I feel like we’re in between golden ages for martial arts films out of China. While a few good ones have hit in the past decade, the output of pre-changeover Hong Kong dwindled down to the point where there were only occasional memorable fight films. And now the world of martial arts moviemaking is stuck between the eras where practical and very well-practiced wire techniques have been augmented with CG. That CG is, all too often, not very good. Eventually there will be a point where the old fight style and the new CG really work together, and we might get a new golden age of martial arts films. But for now, we’re in between ages.
And so it goes with The Sorcerer and the White Snake, a film starring Jet Li as “an herbalist who falls in love with a thousand-year-old White Snake disguised as a woman.” There’s some great-looking stuff in this trailer, but most of the CG looks cheap and not at all a part of the same existence of the human characters. The film is over a year old — it played Venice in 2011 — but this trailer has been cut slightly for American audiences. Which is to say, there is what sounds like a period Chinese approximation of Inception horns. And even that doesn’t end up sounding very good.
Fans of Jet Li and director Ching Siu-Tung (House of Flying Daggers fight choreographer) will want to check it out regardless. Read More »
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The summer of 2012 — a summer that turned out to be rather a mixed bag, as so many hotly-anticipated movie seasons tend to — ends with a bang, or at least an explosion. The Expendables 2 is the Simon West-directed sequel to the Sylvester Stallone film that crammed together a whole bunch of aging action stars in one film.
For the sequel the roster has expanded, with Chuck Norris showing up, Jean-Claude Van Damme as the bad guy (and getting some of the best notes in reviews so far) and expanded roles for Bruce Willis and the post-political Arnold Schwarzenegger. Some of the action looks great, much of the script looks silly, and the guys are all ripped and grimacing, for most of the time, at least.
So how did The Expendables 2 turn out? Germain enjoyed it, with his review highlighting both the silliness and the fact that the film, unlike the first one, does most of what it promises. We’d like to know what you think, too. So sound off after the break, where spoiler comments are encouraged. Read More »
We’ve seen two teaser trailers for Simon West’s sequel to The Expendables — well, one teaser, and one trailer for this trailer. But now we’ve got an actual trailer, with actual footage showing some of what happens when you put Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Terry Crews, Randy Couture, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Chuck Norris, Liam Hemsworth, Bruce Willis, and Arnold Schwarzenegger in the same movie.
I don’t think there’s anything else I can say here; see the trailer below. (Header image is, sadly, not from the trailer. Consider it a bonus.) Read More »
Here’s a pretty rote teaser trailer for Affliction: The Motion Picture… er, The Expendables 2, which puts Sylvester Stallone and Jason Statham back at the forefront of an action extravaganza that also stars Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Terry Crews, Randy Couture, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Chuck Norris, Liam Hemsworth, Bruce Willis, and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Check it out below if you want to see all those faces for a second or two each. Read More »
I don’t have any belief that The Expendables 2 is likely to be the movie I hope it will be. After the first movie, I’m not even convinced that this sequel is fated to be a solid action movie. But magic can happen. While we wait to see any footage from the movie that Simon West has been directing in Bulgaria, here’s a poster that also acts as the best collage of aging action stars you’re going to see this year.
I can easily see some young action fan having made a similar version of this poster by collaging stills in the late ’80s or early ’90s. This one really ups the ante with leather, flying dirt and a lot of thousand-yard (well, maybe 400-yard for some of those guys) stares.
Check out the full poster below. Update: image has been removed at the request of the studio. Read More »
Briefly: The focus as we’ve covered The Expendables 2 has been the list of actors returning from the first movie, and the other ’80s and ’90s action stars that might join in the sequel. All told, the list is pretty huge already: Sylvester Stallone will be joined by Jason Statham, Mickey Rourke, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Terry Crews, Randy Couture, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Chuck Norris, Bruce Willis, and Arnold Schwarzenegger. The assembled circumference of all those biceps would enclose a bus; collect the cast’s testosterone and you’d probably be able to fuel it for a cross-country run.
Now we’ve got a new, younger body to add: Liam Hemsworth, junior brother of Chris ‘Thor’ Hemsworth and one star of The Hunger Games, has signed on. We don’t know his role, but the thinking is pretty transparent: bring in female audiences under 24. The Expendables 2 shoots soon in Bulgaria under the direction of Simon West. Nicolas Cage and John Travolta remain possible participants as well, because the cast just wouldn’t be ridiculous enough without them. [Variety]
The last time we had good word on The Expendables 2, Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger had been confirmed for meaty roles alongside returning star Sylvester Stallone and presumably returning actors Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Mickey Rourke, Terry Crews and Jet Li.
Donnie Yen, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Chuck Norris and John Travolta have all been rumored as well, with one report seeming to confirm the participation of classic ass-kickers Norris and Van Damme. (And Travola, too, though he’s less of an ass-kicker.) Now we’ve got word, straight from Stallone, that Norris, Van Damme are indeed in the film, and a Nicolas Cage and John Travolta will show up if things can be worked out. Read More »
Briefly: There has been a crazy amount of speculation about the cast of The Expendables 2, which will shoot soon. Given that the original film isn’t exactly beloved, that speculation goes to prove that the concept of putting aging action stars together into a ‘one last mission’-type picture is enough to ignite significant public interest.
We still don’t know what new talents might be joining the sequel, but Deadline reports that Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis have now closed deals to take substantial roles in the film. Both had parts in the original, but neither amounted to more than a cameo. Simon West will direct the sequel in October, and Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Mickey Rourke, Terry Crews and Jet Li are all likely to return alongside Sylvester Stallone. Moviehole reported over the weekend that Jean-Claude Van Damme, Chuck Norris, and Scott Adkins are all confirmed, based on a leaked cast list, but those names are not confirmed at this point. Donnie Yen, also rumored, is yet to be confirmed as well.
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