I have never seen the original Expendables. I had only ever heard vague rumors about how ridiculous these movies were. I had to see it for myself. So we rolled out and hit up the theater hard for this action-packed massacre of bullets and destruction. I was expecting the bloodbath of the newest Rambo. What I got was one of the most ridiculously and classically cliche things I’ve ever seen in my life. And I laughed all the way through my enjoyment.
Sylvester Stallone is back as Barney Ross, a character who is not really a character. More of Sylvester Stallone as his mumbling self with some jacked biceps. He’s got his crew with him, and they’re on some mission
Always fire from the hip, boys.
to kill someone or other in some Middle Eastern looking village. They all roll up in battle jeeps and brandish light machine guns out the ass and wield Gatling guns with one arm, smokin’ fat cigars with the other and whatnot. Just your average C-rated action film.
What makes people see these movies, you may wonder? (Or not…) It’s all about everyone’s favorite action hero. And there’s such a damn long list!:
You got yourself classic Stallone. I’ll never forget the first time I watched Demolition Man, or the first time I left the room when my friends watched Over the Top. His forgetably bad movies are what makes Rocky so good in comparison (and Rambo too, I guess…) He just needs to get his shit together and figure out how to talk correctly though.
This is where everyone lost it.
You got your relatively new newcomer, Jason Statham. Making it big in the Transporter series, this guy has been garishly blowing up the screen with nonsense after nonsense. His Guy Ritchie days were great, but America has loved to cast Statham in weirder and weirder movies. I’m talkin’ In the Name of the King and Crank 1 and 2. I can’t tell you how many nightmares I had over Crank 2…
Then you have Jet Li. There can be no complaints about one of the best action stars/ martial artists the world has ever seen since Bruce Lee. I was so happy to see him get the hell out after the first scene in this movie and no longer associate himself with the Expendables (unless he comes back for the third round…).
You got yourself Terry Crews, star of The Longest Yard remake and Everybody Hates Chris. What he has become known
What’s that hat all about, Stallone?
for is a bit more tragic and bizarre than his acting career. Yay, Old Spice!
There’s Randy Couture! His MMA days must be getting stale! And that cauliflower ear must be rancid! Don’t try to fool us with your book reading and glasses wearing. Your name is this movie is Toll Road. Enough said.
And then you got Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis. One I love, one I’ve always despised for the Die Hard series. (I wish they would stop making them…) If I ever hear another Yippie-Kai-Yay again, I may have to go Alan Rickman on his ass. But you can’t go wrong with Arnie. He holds a gun like such a boss in these movies! Firing from the hip, laying waste to countless, faceless minions all over the movie. Looks like the Govenator will never lose his touch.
Absolute kick perfection.
And some new faces! There’s Dolph Lundgren, greatest joke It’s Always Sunny has ever made. Chuck Norris, the biggest and most soft-spoken hardass of them all. He appears every once in a while, and this Walker doesn’t need a walker, you feel me? But what sealed it for me was Jean Claude Van Damme as Jean Vilain (looks like villain right?). His obsession with goats and round house flying kicks is what made this movie badass. Seeya Liam Hemsworth, you got a knife right through the heart from a Jean Claude kick.
So what do all these players equal? One of the most hilariously classic action movies I’ve seen since well… ever. You can’t get more cliche and classic action than with a movie like this plot and characters like these. We were all losing our shit in the movie theater laughing from all the classic one liners and unrealistic gigantic explosions. It was all so great, right down to Liam Hemsworth declaring that he was dying from Jean Claude’s boot stomp. You gotta love movies like this.
So whether you love action, or love satirical action, this movie is a must see. I’m
gonna go back and watch the original ASAP. You gotta love all the mindless destruction and countless body count that comes up with movies like this. So come in with an open mind, because, at first glance, this movie is gonna be awful. But remember, not all bad things are totally bad. Some things that are expendable, are just so damn good. 6.5 out of 10.
