Tag Archives: The Expendables 3

US Box Office Report: 5/9/14 – 7/9/14

Absolutely nothing happened, and Other Box Office News.

by Callum Petch (Twitter: @CallumPetch)

Well.  This is embarrassing.  Here I was, all set to begin a re-launch of my US Box Office Reports on the site that has been willing to tolerate my deranged ramblings and draining of their resources for the past six months, bringing you the same verve, insight and poor stand-up that I did on a weekly basis for the last site I did this stuff for… and absolutely nothing happened.  There was one new release that was even close to Wide and that’s it.  Almost literally nothing happened.  Teade outlets are already reporting on this being the worst weekend at the US box office for two years, but, well, I think we all knew that this outcome was inevitable when we all looked at the release schedule and saw this giant void where films are supposed to be.  Calling this the worst weekend in years in an alarmed and surprised fashion is like calling a child foolish and in the worst shape of his life after voluntarily choosing to try and jump a 10 mile wide gorge on a unicycle only to fall face first into the thing; duh, why are you surprised at this completely expected outcome?

Eh, anyways, similarly surprising no-one due to its completely expected nature, Guardians Of The Galaxy three-peated at the top of the chart with $10 million in ticket sales.  Also surprising no-one, the film is now the biggest August release ever, smashing past The Sixth Sense’s prior record of $293 million, has become only the fourth film in the last 10 years to top the charts for four weeks (alongside such company as The Dark Knight, Avatar No Not The Great TV Show The Crappy James Cameron Film, and The Hunger Games), and maintained its position by being the only decent film that’s playing in over 2,000 theatres.  Behind that, as it has been for the last several weeks as well as in life itself, we have Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles which eased to $6.5 million.  Seems that we will be very much getting those sequels after all, the people involved taking the canny “shove it out in a month where there is literally nothing else coming out to give everyone a collective feeling that they have to see it” approach to maximising profits.

The lone new wide-release for this week was The Identical, a faith-based piece of speculative fiction, inexplicably featuring Seth Green in the supporting cast, about what might have happened if non-copyright-infringing Elvis Presley’s twin brother hadn’t died at childbirth and which looks exactly as awful as that sounds.  Thankfully for everyone involved, nobody liked the sound of it either and it only made $1.9 million from just under 2,000 screens for 11th place continuing the trend of faith-based movies that don’t explicitly reference religion in their titles (like devout Christians are way too busy to actually do some research about films beyond their titles or something) bombing spectacularly.  Also attempting to kick up the vaguest spurts of activity for me to talk about, Forrest Gump received an IMAX re-release for some bizarre reason and a nation collectively dug out their DVDs of it instead; only managing $405,000 from 337 screens.  In better news, the documentary Last Days In Vietnam managed to take $30,500 from 2 screens, and the debut feature from Belle & Sebastian’s Stuart Murdoch, God Help The Girl, swindled $12,800 also from 2 screens.

And… yeah, that’s about it.  I imagine we’ll have a very similar sort of situation next week, as well, when the only new films are the Idris Elba-starring thriller No Good Deed and Dolphin Tale 2, a sequel to Dolphin Tale 1.  No, really, they made a sequel to Dolphin Tale.  You know what’s even crazier?  Dolphin Tale was actually a box office number 1.  Not kidding.  So, yeah, the American box office doesn’t get going for another two weeks.  Just goes to show you how lucky we Brits got it this weekend, don’t it?


This full list is almost Identical to last week’s.  Do you get it?  Cos there’s a film called The Identical and the list is basically the same as last week’s.  It’s a play on words.  We call these things “puns”.  Can’t help but notice you’re still not laughing at my Identical pun, so I’ll take this to mean you don’t understand humour in general.  You see, “humour” is based on subverting…

gotg2

Box Office Results: Friday 5th September 2014 – Sunday 7th September 2014

1] Guardians Of The Galaxy

$10,160,000 / $294,567,000

All of these accolades that Guardians keeps racking up are thoroughly deserved.  Couldn’t have happened to a better movie!  Unless said movies were Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes or The Raid 2.  Cough.

2] Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

$6,500,000 / $174,647,000

This hits the UK two days after my birthday, so thanks for the wonderful belated birthday present, Paramount!  How did you know that I wanted an absolutely abysmal-looking movie for my 20th?  You shouldn’t have!

