thing because the Gorehound was glued for these 2 episodes and actually pried himself away.

The first fault of the show is lack of known characters. Besides Robert Patrick, I’ve never seen any of these randos. Albeit, there aint no way of getting as many stars from the original into this TV series: Clooney, Tarantino, Keitel, Juliet Lewis, Salma Hayak, Cheech Marin, Danny Trejo, and Tom Savini. Many of these characters weren’t popular at the time but this may have jump started them.

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D. J. Cotrona and Zane Holtz, the 2014 edition of the Gecko Brothers

There is violence, yelling, and some blood already. That’s a definite good thing. I’m really looking forward to the rest of the series. It’s entertaining. The Gorehound steers clear of TV shows because they’re simply not long enough… but the questions remain “How does Richie have these abilities? Will there be a reference to the sex machine (aka the Godfather of Gore)?” Mostly, I want them to get to the bar to see the excitement.

To the films credit, Tarantino and Rodriguez are heavily involved with all 10 episodes. It’s clearly not a 100% Tarantino or 100% Rodriguez production but there influence makes the story and script solid. The Gorehound sat around Hemlock Grove for the entire season waiting for something good. Seeing some gore, mind games, and pretty girls within the first episode of this Netflix series is a good start. First two episodes: 3/5

Guardians of the Galaxy – “Risk” and Review (or lack there of)

Because I’ve been behind the times lately, I finally got around to catching a showing of Marvel Studio’s latest offering Guardians of the Galaxy. This is a film that has been brewing for quite a while it seems with a completely insufferable online fanbase. The movie, itself, has been getting some pretty high marks and has pretty much stole the month of August in terms of box office revenue. I’m sure it helps with little-to-no competition. But what did I, Nick, think of this outer space adventure?

gotgIt was entertaining. I don’t think it merits the head-over-heels response it has been getting, but it works as an enjoyable and fun movie. I think that James Gunn did a solid job creating this new world within the strict confines of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He has probably created the most visually interesting movie to come out of this mega-franchise yet. This is likely due to the fact that he also wrote the screenplay and the entire film has next-to-nothing to do with the other Marvel films, allowing it to go in its own way.

That said, there is nothing very original in this movie. Oh, it’s fun and there are some nice twist and turns in the story, but at the end of the day, it is a standard chase-after-the-McGuffin affair. It runs a little long with an incredibly simple, simple storyline with a villain who does stuff for, y’know, reasons (seriously, why does Ronan want to destroy those people?). I don’t want to make it sound like I am crapping on the movie for this, but I am trying to illustrate why I am not completely ga-ga over the film the way the rest of the internet seems to be.

The thing that really works Guardians are the characters, led by an incredibly charming Chris Pratt. The thing that these Marvel films do well is add tons and tons of humor into them – most of which works. I can see why people keep flocking to them. It is light, disposable entertainment. Guardians is no exception. The humor from the characters work and it is genuinely funny. Well…with the exception of Karen Gillian who is incredibly flat and dull.

All that being said, I kind of want to switch gears and talk about the “risk” that this movie supposedly took. There has been lots of talk that Guardians was a risk for Marvel Studios, but was it really? I mean, lets really boil this down. What about this movie is in anyway risky? People point to the talking raccoon and anthropometric tree which is completely ridiculous reasoning considering that audiences have lived through the Star Wars prequels which featured a completely CGI main character in Jar-Jar Binks. Say what you will about the character, but people accepted him pretty well. Since that time, several directors put CGI characters into movies without pause.

Let’s look at another August movie, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. While this movie was in production, did anyone comment how it was a risk because they have walking, talking turtles? No, of course not. For that matter, the original 1990 film didn’t face that concern either. Using a talking raccoon as evidence of a risk is a pretty weak argument.

The other case for a risk is that no one has ever heard of these characters before. I suppose that is a legitimate enough concern. On the other hand, at one point, no one ever heard of Darth Vader, Indiana Jones, or the planet of Pandora before either.

I know. Maybe that isn’t fair. Filmmakers never know what’s going to stick with audiences when it comes to “new” ideas. But, unlike those other examples, Guardians had one thing incredibly in its favor: Marvel Studios. Marvel has been producing their own films since 2008’s Iron Man and has had a recognizable presence in Hollywood since 2002’s Spider-Man (and to a lesser extent since 1998’s Blade). After Marvel’s The Avengers, the Marvel name has been a license to print money. Even the dismal Thor: The Dark World earned $206 million at the box office is a much, much more crowded time of year.

Couple all of this with several bankable stars, and Guardians was destined to become a hit. Maybe not to the extent that it ended up being (no competition allows for that), but it was going to successful. The idea that it was some sort of “risk” is absolutely ridiculous.

I know this makes me sound like such a Negative Nick. I do like this movie. I would recommend this film for someone who is looking for something light to enjoy on a lazy Sunday afternoon. But as high art, it isn’t. And as a risk for Marvel Studios, it is even less.

