Posts Tagged ‘sylvester stallone’

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The ’80s ride again! (again): “The Expendables 2”

August 22, 2012

So, summer has ended with a throwback to a simpler time. A time when women wore their hair big, and their shoulder pads bigger. When men didn’t believe in sensitivity or child-rearing, because they were too busy doing lines of coke and destroying small companies on Wall Street. When our country’s enemy was a monolithic power bloc, that we could make war against for five decades without ever, you know, actually fighting. It was time when the cinema landscape was dominated by immense, steroid-driven beasts that stalked the countryside and struck fear into their enemies’ with their war cries of “Aaaeeeooouw!” and “Ahgagagaggoggle!” It was, in short, the 1980s. Yes, the ’80s are back in The Expendables 2. Alas, not the best of ‘80s—Lambourghinis, and knit ties, and trashy women—but the action cinema of the 1980s, and that’s pretty good too.
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1982, Best Summer Ever: “Rocky III”

August 13, 2012

Rocky III made a ridonkulous amount of money when it came out, which seems a bit perplexing. After all, how much narrative steam could the series have? I mean, it’s basically a self-contained formula—little guy from the streets gets his shot at the big time and makes the most of it—that was spread into two movies. What was left to say? But that question misses the point, which is that Rocky Balboa is the essential ‘80s hero (yeah, I know only two of the six movies in the series came out in the ‘80s, but this post is going to be full of slipshod logic, so don’t get too hung up on that).  How do you not let the guy loose on the decade he invented?
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Guilty Pleasures: “Judge Dredd”

July 20, 2012

[For my review of the 2012 version starring Karl Urban click here]

God help me, but I love this movie.

I can’t really explain it. There’s just something comforting about this mid-‘90s slab of cheese. It’s like Taco Bell: you’re fully aware that by any objective measure it’s utterly terrible, and yet it seems to put so little effort into being good that you just think, “Eh. It’s not like it failed…” From a cinematic standpoint, it’s a nice time capsule of a curious period, when action movies were struggling to redefine themselves. The era of ‘roided-up monstrosities had pretty much ended with Terminator 2, and now both Stallone and Schwarzenegger found their stars on the wane as audiences embraced everyman heroes like Bruce Willis and Harrison Ford. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s response would be to punch an alligator, play the Terminator again, and then go into politics. Stallone’s response was to make increasingly rococo pictures starting with Demolition Man and continuing with Judge Dredd.

Still, there’s a lot I find irresistible about this very, very bad movie. Such as…
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Even Sylvester Stallone can’t defeat “The Expendables”

September 8, 2010

With The Expendables American cinema’s journey back to the ‘80s would seem complete. Not simply has director Sylvester Stallone created a hyper-masculine, testosterone-drenched vehicle for himself (something he has done before…a lot), but he’s thrown in a few of his fellow ‘80s icons as well and served the thing up with nary a wink to be found amid the explosions and gunplay. That’s right: Stallone is taking this thing seriously. I know, I don’t believe it either, but hey, you know what? The movie still works. As a matter of fact, the movie works in spite of Stallone’s best efforts to torpedo it.

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