3] If I Stay

$5,750,000 / $39,663,000

Think it’s fair to say that this one hasn’t quite caught on in the Fault In Our Stars way that I imagine Warner Bros. and New Line were hoping it would.  Still, all it has to do is hang on for another two weeks and it will have outlasted The Fault In Our Stars’ run in the Top 10.  Next week will be dead easy, because we’ve already established that nothing is coming out.  The week after, maybe not so much.

4] Let’s Be Cops

$5,400,000 / $66,598,000

Look, my jokes may stink, but at least they’re funnier than pretty much the entirety of this movie.  OH, SNAP!

5] The November Man

$4,200,000 / $17,870,000

You know, as his post-Bond career keeps trundling along, I’m starting to get the impression that only we Brits know how to use Pierce Brosnan right.  I mean, there’s The Ghost Writer, The World’s End, The Love Punch, Mamma Mia!, A Long Way Down… actually, disregard pretty much everything I just said.

6] As Above, So Below

$3,723,000 / $15,576,000

A precipitous 57% drop between weekends.  Does this mean that we can finally retire found-footage now?  The gimmick has been run into the ground, then run a bit further for good measure and then run a little bit further still.  Find something else to abuse for your horror movies!

7] When The Game Stands Tall

$3,700,000 / $23,490,000

I… I got nothing for this one, folks.  Not even a decent pun or pithy aside.  Sorry to waste your time.

8] The Giver

$3,591,000 / $37,835,000

I couldn’t Giver f*ck about this movie.  OOOOOOHHHHHHHH!!!!  PUNS!

9] The Hundred-Foot Journey

$3,200,000 / $45,669,000

Saw and reviewed this one at the weekend.  It’s OK.  I was bored to tears, but I could appreciate the decent craft on display and the film isn’t bad or anything.  It is two hours, for some genuinely inexplicable reason, though and I will definitely hold that against it.  If you were able to get some enjoyment out of it, good on you, I won’t stop you.  And besides, why should you listen to what I think?  I put 47 Ronin on my Top 10 Films of 2013 list, tied with My Little Pony: Equestria Girls, no less!

10] Lucy

$1,950,000 / $121,207,000

It’s up to $313 million worldwide, at the moment, and this news pleases me to absolutely no end.  It proves that Scarlett Johannson is a full-fledged box office star who can open pretty much anything by herself, it proves that gloriously dumb films that aren’t insultingly so really can find an audience, it proves that female-led films (along with Maleficent, The Hunger Games, Divergent, Frozen and The Fault In Our Stars) do succeed no matter what idiots may think, and it proves that Hollywood will once again not pay one damn iota of attention to all of this, instead continuing to just do what they always do despite this past Summer proving that that may not be the best idea.  It’s the little victories, folks, it really is.

Dropped Out: The Expendables III

Callum Petch is the changingman built on shifting sands.  Follow him on the Twitters (@CallumPetch)!

Failed Critics Podcast: James? Where we’re going we don’t need James

JamesDiamondPointlessHello everyone. I usually write these in the third person, like a pretentious wrestler or someone with a personality disorder, but I’m dropping the charade this one time to say thank you for listening to this podcast, and any others that you’ve happened upon over the last two-and-a-bit years.

I’m moving on for the time being to focus on other projects, but Failed Critics will always be very special to me, and I hope to come back in some shape or form at some point in the future. In the meantime though, I’m leaving it in the more than capable hands of Steve, Owen, and Carole, and it’s typical that I choose to leave just when we’ve finally got the sound quality sorted!

I honestly think this is one of our best podcasts to date. Not only do I try and steal all the limelight and attention with the most drawn out exit in history, but we even manage to fit in reviews on The Expendables 3 and Condorman, the highest stakes the quiz has ever seen, and a Triple Bill updating our first ever episode choices of ‘Desert Island Digital Versatile Discs’.

It’s been fun.

James.

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The Expendables 3: The Indispensables

by Owen Hughes (@ohughes86)

expendables 3 5It’s fair to say that I’m a self-confessed action film nut. Give me a free 90 minutes and any Jean-Claude Van Damme movie and I’ll smile and say “thanks very much”. It may be no surprise to learn then that I am also a Stallone fan; and with that, a fan of the Expendables franchise. Simon West’s light-hearted but immensely fun sequel to the more serious original (which was written by, directed by and starred Sylvester Stallone) is one of my favourite modern popcorn munching action movies.