~N

The Gorehound Reviews: Transcendence (’14)

Cinematically, this movie was a breath of fresh air. Science fiction makes us dream in different directions than usual. We all have expectations for the future based on what we know or have experienced but delving into another persons dream, say the director of Transcendence, Wally Pfister, we see something that we have thought about before but from  a different angle. Isn’t this movie the same exact plot as  the Terminator series? Robots taking over the world? But this film is more down to earth and rational. Is it okay for robots to take over the earth? What if robots are humans? This film proposes these queries.

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It wasn’t a blockbuster. The Gorehound saw the trailer the first week it came out and was excited. It didn’t develop much attention which then slipped under the radar. It wasn’t until a Saturday afternoon stroll through Family Video that the Gorehound walked past this film with Johnny Depp on the cover. “Wasn’t this that sci-fi flick from the trailer I watched months ago?” thought the Gorehound, “How have I not heard anything about it?” Because apparently it wasn’t very good. Well how can that be with Christopher Nolan’s protege, Pfister, helming his directorial debut? Surely the critics must have been mistaken.

ct-cth-transcendence-jpg-b-jpg-20140416Like I said earlier, this film was refreshing. Solid science fiction making the audience ponder our inhibitions and expectations. What if Y2K actually helped humanity? What if robots taking over the world, actually helped us? We like to be open-minded but it can be difficult without being exposed to other people’s point-of-views. That’s why cinema is beautiful: because the audience get’s to listen to other people passively, so that we can take it in without feeling the need to react or retort.

Some preliminary reviews of the movie led the Gorehound to believe that this would be a religious movie. Some reviews on imdb.com claim, “if you’re religious you probably won’t like this movie”. The Gorehound is firm believer but still open to alternative viewpoints (like that time he watched V for Vendetta and considered anarchy). It upsets me to find fellow movie-goers see movies through a filter which separates scenes into “pro-” or “anti-religion”. If you’re looking for movies with a single point of view, go to an activist group, not movies released for entertainment.

This movie reminded me a lot of Danny Boyle’s Sunshine: A great flick with beautiful visuals, lovely actors (compliments to Rose Byrne), and a fascinating story. There may be many plot holes and some things could have been better but it isn’t right to focus on logic in cinema. This movie is beautiful. 4/5

What Went Wrong?: Vol. 51 – Macho Sequel Edition

In 2010, The Expendables, a team-up of all-star 80s, 90s, and 2000s action heroes debuted at number one in the box office and ultimately grossed over 100 million dollars in the domestic box office alone. The sequel took a domestic dip, but ended up over 300 million in grosses worldwide (the sequel was also a far superior film that was a lot more fun). The recently released Expendables 3, however, tanked upon it’s domestic debut. After two weekends in theaters, the film hasn’t even earned what the second film did in its first weekend at the box office. The three-quel will ultimately earn less than half of either film in grosses and will rely heavily on overseas dollars to become profitable. I can’t imagine a theatrically released Expendables 4 will happen any time soon. So, what exactly went wrong?

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Piracy is at least partially to blame. When I saw a news item about how a DVD-quality leak of Expendables 3 became widely available on the Internet weeks before the film’s theatrical release, I knew the project was doomed to box office mediocrity (it was downloaded over two million times in just a few short weeks). But other factors played into the film’s failure as well. Expendables 3 was already a sequel to a sequel to a film designed to capture a wave of fleeting 80s nostalgia. The ploy worked well once and fairly well a second time, but it was never going to last. Ultimately, you just can’t expect success doing the same thing over and over again – something needs to be fresh about the experience.

Arguably, the casting of Ronda Rousey as well as the other, younger Expendables team (including Kellen Lutz, who I like but who has not done a great job picking roles thus far outside of lucking into the Twilight franchise) was designed to bring in a younger audience. Additionally, the PG-13 nature of the film meant that younger teenagers could see the movie without needing a parent to buy them a ticket (it is the first PG-13 rated film in the franchise). Unfortunately, Expendables 3 happened to open one week after the successful Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film reboot and just two weeks after the mega-successful Guardians of the Galaxy. Ronda Rousey or not, the project just wasn’t going to go toe-to-toe with those two films.

The high quality leaked torrent of the film coupled with an unfortunate PG-13 rating coupled with audience disinterest coupled with intense competition at the box office just killed Expendables 3 and it’s chances of a healthy domestic gross. The film will likely make up ground overseas, but I don’t think there’s much of a chance we’ll see an Expendables 4 any time soon – unless Sylvester Stallone and company can keep the budget to a more manageable 50 million or so. There just won’t be much money to be made in the film franchise unless that happens. Additionally, Stallone will have to really strive to freshen up the concept, because the experience is greatly in danger of growing stale.

