Archive for March 8th, 2014

08
Mar
14

The Expendables, Argo

The Expendables

They’re all so old and veiny.

Stallone hasn’t given up the mantle yet. He still thinks he can carry a testosterone-fueled homage to 1980s  action films. You know what? He can’t. It’s not even that he’s too old for the role. He played his character just fine, his acting (whether you like it or not) hasn’t gotten any worse over the years. He has charisma, and he is certainly watchable on screen. But he can’t carry such a bloated train wreck of a film. It’s just too terrible a movie, regardless of how likable Stallone may be. I wanted to like this movie, I really did. After all, I love schlocky 80s shoot-em-up movies. I grew up on that shit, and can’t get enough of it. But as I said before, that stuff was a product of its era. It worked then, but it no longer works today. You can’t revisit the past, no matter how hard Stallone wants to. Anyway, The Expendables tried to evoke this bygone era, but it failed miserably. The storyline was paper-thin, the acting was passable at best, the characters were one-dimensional, and the action scenes were a bore. The action scenes should have been the highlight, but they were tired and uninventive. Plus, with copious amounts of CGI blood and knives, it looked fake as hell. There were too many characters, so many that none of them had any personality. Stallone (as writer and director) should have pared down the cast to maybe three main characters in order to flesh them out a bit, to give the audience a chance to care about them. But, no, he was more interested in cramming the cast with as many fading stars as possible to do that. The only way he could have made this film work was to inject it with a lot more comedy, and make it a tongue-in-cheek look back at how crazy the old 80s action movies were. Then it could have been really cool. But he made the film serious and un-self-aware, and it failed as a result.
Verdict: Shitty
Argo

70s fashion deserves to be held hostage in Iran.

Everyone in the movie industry was tripping over themselves to talk about how much they loved this film. But they didn’t just “love” it, they were jizzing all over it. Gushing about the story, the performances, the directing, the bulge in Ben Affleck’s pants, etc. The movie industry couldn’t have been more gay for this film if they tried. And why? Well, Hollywood is always eager to jerk itself off. And what better way than with a film that shows how Hollywood saved lives. Yes, Argo is a movie about how a fake movie saved the lives of hostages. It’s “based on a true story”, whatever that means, and it’s a total wank fest. Affleck stars as a CIA agent who infiltrates Iran under the guise of a film producer scouting locations for a sci-fi movie. He uses his cover to extract the hostages (well, technically they weren’t hostages, they were people in hiding trying to avoid becoming hostages) and get them back to the U.S. The premise, I’ll admit, is pretty cool, and if it hadn’t really happened, you wouldn’t believe it for a second. Affleck does provide some solid directing, giving the film comedy when it needs it, drama when appropriate, and a healthy dose of tension in the climax. The acting is pretty good, but Affleck is the weakest link in the cast. A director with good sense would have hired the best actor available to be the star of the film. But Affleck made himself the star. He didn’t do a bad job, per se, but the movie could have been truly excellent if he had put someone with range in front of the camera. Nevertheless, Argo had thrills and laughs and everything you’d want in a movie. The acting, though, leaves something to be desired, and the story is obviously punched up for the audience. The fact that Hollywood loves itself is never more apparent than watching this film, and then seeing how it won every award possible thereafter.
Verdict: Average



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