1 Comment | tags: action packed, Alan Rickman, America, Arnie, Arnold Schwarzenegger, bad movies, badass, Barney Ross, battle jeeps, bloodbath, body count, Bruce Lee, Bruce Willis, bullets, C-rated action film, cauliflower ear, Chuck Norris, classically cliche, Crank 1 and 2, crew, Demolition Man, destruction, Die Hard series, Dolph Lundgren, Everybody Hates Chris, favorite action hero, Gatling guns, goats, Govenator, Guy Ritchie, hardass, hilariously classic, In the Name of the King, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, jacked, Jason Statham, Jean Claude Van Damme, Jean Vilain, Jet Li, kills, knife through the heart kick, laughable, Liam Hemsworth, light machine guns, marital artist, massacre, Middle Eastern, mindless destruction, MMA, mumbling, Old Spice commerical guy, one liners, open minded, original Expendables, over the top, Rambo, Randy Couture, redonkulous, Rocky, round house kicks, satirical action, Sylvester Stallone, Terry Crews, The Expendables 2, The Longest Yard, Toll Road, Transporter Series, unrealistic violence, Walker Texas Ranger, Yippie Kai Yay | posted in Movies
And now we come to what has become one of my favorite movies of all time. The Raid Redemption is one of the most cohesive, brutal, action driven films I have seen since I first watched The Protector with Tony Jaa. And what makes it better is that a lot of people actually like it. For once, Rotten Tomatoes is right in giving it a 83% fresh rating. This movie is fresh as hell.
What should I start with in talking about this martial arts movie to the extreme? Well, its
Get your shoot on.
basis comes from some of the best. In an interview, I remember Gareth Evans saying he was inspired by Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan and earlier films of the time. But when you see this, you know it shoots right into the vein of Muay Thai, no holds barred, stunt fighting with punches hardly pulled. People are getting worked in this movie (on and off camera). And when you introduce guns into the mix, you know things are going to get even more brutal.
And there’s a plot here as well! No running after elephants and single minded goals to be had here. There’s a raid, some character development, and then a twist. Everything you need in a movie like
this. Basically, Iko Uwais, now one of my top 5 favorite martial artists of all time, plays Rama, a passionate SWAT team member with a wife and a baby on the way. His team leader, Jaka (Joe Taslim) is determined to do the mission with no losses and everything in order and justified. But with the sounding of the alarm, a 30 floor slum building crawling with hundreds of crime gangs, everything is going to go off.
Other than the adequate acting in this film, I was really impressed that some martial artists I hadn’t see before showed up in this one. Joe Taslim was quite the throw artist with his specialty in Judo. His fight with Mad Dog was literally redonkulous. And then there’s Mad Dog himself, played by Yayan Ruhian. That little greasy haired monkey absolutely destroys half of the people in this movie, and doesn’t even stop when he gets a light bulb shaft shoved in his neck. Unbelievably badass. Throw in the expertise of Iko Uwais and his Silat, and you have the best 101 minutes of my life.
What I was surprised about in this movie was how much weaponry was used in a classically martial arts movie. Guns,
Mad Dog, unleashed.
assault rifles, knives, police clubs, the environment as well as the weapons available created a more realistic situation than just fists and feet. (Watch out for the Machete Gang though…) People getting thrown into furniture and off of ledges, this movie becomes so brutal everybody is shouting “OH!” while watching it.
Now we come to the soundtrack. For the U.S. and English speaking release (I mean subtitled of course), Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park was recruited to make his own original electronic soundtrack to complement the movie in comparison to the Indonesian release. What is created is what I would consider a throwback to the first two L.P. albums which is far superior to the stuff they’re coming out with now. The drums and bass come in at just the right moments to escalate your emotions and really get your blood pumping. Just like a video game, you have this rising action as you get into unique fight after unique fight. Superb.
30 floors of Hell.
Throw together all these elements and you have a Welsh director in an English speaking country that gets Eastern martial arts cinema. If I could grow up to be like him, I’d do it. The Raid: Redemption just proves that martial arts action films can be explosive, entertaining, and dramatic. 9.8 out of 10.
1 Comment | tags: 30 floor slum building, 83% fresh, action done right, action driven, adequate acting, assault rifles, badass, blood pumping, Bruce Lee, brutal, character development, cohesive, crime gangs, destructive, dramatic, drum and bass, Eastern martial arts, elephants, English speaking country, entertaining, escalates emotions, explosive, favorite movies of all time, fists and feet, Gareth Evans, good plot, greasy haired monkey, guns, Iko Uwais, Indonesian release, Jackie Chan, Jaka, Joe Taslim, Judo, knives, Linkin Park, Machete Gang, Mad Dog, martial artists, martial arts movie, Mike Shinoda, mission, Muay-Thai, no holds barred, original soundtrack, police clubs, raid, Rama, realistic situation, rising action, Rotten Tomatoes, Silat, stunt fighting, superb, SWAT, The Protector, The Raid: Redemption, to the extreme, Tony Jaa, twist, unique fighting, US release, video game, weaponry, Welsh director, wife and child, Yayan Ruhian | posted in Movies
Ip Man, the trainer of Bruce Lee in Wing Chun martial arts style. One of the true Grandmasters that has left a legacy all martial arts film fans must appreciate. Here comes a film from Wilson Yip, a director who has brought us Donnie Yen in the forms of Dragon Tiger Gate and Flash Point. But this film has a different pace and style. More elegant than other kung fu films, this movie flows in the same Ki as Fearless with Jet Li. I think here’s a point where I’m going to list my favorite martial artists just to get it out there. Let me know what you think of this list:
1. Tony Jaa (that’s a given, he got me into martial arts)
2. Jeeja Yanin (she’s a girl who can Muay Thai kick ass)
That is a killer stare right there.
