The Expendables 2 (2012)

Starring Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Chuck Norris, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Terry Crews, Randy Couture, Liam Hemsworth, Scott Adkins, Nan Yu, Amanda Ooms, Charisma Carpenter, Nikolette Noel

Directed by Simon West

Expectations: Pretty high. JCVD, man!


You want some action? WELL THEN WE HAVE SOME INCREDIBLE, JAW DROPPING, EXPLOSIVE, MEN WITH MUSCLES ACTION FOR YOU! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! BOOM! AHHHHHHHHHHHHH! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! BOOM! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! BOOM! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! KABOOM!

This approximates the opening scene of The Expendables 2, and for my money it was worth the price of admission. I had to restrain myself from literally leaping up and making the most primal noise my thin, feeble frame could muster. Nevermind that we later get Arnold, JCVD, Bruce Willis and Chuck Norris showing up in varying degrees, this immediately explosive opening is something to be reckoned with. While it played out, I imagined writing a four-star review for the film and how I’d buy it on Blu-ray and watch it any time I felt less than a man. So when the dust finally settled (the scene is quite long and full of cascading “Oh shit!” moments), I was disappointed to find that it would be a long time until the next legitimate action scene, and that nothing in the film would live up to its opening. But that’s OK, because even if the opening completely blows the film’s wad, the rest of the film is quite entertaining.

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Stephen reviews: The Expendables 2 (2012)

Starring Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Chuck Norris, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Terry Crews, Randy Couture, Liam Hemsworth, Scott Adkins, Nan Yu, Amanda Ooms, Charisma Carpenter, Nikolette Noel

Directed by Simon West


Expendables was a huge riot of nonstop action without much purpose beyond reveling in its own masculinity. So the only thing you can do with the sequel is make it bigger, badder, and bolder. That’s just what Expendables 2 tries to do, but it’s honestly hard to top the intensity of the first one. It does manage to succeed at this lofty goal, but by how much? Well, not a whole lot. Expendables 2 is a better movie, but your opinion of the first one will probably be the same the second time around.

One major improvement I do have to mention is the FX. The first film had some of the ugliest CG to ever ruin a bloody killing spree. Thankfully, those ridiculous looking exploding bodies, that laughable man on fire, and the worst, to me at least, that wince inducing scene where Stallone stabbed a dude in the neck were not used this time around. I apologize for dredging up bad memories, but I want you to realize just how much easier it is to watch the film because of the improved FX work. I spent the first film waiting for the next terrible CG effect to pop up, but in this film I forgot to think about the FX after the first ten minutes. That alone makes this movie superior to the original.

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Josh Kirby… Time Warrior: Chapter 6, Last Battle for the Universe (1996)

Starring Corbin Allred, Jennifer Burns, Derek Webster, Barrie Ingham, Jonathan Charles Kaplan, Michael C. Mahon, Stacy Sullivan, Helen Siff, Charisma Carpenter, Johnny Green

Directed by Frank Arnold

Expectations: Low, but very much excited to be done with these!

On the general scale:

On the B-Movie scale:


At long last I find myself at the end of the lengthy Josh Kirby film sextet. It wasn’t easy, and it wasn’t always enjoyable, but damn if I didn’t get a few quality moments of WTF joy. I’m happy to report that one of the best of these comes in this film, the aptly titled entry: Last Battle for the Universe. While it is the last film, and there is a battle contained within, don’t get your hopes up for an epic confrontation between good and evil that will shake the pillars of the Earth. Nope, here it’s more along the lines of Josh Kirby wearing a thimble/bucket helmet and trading laborious blows with the evil villain contained in the time armor.

Once again, a Josh Kirby film is fairly unintelligible. I always get through the first few minutes following these pretty well, but as boredom and exhaustion sets in, I’m unable to keep up with all the lengthy jargon-driven dialogue exchanges. What I was able to decode was this: after finally retrieving the final Nullifier component, Josh’s time buddy Irwin 1138 reveals himself to be the true villain! As I suspected a couple of films ago (I think it was hinted at in Trapped on Toyworld), the evil Dr. Zoetrope is actually a nice guy. This is a change for the better, as I always thought his character was far more interesting and likable than Irwin’s. Anyway, Irwin steals Zoetrope’s time armor and whisks himself away. Where he goes is for later, as first Josh Kirby must probe the mind of Zoetrope to prove that he’s telling the truth (Read: Full Moon gets lazy once again and shows us a few minutes of footage from the previous films). It is after this blatant offering of stock footage that we finally find out where Irwin got off to, and it is here that the film hits an absolute high of insane, mind-boggling proportions.

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Josh Kirby… Time Warrior: Chapter 1, Planet of the Dino-Knights (1995)

Starring Corbin Allred, Jennifer Burns, Derek Webster, Barrie Ingham, John DeMita, Spencer Rochfort, Sandra Guibord, Jonathan Charles Kaplan, Time Winters, Charisma Carpenter

Directed by Ernest D. Farino

Expectations: Pretty high. This looks cheese-ball enough to be awesome.

On the general scale:

On the B-Movie scale:


Finally getting back to the Moonbeam films (Full Moon movies aimed at kids), and this one is a doozy. It’s the first part of a six-film series and it literally opens with a five-minute “catching you up on the plot” montage that details all the pertinent plot points, the devious villain and the hero and his small band of friends fighting through time to save the universe. Leave it to me to actually get the characters mixed up during the opening montage, but what do they expect me to do if I’ve never met these guys before? Regardless, it’s a slam-bang opening, so it’s somewhat jarring when we drop into the movie proper and the first scene is played subdued and nearly dialogue-free. Both are a bit misleading, as the film is neither slam-bang action nor quiet subtlety, although if you expected subtlety from a film titled Josh Kirby… Time Warrior: Chapter 1, Planet of the Dino-Knights then you really should reconsider your general sense of gauging expectations.

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