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

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

15 Responses to “The Expendables, Argo”

  1. March 8, 2014 at 6:39 pm

    Phew, good to know you’re not joining in on the Argo love fest. The ending at the airport is too manipulative but then again it’s a Hollywood film. Good review.

  2. 3 llewe25
    March 8, 2014 at 7:35 pm

    It’s funny, I bought a couple films at Target. One of them was Goonies, which I got for $4.00. The other was The Expendables, which I got for $3.25 🙂

  3. March 9, 2014 at 5:30 am

    I hate CGI blood. It’s just lazy and takes me out of a film. It’s the only thing I didn’t like about Dredd. Argo was good but not great.

  4. March 15, 2014 at 7:20 pm

    I disagree with you on Expendables – honestly, it was like baking a shit pie and watching it dribble down somebody’s chin, it was so full of crap, but I loved it. Loved it like a cousin. Stallone and the rest are all well past it, and there’s no logic, sense or meaning behind ANY of what transpires, but that’s kinda the point. Pchow pchow, bdam bdam, you know?

    Argo wasn’t bad at all, either.

    • March 16, 2014 at 8:01 pm

      Amazing analogy, lol. I honestly don’t think the point of The Expendables was to have no logic, sense, or meaning. The point was to do a throwback movie and make lots of money. They clearly didn’t care about coherence, but eschewing it was a big mistake. The best of the 80s action movies had an internal logic that was consistent like Die Hard or Terminator. Giving that up was one of many mistakes they made.

  5. 10 chee
    March 17, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    A middlebrow so-called “realist” drama that proves its seriousness with TENSE INDOOR YELLING cleaned out the Oscars? Who’d have fuckin’ thought?

  6. March 27, 2014 at 5:38 am

    I was disappointed by the first Expendables movie as well. Although I liked the moment with Terry Crews when he starts shooting. Thought the second one was slightly better.

    Was a big fan of Argo though and it ended up in my top 10 favorite movies that year.

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March 2014


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