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The Expendables 2 (2012)
This movie is a steaming pile
From the beginning bad guys die. They die with a lovely array of red goo cascading from their bodies. They die in a plume of red mist. They die, constantly. Our heroes just keep plugging them full of bullets and the action never stops; while the suspense never builds.
There is a young whippersnapper named "Billy" who was not in the first movie. You can guess what happens to such an idealistic young man who is the only one in the group with something to lose. I think this movie was written by an eighth grader with a book of clichés doing most of the work for him. The only thing missing from this desensitizing bloodbath were naked ladies.
Somehow old guys with guns keep showing up and saving the day at just the right moment. Chuck Norris has the lamest role in the whole film and doesn't even roundhouse, or backfist, one person. Arnold only says what he has said in every other film he has ever been in. Stallone mumbles unintelligibly throughout. Statham has so many knives hidden in his coat you'd think he was a Cutco salesman. You only get one scene with Jet Li before he disappears without explanation for the rest of the film.
This movie sucks. Hard. Couple this with the soundtrack which has two orchestras playing the score. One is a competent Hollywood symphony playing the notes that were written, while simultaneously a group of middle schoolers in beginning band try their best to play off key. It is really painful to listen to.
Van Damme gets to show that he can act, but only for one scene before he goes the way of the rest.
In the end they win. But we all lose.
Miami Vice: Leap of Faith (1989)
Seems like an attempt by Michael Mann to make a spin-off
This episode is a little half-baked with Crockett's protégé Hardin joining the "YCU" or "Young Cops Unit." This hip, young unit listens to heavy metal, respects women, says no to drugs, and catches bad guys! We see a young Laura San Giacomo in this episode as well as the good-looking science/computer lady.
All in all, the episode was nothing more than an after-thought at the end of a great series in hopes of keeping the Miami crew working on a new spin-off. It's not hard to see why a 13 episode deal wasn't ordered. What was needed was a bigger, badder bad-guy with even more explosions, gun fights and babes in bikinis. Michael Mann just needed to have his writers produce something a little more higher budget to keep the public and the execs interested.
Nash Bridges (1996)
Best Action Cop Show Ever.
From the realistic and dynamic family relationships, to Don Johnson just being a stud, "Nash Bridges" has it all. This is my most favorite television show of all time and I wish that it had begun when DVD sales were able to determine the success of TV show. CBS killed it because costs were around $2 million an episode by 2001--something that in today's market is now offset by DVD sales (why do you think "Battlesar Galactica" has made it this long with a 1.4 share? Sell $100 million in DVDs and execs won't cancel you).
I have been missing the shot-on-location, man with a bitchin' car, stuff exploding, cop/PI action shows of my youth and Nash really quenched that thirst. If you are a fan of "Rockford Files", "Magnum PI", or "Miami Vice", "Nash Bridges" was made for you.
The only show that can compare here in 2009 is USA's "Burn Notice".
A great movie. Oscar-worthy performance.
All low budget movies have flaws and it is about how to overcome these flaws and setbacks that show what the heart and ability of cast and crew is really made of.
Van Damme gives a truly great performance no one would have ever thought possible out of him. It is impossible to see him as a tabloid fodder, B-movie actor or screw-up when it is over. You see Jean-Claude Van Damme: human being.
I have never had a movie make me think about how "bad choices" an actor may make in their career be seen more in the light of circumstances and the people surrounding them. Van Damme's plea to forgo his salary just to give a movie a legitimate budget so that it can be shot in a studio only to have it thrown back in his face by his agent who wants his 10% is almost heart wrenching. Only to end up agreeing to take a role, any role, just to pay the bills only to further destroy his career is seen in it's true light.
His daughter hurts him. You see him hurt. He's a person just like the rest of us. He makes mistakes, he lives up to those mistakes and he deserves forgiveness just like we do. Great movie. See it.