Thursday saw the release of the third entry into Sylvester Stallone’s modern action franchise, the succinctly named, The Expendables 3. Whilst overall it’s perhaps not as impressive – in terms of critical success and box office success – as either of his Rambo or Rocky films of decades past, they do feature an impressive cast of 80’s and 90’s heroes as long as the protruding big blue veins in his large muscular arms. Amongst whom returning to Stallone’s side as he stops the latest megalomaniac (an incredibly intense Mel Gibson), are familiar faces such as the arse-kicking Jason Statham, knife-sharpening giant Dolph Lundgren and cigar-chomping Arnold Schwarzenegger. Plus, a load of other recognisable members such as Terry Crews, Randy Couture and Jet Li pop up here and there.

Joining them are a bunch of young whippersnappers (Glen Powell, Kellan Lutz, Ronda Rousey and Victor Ortiz) whose careers are only just beginning. Whilst at the other end of the experience scale sees notable newcomers Wesley Snipes, Antonio Banderas, Harrison Ford and Kelsey Grammer join the crew. If nothing else, it shows how far the series has come when it can attract stars such as Gibson and Ford, as opposed to the early incarnations with the likes of Steve Austin and Mickey Rourke taking top billing.

However, a review of The Expendables 3 this is not. For that, check out Callum’s review from this weekend! Instead, I’m pitting the original Expendables cast against the latest big name additions. One film each, best of 5, let’s see who’s indispensable to the series and who is expendable.

expendables 3 4


1. Jason Statham vs Wesley Snipes – Crank vs Demolition Man

Often seen throughout this second sequel squaring up to each other with their knife skills (and knife puns) on display, they are arguably the two actors who have the most on-screen chemistry with our chief protagonist, ol’ Sly Stallone. But who has been in  the best action movie? Crank is an exhilarating non-stop self-aware adrenaline-junkie of a movie. The entire cast appear to be pumping energy drinks directly into their bloodstream. None more so of course than The Stath, spending the duration of the movie keeping his adrenaline flowing in every possible way you can think of. But what about Snipes? Demolition Man, released at a transitional time for action movies from the over-the-top kill-em-all era of the 80’s to the smarter, cooler 90’s, is everything Expendables wants to homage. Snipes’ charisma may be mostly responsible for why this movie is still so enjoyable, but let’s face it, it’s no Crank.

Originals 1 – 0 Newcomers

predator2. Arnold Schwarzenegger vs Mel Gibson – Predator vs Mad Max

To many, this won’t even be a debate. Arnie is arguably the greatest action hero we have ever seen. A genre is defined by his mere presence thanks to movies such as Terminator 2, True Lies, Total Recall and indeed the Vietnam jungle survivalist sci-fi horror, Predator. If the debate was “who is better in The Expendables 3“, then sugar-tits himself Mel Gibson would walk that contest. Unfortunately for the fresh-faced post-apocalyptic Australian Max, there is no comparison. Schwarzenegger can quite literally become an elected member of the Republican party and I’ll still turn up in the cinema to see whatever film he’s starring in these days. There’s still so much good will towards him thanks to films such as this all time classic of the genre. The man is a legend. Sorry, Mel.

Originals 2 – 0 Newcomers

3. Dolph Lundgren vs Antonio Banderas – Showdown in Little Tokyo vs Desperado

Yes, yes. OK. I am aware that Rocky IV is Dolph’s most iconic film and quite possibly his best – I won’t even entertain suggestions of Masters of the Universe or The Punisher. But we all know Rocky IV isn’t an action movie, don’t we. Never mind that, Showdown in Little Tokyo is massively underrated. Lundgren is as wooden as he ever was in these early roles of his, but there are some brilliant stunts, one liners and his final showdown lives up to expectations. Is it better than anything in Desperado? Well, no. That would be silly. Banderas is the epitome of cool in the film that really propelled him into the English-speaking public’s conscious. The direction from Robert Rodriguez is excessive, unrelenting and fantastic; Banderas is absolutely perfect as the sexy, dark and mysterious mariachi. Not only does he steal the show in the third act of The Expendables 3, he’s stealing a point for the newcomers.

