The Expendables 2
Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Bruce Willis| R |
REVIEWED BY LESLEY MESSER
Unlike its predecessor, The Expendables 2 gave me what I wanted almost immediately after I took my seat: impressive explosions, a frying pan used as a deadly weapon and an airborne motorcycle crashing into a helicopter. In a sequel that doesn’t take itself too seriously, Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) and his band of muscle-bound misfits are ordered by the mysterious Mr. Church (Bruce Willis) to break into an explosive-rigged safe-which should be a cakewalk. However, after a member of the group is killed by the villainous-wait for it-Vilain (delightfully played by a preening Jean-Claude Van Damme), the gang sets out for revenge, joined for the first time by a butt-kicking female (Chinese actress Yu Nan). Thankfully, by now, everyone seems to be in on the joke, keeping the audience alternately on their toes and in stitches (most of the time intentionally). Some of the best laughs come from the film’s minor players, Arnold Schwarzenegger and, most impressively, Chuck Norris, a self-described “lone wolf” who saves the day single-handedly. Twice. No, this script isn’t going to win cowriter Stallone an Oscar (“Rest in pieces”? Really?), but on a hot summer’s day, it’s as satisfying as a cold beer.
Robert Pattinson, Paul Giamatti | R |
I hate to kick a guy when he’s down, but Pattinson is in dire need of career counseling. Frankly, the man hasn’t been in a good movie since Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and that includes this impenetrable forest of idiocy. But he’s not really the problem with Cosmopolis, a misfire from director David Cronenberg based on a novel by Don DeLillo. Pattinson gamely tries to find his way as Eric Packer, a financial guru who takes his stretch limo on an odyssey across town to get a haircut. We’re mostly trapped in the car as employees filter through, spouting ridiculous babble about art, time and commerce that’s so artificial it takes two scenes to realize that one of the minions (Sarah Gadon) is Packer’s wife. (Don’t ask why Packer’s urologist hitches a ride.) The climax is a showdown with a nutcase (Giamatti) who’s decided that Packer should die for his sins. At that point it hardly matters what happens to either of them-it’s just so good to get out of the bleepin’ car.
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