Friday, August 27, 2010

The Expendables (2010)

What can I say about this movie?  Anyone who sees it is probably a fan of action movies, and is a fan of Stallone.  For an hour and fourtythree minutes one can be entertained to stuff blowing up, fire fights, and good guys vs bad guys.  I won't go into what the story is about, and all the details of the film.  Suffice it to say is that if your a fan of action movies you'll like this film.

I happen to be a fan of Stallone, and think he's a pretty good filmmaker.  The Rocky series proves that hands down.  But after leaving the theater I felt like this film could have been better.  One complaint I had is "sloppy film making".  What do I mean by sloppy film making?  Well just that.  Some of the cutting seemed quick and timed to get a reaction out of the audience.  Now of course you want a reaction from the audience.  Something positive and something that makes them get excited, but in this film I found it forced.

In an age of video games, and digital editing I do think that some filmmakers have adapted the video game as a feature.  The cuts as I said were fast, and the camera moves were faster.  Yes it's great to cut on action, but when the scene becomes a blur I sometimes want to hit the slow-mo button. Accompanying these cuts and camera moves are a screaming musical soundtrack in your ear along with the added special sound effects of grunts, groans, and snaps.  To me it feels forced.  Watch a fight scene in "Enter the Dragon" and your rooting for our hero, and amazed at his agility.    What fast cuts make me believe is that the filmmaker has something to hide.

Yes I know film is an illusion, but throwing images at us, and ratcheting up the soundtrack does not impress me.  Also filmmakers are relying too much on digital effects.  A lot of the bullet hits, and bullet carnage was digitally enhanced.  Now look at a film like "The Wild Bunch" and tell me which is better.  I'm all for technology innovation, but when used to excess it becomes stale, and just plain sloppy.

Maybe it's the pressure of films getting into theaters at a particular date.  The summer moths have become make or break territory for films.   A filmmaker has no choice when he or she has a studio release date set in stone.  I really don't know, or maybe the bean counters that have taken over Hollywood, and are kicking the creative people asses to produce.  After all the market drives the film, and the summer months are hard months for movies.  No more weeks for a film to catch on.  If it isn't immediate it falls off the theaters schedule quickly.

Maybe hence the sloppy film making.  At least that's how I see it, or maybe I'm just older and I have a different take on what passes for entertainment.  I'm no gamer, but I do see flaws, and it makes me uncomfortable.

I really wanted to like this film, and part of me does.  I would've liked a more in-depth look at the characters in the film.  Instead I got stereotypes and one dimensional characters that seemed right out of a game.

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