Originals 2 – 1 Newcomers

4. Randy Couture vs Kelsey Grammer – Hijacked vs Transformers: Age of Extinction

Oh, boy. This is a close one for all the wrong reasons. Whilst you’d think the odds would be stacked against Grammer given the best action films he’s featured in outside of The Expendables 3 are directed by Brett Ratner (X-Men: The Last Stand) and Michael Bay (Trans4mers), it should be a cake-walk for his opposite number. But looking at the best films Couture has starred in, one appalling The Mummy spin-off (The Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior) and a straight to video revenge movie where he’s out-shined by a 5 minute Vinnie Jones cameo (Hijacked), it’s not all that straight-forward. At least Grammer was entertaining in some rather average movies. The comeback is on!

Originals 2 – 2 Newcomersindiana jones

5. Sylvester Stallone vs Harrison Ford – First Blood vs Raiders of the Lost Ark

Oh, boy. This is a close one for all the right reasons. Saving the best ’til last was meant to make this challenge easier. Instead what I’m looking at is two of Hollywood’s legends, famed more for what they bring to the screen besides what is traditionally considered “great acting”, both duking it out until the 12th round. They have a swagger, a deserved arrogance, something unquantifiable that makes them both the iconic and charismatic performers we know them as today. Comparing First Blood (the beginning of the Rambo franchise and an action movie with real emotional depth) with Raiders of the Lost Ark (the beginning of the Indiana Jones franchise and an action movie with sophistication and undeniable amusement) is just as tough. Of the two, just edging it for me would probably be First Blood. I make no apologies for this either. As good as Indy is, he’s stilla nerd isn’t he? Rambo is just.. better.

Originals 3 – 2 Newcomers


And that’s the end of that! It seems the newcomers made a valiant effort but it’s the originals that have come out on top. We can only hope that if Jackie Chan, Nic Cage, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, Kurt Russell and Vin Diesel turn up in The Expendables 4, things might go a bit differently in the rematch!

Do you agree? Are you outraged by this outcome? Leave a comment below and wind Owen up.

The Expendables III

Not great, not bad, The Expendables III is diverting entertainment for the over-long run-time it lasts for.

by Callum Petch (Twitter: @CallumPetch)

expendables 3There is not a whole lot to say about The Expendables III.  It is a film that does exactly what it says on the tin and nothing more.  You want to see some over-the-hill action movie stars and some up-and-coming would-be action movie stars blow stuff up real good in the cinematic equivalent of being subjected to a straight shot of testosterone for two and a bit hours?  Do you mind that being done in a competent and not exactly stellar fashion?  Congratulations, this is your movie.  It is utterly passable and diverting filmmaking that knows its limitations and, as a result, sticks solely to what it wants to do.  I hesitate to say “its strengths” because, much like the last two, it’s still not great at what it does and is far too long (this one busts through the two hour mark by the time the credits are finished and does it ever feel like it at points), but it is decent fun, although less overtly silly than the last go-around (you decide whether that’s a good thing or not).

Honestly, there’s really not a whole lot to talk about here.  If you’ve seen an Expendables film before, you know exactly what you’re signing up for.  It’s another one of those, it’s a bit more serious than the last one but the overall pros and cons are the same.  Stallone and Statham still have inexplicably amazing buddy chemistry together, so obviously they don’t spend nearly enough time together on screen.  There’s still a perverse joy in seeing these aging action stars, and up-and-comers who often deserve budding action careers (Kellan Lutz is the real surprise standout of the younger cast, especially so given that The Legend Of Hercules is barely six months old), kicking ass and taking names, but the film is still too overstuffed and therefore many people (including, yes, perennial “fill-out-the-numbers” members Randy Couture and Terry Crews) don’t get their big moment, let alone a character to play.  The final action scene, which spans pretty much the entire final half-hour, kicks all kinds of ass but the film seems permanently stuck in third gear for the rest of its run-time.  There is a good sense of fun throughout the production, but it’s still overwhelmingly macho and the equivalent of watching a raging boner projected on a cinema screen for two hours which, depending on how willing you are to turn off your brain, may be off-putting (although, thankfully, it’s a dumb action film in 2014 that doesn’t sneak a whole bunch of disgusting racism and sexism past everyone under the guise of “we’re a big dumb action film, it’s not like anything uncouth that we do or say matters, right?”).

