Aug 19, 2014

The Fall of a Franchise

I had to come out of retirement for one last post to review EX3 and put my opinion out there. Not that it matters but I felt I had to express my frustration over this 3rd useless installment to vent a little bit...

Where do I begin? EX3 is so bad and in so many areas that it's hard to write a condensed review. But let's try to compartmentalize.

Stallone: I know most people - except for his hardcore fan base on StalloneZone - have been calling him a sellout, a greedy ego driven arrogant @$$hole, etc and you know what, I understand their feelings. Real, true fans of the hardcore action films of the 80s who paid and supported him with the EX franchise to allow him to make yet another come back, felt betrayed by the fact he let them down to pay his due to the new generation. I'd never know what was it that he owed to this new generation...

I'm not naive to think that all decisions around EX3 were made by Stallone and probably most of them were not. Lionsgate that is the major distributor of the movie is a public company that has to respond to shareholders and they're not gonna let Stallone decide of their fortune. But Stallone had enough weight to influence some important decisions and he possibly didn't use it that much caught in his madness to please the new generation and stay relevant in the 21st century. And I'm saying that based on past history of the actor who keeps repeating the same career mistake due to an ego the size of a dinosaur. There's no doubt that Stallone is a life fighter and rises from the ashes, and he's done it more than once, but his demise is to let his perspective and senses be blinded by his ego and complacency once he gets to the top. He did it after his first series of success with Rocky & Rambo, then again after he was able to come back with Cliffhanger & Demolition Man, and here we go again after he built a new franchise with the Expendables. Unfortunately he might be too old for another comeback, who knows. I hope this EX3 debacle will bring his senses back so he makes his (probably last) Rambo with passion fed by those values that made him one of the legends of the action movies. An EX4 is not needed if he's not allowed or able to bring it back to its essence and what it was meant to be.

PG-13: a lot has already been said about this fatal mistake. Although some people are still trying to blame the fall of this movie on piracy - and yes the mysterious leak of the movie probably hurt the BO numbers, researchers say at best by 20%, which would have given the movie an opening of about $20M, which is still a mediocre result given the magnitude of expectations, expenses and pedigree of cast members - the real reasons are franchise fatigue, terrible quality, bad reviews, and most importantly alienation of true fans. Unfortunately history repeats itself and studios either don't learn or don't care to learn from past mistakes. Some say LG was trying to seize the opportunity of a missed summer opening by the FF franchise to bank on their audience, wrong gamble. Some say Stallone/Lerner wanted to attract a broader audience and make more money, go figure. Whatever the reason behind the PG decision, it was a bad one and the movie paid for it, from both marketing and quality perspectives. If anyone decides to make an EX4 please learn from this, but I won't be surprised if they don't.

The Movie: poor editing, average CGI, bad acting, crap story. The use of Li and Schwarzenneger in the manner it was done was a crime and deserves to be tried at the Hague. Banderas was a joke. One would almost feel that those actors were disrespected in the movie. I'm surprised that Arnold has even accepted to be treated like this and is promoting the movie. The "old" Expendables are in the background. The fight scenes are poor or non existent, the Sly/Mel fight was a shame, worse than Sly/JCVD in EX2. Bad, bad, bad and bad again. WTF?

The New Blood: I'm speechless. What was that all about? Seriously? Lutz is the worst actor probably seen in recent years. Has no presence and charisma, then you let him disrespect our icons? At least in EX2 one could develop some sympathy for Hemsworth. He was respectful towards the older EXs and died quickly to make room for the real heroes. Rousey was ok since she's a fighter and had some ok fight scenes but don't have her talk or walk. The boxer guy, give me a break, what was that? Actually if I had to force myself to like one of them it'd pick the hacker guy, he was ok. 

This was Stallone's biggest mistake in his entire career, to write those pathetic characters and then choose a bunch of useless people to play them. Sly, please read this and all the other millions of articles, posts, tweets on the internet, open your eyes, let go of your ego. You should try to stay relevant to your fans who made you not to a bunch of kids who don't know who you are. If by any chance you are given the opportunity to make EX4, kill those guys off in the opening or come up with a story not to show them in the movie anymore. Do your best to get Chan and give him a proper role. Make it a good R like you did your last Rambo. Bring on a few good villains, lobby for the money and give it to The Rock, he wants to play ball. Do the Right Thing!

The fall of a franchise and hardcore action movies a la 80s as witnessed by the Gen X...