3. Donnie Yen (straight masterful ever since I saw him in Iron Monkey)
4. Jet Li (straight destructive martial artist who has made it big in American films)
5. Dan Chupong (this dude is not as well known as Tony Jaa, but his films are just as brutal as Jaa)
I want me one of those…
6. Jackie Chan (all his movies are entertaining. Me and my roommate love Rush Hour!)
7. Iko Uwais (up and comer from Thailand. He’s in the most anticipated film for me this year, The Raid: Redemption)
8. Panna Rittikrai (this guy helped teach Tony Jaa all he knows, elderly Asian master)
9. Bruce Lee (he’s gotta be on this list somewhere! He’s ballin’ hard!)
10. Kazu Patrick Tang (this dude rocked shit in Raging Phoenix and Bangkok Knockout! Most handsome Thai man in martial arts)
The single greatest scene in the film.
And there it is. Hate me for listing Bruce Lee so low, but he’s on there. And, after watching this movie, I have gained all the more respect for Ip Man and Bruce Lee and what they do and stand for.
This film is a heartfelt one, and may bring a tear to your eye. During the Sino-Japanese War, Fo Shan is a city of prosperity until the Japanese invade and take over. Ip Man (Donnie Yen) is a respected martial arts master who takes people to school on a daily basis. He and his family lose everything after the invasion and it is up to Ip Man to reclaim his honor and the honor of the Chinese people in this tale of inspiration. I can’t wait to see what they do with the next one.
Shit’s about to pop off.
There were a lot of things about this movie that surprised me. Unlike the traditional shoddy acting from the martial artists in films like this, there’s none of that. Only good acting and prideful performances. Donnie Yen always surprises me as a showman first and, well, a martial arts master also first. He can perform well and with honor and dignity (as he did in this role) and kick the shit out of people. It’s really refreshing to see an aging martial arts actor gracefully enter the older years with poise and the ability to still perform at a younger level with fire and passion.
This movie also pulls back the reins on the stylistic elements of Kung Fu films. You expect the people flying from rooftop to rooftop and kicks that send people flying, but not so much in this film. In this
return to reality, Donnie Yen styles down his brutal kicks and flips to hone in on a form that is more elegant, precise, and lethal. I had a jaw dropping moment when Ip Man takes on 10 Japanese martial artists at once and probably kills about half of them with these precise little blows. You have to see it to believe it.
Get on dat destruction.
Other than that, this movie has a moving soundtrack, a strangely dubbed over audio track, and fairly accurate subtitles. It’s inspirational and humbling, informing you on one of the greatest martial artists of all time. It’s one of those films you see that makes you want to know more, and reminds you why you love to watch Kung Fu films. Ip Man all the way! 8.4 out of 10.
1 Comment | tags: American films, Bangkok Knockout, Bruce Lee, Bruce Lee's trainer, brutal, brutal kicks and flips, Chinese people, Dan Chupong, different pace and style, dignity, director, Donnie Yen, Dragon Tiger Gate, dubbed over audio, elderly Asian master, elegant, favorite martial artists, Fearless, film fans, fire and passion, Flash Point, Fo Shan, good acting, Grandmaster, handsome, heartfelt, honor, humbling, Iko Uwais, inspiring, invasion, Ip Man, Iron Monkey, Jackie Chan, Japanese, jaw dropping moments, Jeeja Yanin, Jet Li, Kazu Patrick Tang, Ki, Kick Ass, Kung Fu, legacy, martial arts style, moving soundtrack, Muay-Thai, Panna Rittikrai, poise and ability, precise and lethal, prideful, Raging Phoenix, Rush Hour series, showman, Sino-Japanese War, stylistic, subtitles, surprising film, Thailand, The Raid: Redemption, Tony Jaa, true master, Wilson Yip, Wing Chun | posted in Movies