Let’s talk minor differences, then, eh?  First, that 12a rating.  It means there is no blood.  That’s it.  Literally the only things stopping this from being rated a 15 are the complete lack of blood and an excessively shaky camera whenever knives get involved (otherwise known as “Hunger Games-ing it”).  Swears are thrown about frequently, hundreds of people are violently gunned down, bones are broken… you know, the usual, just now with 100% less CGI blood-squirts and only one deployment of the f-word.  This is still not a film that is suitable for anybody under the age of 10 (stop using the cinema as a babysitter, random parents who brought their two young children into the screening with them), don’t panic.  It’s still violent, still brutal, it’s just cagier about the details.  Also, none of this spoils the last extended action sequence; despite taking place across a large space and multiple floors, it’s nearly always clear where everyone is in relation to what and to what they’re engaged in.

Elsewhere, I found the way the film treated the younger Expendables to be really refreshing.  See, the plot kick-starts when a routine mission for Expendables Classic that has them assassinating Mel Gibson (there really is no point remembering these guys’ names, better to just come right out and call them by their actors’) goes south.  Gibson puts Terry Crews in the hospital and causes Sylvester Stallone to have to face the reality that his current crew (also comprising Jason Statham, Randy Couture, Dolph Lundgren and a freshly-broken-out-of-jail Wesley Snipes) aren’t getting any younger and soon may end up in the ground.  So he forcibly breaks up Expendables Classic and jets off with Kelsey Grammar to recruit Expendables Modern (Kellan Lutz, Glen Powell, Victor Ortiz and Ronda Rousey in the role of “Michelle Rodriguez Said ‘No’”) to try and take revenge on Gibson who, surprise, has a deep-forged connection to the Expendables crew.  Oh, also, Antonio Banderas shows up as a mercenary cross between Charlie Chaplin and Doug from Up, and Harrison Ford is subbing for Bruce Wills and looking more interested and happy to be here than he has been in years.

What’s refreshing is that this “Damn these new kids, swanning in here trying to claim that our line of work is a young man’s game, now” plotline never actually demonises the new kids.  Yes, they do get captured, necessitating a rescue and eventual team-up (which is not particularly a spoiler as a) all of the damn trailers have revealed this point and b) you saw this coming if you have seen almost quite literally any action film ever before), but that’s simply because Gibson is one step ahead of everyone, in typical movie bad guy fashion.  Otherwise, the kids are shown to be exceedingly competent, their methods are proficient, their technology really useful, they get the job done.  They even hold their own in the big chaotic finale without having to have their butts saved by the older guys.  It’s a surprisingly embracing approach to this kind of plotline, one that’s often used simply to refute the young whippersnappers and remind everyone that the old guys are still relevant dammit (*coughcoughSkyfallcough*)!  I mean, one may immediately want to retract this point due to the fact that none of the youngsters have a real character (Lutz apparently has a problem with authority, Powell is the tech guy who can climb stuff, Rousey is The Girl and derisively says “Men…” after every beatdown, and Ortiz… I’ll get back to you on that one) but I’d counter-argue that nobody in this franchise has a real character so it all shakes out.

Oh, and there’s also a really amazing dreadful one-liner near the end.  Like, holy crap, is it hysterically terrible.  It’s one of the best and worst lines I have ever heard.  You have to hear this line, it is ridiculous.  Not kidding, I burst out laughing at it, 100% unintentionally.  We’re talking Mortal Kombat 4 levels of brilliantly bad, here.

Aaaand… yeah, that’s about it on my thoughts on The Expendables III.  It’s another one.  It drags too long in the middle, its final 30 minutes are the best kind of dumb popcorn fun, it’s lightweight, everyone seems to be having fun, there’s nothing particularly memorable, the dialogue still stinks to high heaven but in an endearing way.  If you’re not sold on this franchise, this won’t change anything; if you are, this is another reliably decent way to spend two hours.  I feel like I should be lauding it to high heaven for at least being a dumb action spectacle this Summer that’s actually good at what it does (heaven knows those keep getting rarer), but it’s still just a bit too forgettable for me to go overboard on the praising.  It’s good at what it does, I had fun whilst it played.  If what it does is what you want, go for it.  If not, skip.  Simple.

Of course, it does feature the image of a man entering the sixth storey of a bombed-out building by jumping a dirt bike up the tail of a destroyed airplane.  Plus, that line.  Holy crap, that line.  So, there’s those.

Callum Petch is about to bloody this track up, everybody get back.  Follow him on the Twitters (@CallumPetch)!