Thursday, December 8, 2022


August 13, 2010 by · 4 Comments 

Since they really don’t have to confront him face-to-face, the major movie critics have no reluctance to punch Sylvester Stallone and his latest movie, The Expendables, to a pulp. No matter. It’s the kind of movie, everyone agrees, that is utterly critic-proof. As Kenneth Turan puts it in his review in the Los Angeles Times: “[The movie] “exists in a Twilight Zone dimension of its own outside of normal critical time and space. In other words, if you want to see old-fashioned nonstop mayhem with stars so venerable that “The Leathernecks” (and I don’t mean Marines) might be an alternative title, reviews are going to be superfluous. If you don’t want to go, no review can change your mind. Certainly not this one.” Nevertheless, most critics are having a grand old time whipping Stallone’s pic. (He directed and co-wrote it and is the principal lead actor.) Perhaps the mildest blows are administered by A.O. Scott in the New York Times, who writes that the movie could aptly be described as “Bad Kurosawa, Bad Peckinpah or Bad Leone. Which might be a way of saying that it’s better-than-average Stallone. I can’t quite say that it’s not bad: it is bad! But not entirely in a bad way.” Mick LaSalle in the San Francisco Chronicle has the identical reaction: “Within its genre — that is, the lousy movie genre — The Expendables is one of the better ones,” he writes. Or consider Ty Burr’s comments in the Boston Globe: “The movie’s macho swill but it’s honest macho swill, and it wears its nostalgia lightly. “The Expendables” takes us back to those halcyon days when all you needed to launch an action career was a body, some steroids, and a really bad script.” Claudia Puig in USA Today notes that at the Los Angeles premiere of the movie, “a band of pickets marched to protest California Gov. Schwarzenegger’s political policies. Maybe they also should have urged audiences to boycott this sadistic mess of a movie.” Lou Lumenick of the New York Post figures that most men must be asking themselves, what red-blooded male could resist such an action movie? “Well, me — I’ve unfortunately suffered through this incoherent, inept, testosterone-drenched mess, which is very much the brain-dead male equivalent of Sex and the City 2.”

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