Year 8, Day 28 - 1/28/16 - Movie #2,229
BEFORE: It looks like my watchlist will be down to 150 films as of tomorrow, which I'm taking as a personal accomplishment, since it was 165 at the start of the year. I've tried very hard to stick close to a pattern of only adding one film after I watch two, so it doesn't get out of control again. But if I can maintain this pace, reducing the list down 15 films each month, I think I stand a fair chance of wiping out the list at the end of 2016. Of course, there's always the TCM Oscar programming, and 2016's summer blockbusters that could still screw things up.
It's very sneaky of me to program this after "The Long Goodbye", since Arnold Schwarzenegger wasn't even credited for his appearance in that film, and I'm linking from his earliest film role to one of his most recent. AND there are a few stars here who've already appeared in films this January, AND there's another "Star Wars" connection. So while it's not the last film of the month, it feels like it's tying up a bunch of threads from earlier in the month.
FOLLOW-UP TO: "The Expendables 2" (Movie #1,793)
THE PLOT: Barney Ross augments his team with new blood for a personal battle: to take down Conrad Stonebanks, the Expendables co-founder and notorious arms trader who is hell-bent on wiping out Barney and his associates.
AFTER: The whole cast here seems like they're having a good time, even when they're not supposed to be, and sometimes that goes a long way toward the audience having one, too. There's a tight-knit bunch of actors that carries over from the first two films, but then they added new team members and a new villain too, so it's like throwing a party without inviting the people who brought the last one down, and thinking about which new guests will add something to the occasion. And if one of the regulars has a steady gig, like a TV show, just have their character get injured, so they can sit out for half of the film, but still put in an appearance.
There are allusions made to the formation of the original "Expendables" team, namely that the co-founder, a man thought to be dead, turns up very alive and very rich, with the army of an entire country ending in --stan at his disposal. The team leader, however, feels that going after him would cause the death of one or more teammates, so he disbands the team to spare them, and naturally, they don't take it well. A new team is formed, which seems like a great idea on paper, since there's less of a personal connection (even more expendable, I suppose) but the team is raw and untested. You don't suppose the old team will have to go and rescue the new team, now, do you? And somewhere there will be a lesson or a speech about how everyone has to work together if they're going to survive.
The new crew relies on things like parkour, computer hacking and mixed martial arts, while the old crew relies on guns, guns and grenades. Oh, wait, there's also a guy who really likes knives. He's a bit crazy - as a matter a fact, a lot of these guys seem kind of touched, but in a mostly positive way, as long as you give them a war zone where they can all unleash their crazy creative energies. That means blowing stuff up real good.
NITPICK POINT: It looks really cool when guys rappel down the side of a building as they're breaking in to it. But how did they get up on the roof in the first place? If they got there from inside, then they were already inside, there's no need to break in again. And if they got there by helicopter (hard to do without being spotted) why not just break in through the roof?
Also starring Sylvester Stallone (last seen in "Grudge Match"), Mel Gibson (last seen in "Maverick"), Harrison Ford (last seen in "Star Wars: The Force Awakens"), Wesley Snipes (last seen in "Murder at 1600"), Jason Statham (last seen in "The Expendables 2"), Dolph Lundgren (ditto), Randy Couture (ditto), Terry Crews (ditto), Jet Li (and again), Kelsey Grammer (last seen in "X-Men: Days of Future Past"), Antonio Banderas (last seen in "Frida"), Glen Powell, Victor Ortiz, Ronda Rousey, Kellan Lutz (last seen in "Immortals"), Robert Davi (last seen in "License to Kill")
RATING: 6 out of 10 oil paintings