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The Gorehounds Reviews: Robocop (’14)

To start off, the ubiquitous futuristic look of everything is simply unappealing in this 2014 release. Yes, we are living in an era where technology and progress abound… but where is the beauty? The film hounds on the question “What makes a person a person?” Love may possibly be one of these but there is little love in this film. It is too cold and depressing. How can there be a hero without a figurative heart? Perhaps Gary Oldman shows love for his creation, in that he earnestly wants to reconnect Murphy with his family but is torn between his security and the Murphy family. My point is that, the director seems to say that humans have a quality which is non-transferable to humans, whether that be consciousness or love or some other ambiguous and difficult to define concept, but he fails to translate. The love is absent in this film. The film is too antagonist focused, without enough “wins” for the protagonists: Murphy, Murphy’s family, or the doctor.

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Let’s address remakes succinctly: remakes can distort nostalgia but they can also excel. There are plenty examples of failures and successes so it’s immature to say “Stop all remakes”. In regards to it’s predecessor this film doesn’t excel. Though the features are not but neither are they cheap. It is well-made and the CGI is fluid. I’m starting to think that remakes have become accepted and complaining about them is pointless and should be removed from all conversation. I still wish there were more original ideas (because surprise, they do exist) but feel that complaining about remakes is fruitless. Nothing is obtained from those complaints. Simply, the film kept my attention and did hold high levels of suspense. What more can you ask?

I do look forward to copious remakes. The 80s had sequels which often surpassed 5 entries. Robocop came in at 3 sequel with TV series, videogames, and countless rip-offs. I think we can expect at least 2 more from this remake (and then a prequel!) but I’d look forward to something past the 4th sequel assuming a theatrical release.

In regards to the actors, Oldman was perfect. Nothing more to say other than being the best character in the movie. The new character (Joel Kinnaman) playing Murphy was good but I felt too familiar with Peter Weller from 1987. He’ll always be Robocop in my heart…

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I think one of the highlights of the Robocop series is the use of the logos and branding. The original had such striking visual aids. The 2014 version could have used more thought the disassembly of Robocop was intriguing. With special effects not acheivable then, we see that very little of Murphy is actually human.

In conclusion, this is a pretty good science fiction movie with ideas to play and daydream with but ultimately, the film is too cold and stark. If we want robotic cop, we’ll go back to 1987 or look forward to some seqeuels. 3/5

Nick saw “The Expendables 3″

The Expendables franchise is one of diminishing returns. The first had the novelty of having (mostly) a bunch of aging action stars from the ’80s and ’90s in one movie together. The result was really not the sum of its parts. The second installment improved the quality with much more humor, a stronger narrative, and a campy amount of meta references to the respective stars’ past. The newest entry tries very hard, but comes incredibly short in everything it attempts.

Expendables_3_posterThe script tones down the meta references dramatically from the second installment (which, let’s face it, is probably a good thing – Expendables 2 really pushed that as far as it could go), but doesn’t really replace it with anything of substance. The story is really all over the place with the tone, the themes, and the basic narrative, that the film doesn’t really know what it wants to be (other than the currently over-played “I’m old, but I’m still top dog” routine).

Hindering matters even further is that I didn’t feel at any time that any of the characters were in any danger at all. While the action is slick, when our heroes are gunning down hordes of henchmen without them really being in any noticeable peril, the film loses any sort of tension.  The PG-13 rating was disappointing too.  Incredibly bloodless and a bit too obvious when they cut away from seeing a bad guy get taken down.  I realize that was a creative decision that Stallone wanted to enforce, but it is still disappointing that he felt he needed to do that to reach a broader audience.

We have a couple of new additions to the Expendables. Beyond younger recruits (who are completely generic and interchangeable), Wesley Snipes, Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, and Antonio Banderas join Stallone and crew. Ford is an incredible upgrade from Bruce Willis as the team’s handler. While he does the standard “Harrison Ford Gruff”, he looks like he’s having a blast in the role. Sadly, Gibson (an inspired choice for a villain) is completely wasted in what could have been a really great, fun role. This is probably the biggest sin Expendables 3 could have had (especially since the bar was set surprisingly high with Jean-Claude Van-Damme in the second movie).

Oddly enough, after a lot of attention to Snipes joining the film, his character, while given a lot of attention during the first act (including establishing connections between him, Stallone, and Gibson), largely falls into the background as the movie progresses. He is mostly replaced in emphasis with Banderas. Even though this is a big script problem, I’m not too bothered by it mostly because Banderas is the best part of this movie. He completely steals every scene he is in. He’s absolutely hilarious. If they make an Expendables 4, they need to bring him back.

I don’t know. Maybe the magic is running out for this series. I sat there and was reasonably entertained, but much of the movie just felt flat for me. I know these are not meant to be very good cinema, but even for disposable entertainment, it doesn’t quite work. I guess you can tell there is a problem when the series continues to pile on new characters, but ones from the original entry are still completely undeveloped (seriously, what does Randy Couture bring to these movies?).

If a fourth entry is commissioned (which there is some doubt given the recent pirated leak), I really hope they look into what isn’t working. I really can’t pin my finger on it exactly, but the series is missing something. I want this series to be successful, and I want to like these movies more. But the novelty of seeing all these actors together is nearly extinguished. They need a new hook.

~N

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