Any film series that dares to bring together such a diverse array of screen legends and up and coming bucks – doing what they do best – deserves to be seen and enjoyed by every warm-blooded Homo Sapien on the planet.
Now imagine if Sam Peckinpah (long dead bless him, but not forgotten) directed an Expendables movie – take that thought to bed with you tonight and count the slo-mo deaths as you fall asleep.
Unless our reality shifts into an alternate universe, that’s not going to happen. So let’s get Peckinpah’s apprentice to direct the next Expendables – Quentin Tarantino.
Offer him script-tinkering rights and more money than what’s decent, wean him of that western he’s clucking over at the moment and get him signed up.
Yes, I know it’s a popular wet dream for film buffs to wonder and ponder over a Tarantino-made Bond, or Batfinkman, Spiderboy etc. For starters a Tarantino Bond wouldn’t work – Bond is too British and the elegantly-chinned one – too American – it would look and sound ridiculous and would probably be the death of the series.
As for the Superhero movies- such a glut of them that I’ve lost all interest- dark, miserable and repetitive (How many reboots has Superman had? And who cares now that Christopher Reeve is no longer with us?)
Tarantino would struggle to make something that stood out from the crowd. Iron Man is the exception to the pubic Spiderboys and depressed Batmen, Downey Jnr doesn’t really have any special powers, just a nuclear reactor or something in his chest and a cool- gadget laden suit, but what Jnr does have is charm and lots of amusing lines. But one was just right – no need to bludgeon the heck outa it.
Right, back to The Expendables 3 and why Tarantino is the perfect choice to direct no 4 or 5 or 6….
The Opening scene is indicative of what you’ll get throughout the film, a big bag of busted ball-exploding action that is epic and mind-boggling – mind-boggling in good ways and bad ways.
The Good Ways:
The sheer scale, the stunt-work, the incredible array of movie-trickery and logistics involved to achieve the many action scenes in the film and all from the script’s simple descriptions – i.e.: ‘Helicopter attacks armoured prison train, our heroes transfer, in heroic fashion, to the train and continue killing lots of bad guys.’
Stallone looking gorgeously rugged and fit for his age (68!) Lungdren-looking more and more like Mads Mikkelsen’s beautiful dad. And it’s the perfect vehicle for The Snipes to get back to work. There’s even a cheeky in-joke from Wesley (very unlikely action star name) regarding the reason for his cinematic incarceration.
Mel Gibson being really likeable as the bad guy, but that’s just Mel- he would make the devil look cute. Kelsey Grammer and Stallone’s scenes full of warmth and humour. Cheeky wee Statham looking hurt and – Oh look, is that Mads Mikkelsen’s dad?
The Bad Ways:
The curse of modern action movies – too many cameras with shaky operators strung out on coffee, trying to create a sense of urgency. Then the director and editor get together and become overwhelmed by the amount of coverage and edit like the crazed caffeine addicts they are. Just calm down will you – drink herbal tea or just water and let the actors and the action itself put across the urgency, the speed, the danger. Let us take in the whole scene, let us see clearly what’s bloody happening.
And what has happened to the art of framing? If these film-making culprits intended their films to look like a pack of media journalists/cameramen under attack-then they’ve certainly succeeded.
Note to action-movie directors – watch a few Peckinpah’s and Kubrick’s before you start shooting.
Don’t get me wrong there is style and coolness in between the battles and even a bit of slo-mo and by the time the final battle comes around the director, with his editor, is firing on all cylinders, and we have a beautifully pieced together and coherent mini-war with tanks, copters and an inventive body count. As the final credits roll, this writer, testosterone levels through the roof, walks away from the screen an almost satisfied man – there’s just that niggling doubt that war and death shouldn’t really be portrayed as such fun.
And the rest:
Banderas is an irritating but enjoyable breath of fresh air and Jet Li pops in at the last moment to say hello and grab his quota of dead bad guys alongside Arnie and Harrison who has become a pretty good flyer after all those years messing about in his Millennium Falcon.
Stallone says to Banderas- “you may what to get outa that seat (co-pilot seat) Christmas is coming.”
Banderas, “but it’s June?”
Banderas flirting lustily with Luna in the midst of all the mayhem, “Do you want to hold my gun?”
Mel, who was meant to be brought back alive so he could face war crimes at the Hague, says,
“What about the Hague, eh?”
And Stallone replies in his best-est, gruffest voice, “I am the Hague”
Roll on The Inglorious Expendable Bastards 4 (With more Banderas please).