Bruce Willis

Sin City A Dame to Kill For

Sin City! A Dame to Kill For! The much anticipated sequel to 2005’s Sin City. After years in developmental hell, Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller have finally brought us the follow up. What has now developed a cult classic following, Sin City was most of the most visually stunning films put out of all time, A Dame to Kill For had a lot to live up. The anticipation has built for 9 years, nearly a decade. The film reunites us with stars from the original including Mickey Rouke, Jessica Alba, Rosario Dawson, Bruce Willis, Powers Boothe, and Jaime King. Michael Clarke Duncan, Clive Owen, and Devon Aoki are replaced this go around by Dennis Haysbert, Josh Brolin, and Jaime Chung respectively. Rounding out the ensemble cast they are joined by Joesph Gordon-Levitt, Marton Csokas, Christopher Lloyd, Julia Garner, Juno Temple, Ray Liotta, Stacy Keach, Christopher Meloni, Jeremy Piven, Lady Gaga, and Crystal McCahill.

A Dame to kill for follows three stories, the premier story is the title story, which follows Dwight (Brolin), as he is twisted and manipulated by Eva (Green). It is very heavy on Marv (Rouke) as he and Dwight team together to protect Eva while end up being roused into her twisted plot. This sequence in the film serves as a prequel to Sin City, explaining why it is that Dwight is played by Brolin, as opposed to Clive Owen. The other stories are sort of intertwining stories that take place after Sin City, making this part of the film a true sequel. They include “Just another Saturday night” that follows Marv after Sin City as he deals with Nancy(Alba) reuniting with Hartigan(Willis), “The Long Bad Night” that follows Johnny(JGL) as he gambles his way to the top of Sin City, and must deal with Consequences. And finally “Nancys Last Dance” that follows Nancy as she breaks down after the loss of Hartigan and joins Marv in a hunt to take down the man responsible, Senator Roark.

The film is very fun. It you were a fan of the first film, you are definitely going to be a fan of this installment. The visuals are epic and absolutely beautiful. It makes sense that they have taken their time to get this film out. The action sequences are beautifully shot and literally look like they are taken from the graphic novel pages. Frank Miller who we know thanks to The Spirit is a terrible director on his own, but when he teams with Rodriguez, these two can truly bring the fans what it is they want. These films are the best adaptations of graphic novels or comic books out there. Are the actors over acting? Yes, but it works for the film. Is the dialog cheesy? Yes but it feels like it was ripped from the graphic novel. It is what makes this film so much fun.

It’s not all perfect though. There are a few times as the story goes, mostly during A Dame to Kill For, that the film can drag. As well it is truly missing Michael Clark Duncan and Devon Aoki. Understandably having to recast Manute after the passing of Michael Clark Duncan, but Haysbert is just not the fit. And I don’t know why Aoki was recast with Chung, and all though she gives us more action, she doesn’t have the Look that Aoki had. Aki had that stone cold look to her that gave you a respect and fear for her character.

All in all it’s a great film. I scored it a Jeebus Score of 4.1, but then added a .4 bonus for a naked Eva Green, rounding us out to 4.5, a Good time at the theater.

 

The boys are back in town!

The Iconic action stars of the 80s are back again. And this time they brought along even more fun. 80s, 90s, and even todays stars! The Expendables is a franchise that keeps growing in numbers. They are not known for their story driven cinema, or their Oscar winning performances. Its action. Nonstop, popcorn fun, action. I don’t go to these films expecting to be blown away by the script. Just the fun of seeing the stars I grew up on kicking ass! And that’s what they have delivered. The worry, is that now, The Expendables going into their 3rd film, have gone from a hard R rating, to a PG-13 in an attempt to broaden their audience. A risk if you ask me. I am the demographic for these films, if they try to gain a younger audience, they risk losing the audience they have. So was the risk worth it, well, I’d say yes it was.

This go around the Expendables return, Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture, Terry Crews, and Arnold Schwarzenegger. This go around they are joined by the likes of Antonio Banderas, Wesley Snipes, Kelsey Grammer, Kellun Lutz, Ronda Rousey, Glen Powell, Victor Ortiz, Robert Davi, Mel Gibson, and Han Solo himself, Harrison Ford. Once again written by Sylvester Stallone and directed this go around by Patrick Hughes. After the first 2, I love both installments. And actually believe the 2nd is better. The puns are great, the action if awesome. And the 3rd installment doesn’t really disappoint.

The story follows Barney Ross, as he trades in his old brethren for a younger team, in hopes to spare the lives of his Expendables. He goes up against a founding father of the Expendables, Conrad Stonebanks (Gibson) after the extraction of Stonebanks goes wrong, Barney and must once again enlist the back up of his brothers at arms.

Right of the bat, Gibson is the best thing about this film. He tows the line of crazy and psychopath so well, proving himself to still be one of the premier actors in the game. I for one hope this resurrects his career because it was fun seeing him again. There is a scene toward the middle of the film where he explains his motives to Stallone, it is almost chilling to watch Gibson upstage everyone.

If Gibson is the best part of this film, Banderas is a close second. As a nearly comic relief character, he channels his Desperado days and adds immense amount of humor and fun. You don’t know whether you want to kill this guy or die of laughing yourself. Rousey was used perfectly. Think Gina Carano in Fast 6. Snipes looked great, and makes me hope for a Blade 4. Harrison Ford takes over for Bruce Willis in this role, and actually doesn’t phone it in like Willis’ Church character in the past.

The PG-13 rating doesn’t necessarily hurt the film. Yes there are times when you wish there was terribly fake blood spatter. But they don’t skimp on the action! however if you watch closely you kind of see that there was probably blood in the original cut and makes you think there will be a director’s cut DVD.

There is an actual bit of character development in this film. The 2nd act of the film spends most its time developing the newbies, and Banderas. Problem is, that’s not why we are there. I want random explosions. I don’t necessarily need the details. It almost drags a bit in the film, but then the 3rd act hits and we back to what we want from these films.

In the end, if you want deep story, logic, and believability, then yes you are going to whine and cry about this movie. But if you can sit back, and enjoy the stars we grew up and some new faces, doing what they do best, then you are going to have a Good time at the theater. That’s right, thanks to a .2 bonus for a throwback Arnold “Get to tha choppa” line, I’m giving Expendables 3 a Jeebus score of 4.1.