Posts Tagged ‘Kellan Lutz’

Old Dogs of War

The Expendables 3

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Director: Patrick Hughes

Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Harrison Ford, Antonio Banderas, Mel Gibson, Wesley Snipes, Kellan Lutz, Kelsey Grammer, Dolph Lundgren, Victor Ortiz, Terry Crews, Glen Powell, Ronda Rousey, Randy Coutoure, Jet Li, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Randy Coutoure

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Sylvester Stallone reunites with all his 80’s action hero stars for a reminiscent action adventure film culminating in Zorro, the guy from Lethal Weapon along with Arnie, Indiana Jones and of course Rambo all fighting it out on the big screen.

The Expendables 3 is a fun action romp with lots of old and new cast members following on the success of the two previous films which basically gave a very flimsy premise for all these aged action stars to have an onscreen reunion amidst blowing everything in sight. The fact that all 3 Expendables movies is always released on South African screen during woman’s month is ironic to say the least. One has to satisfy the male population some how.

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Stallone plays Barney with Jason Statham as Lee Christmas who along with the rest of the Expendables cast add some new younger and savvy crew led by the cocky Smilee played by a buffed up Kellan Lutz who has come along way from the Twilight Days. Together both crews set out to destroy the evil and manic arms dealer Conrad Stonebanks, wonderfully played by Mel Gibson, a former Expendables co founder and now nefarious and ruthless criminal with a penchant for expensive art.

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As the action moves swiftly from all the usual international honeymoon spots like Mogadishu, Somalia to Armenia, (actually Bulgaria) in the film, The Expendables 3 does not pretend to be anything more than popcorn fodder with loads of action some witty one liners and a flimsy plot thrown in. Its also a fantastic chance for Wesley Snipes (The Blade Trilogy) and Arnold Schwarzenegger (Terminator) to redeem their forsaken Hollywood careers along with Antonio Banderas (The Legend of Zorro) and more importantly Mel Gibson (Lethal Weapon).

The real question is what was Harrison Ford doing in a film like this? Surely he made enough money as Indiana Jones or is this a revival pending the next Star Wars Trilogy where Ford is rumored to reprise his role as Han Solo (40 years on!)

The Expendables 3 is great entertainment if viewers enjoy a bunch of old dogs of cinema blowing things up and getting the bad guys. There are some amazing stunts, the narrative is flimsy punctuated by some hilarious moments provided by Banderas, Snipes and of course Oscar Winner Mel Gibson.

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It is also evident that clearly the 2008 economic recession is still affecting Hollywood if all these actors from the eighties and nineties still need to take part in sequels. The main thing is, at least they haven’t retired and are still entertaining audiences 30 years later as the cinema was packed when watching this action flick. Recommended viewing for serious action stars and clearly not aimed at female audiences despite the presence of female wrestler Rhonda Rousey who adds some glamour to this aged group of bandits.

Watch out for Kelsey Grammer (last seen in Transformers: Age of Extinction) as Bonaparte, a sort of mercenary recruiter who is always good value.

Pillars of Strength

The Legend of Hercules

Legend of Hercules

 

Director: Renny Harlin

Cast: Kellan Lutz, Liam McIntyre, Gaia Weiss, Scott Adkins, Roxanne McKee, Liam Garrigan, Rade Serbedzija, Kenneth Cranham

After his roles in the Twilight series and in the lavish film Immortals, Kellan Lutz shows off his muscled torso in the action adventure The Legend of Hercules, directed by Finnish born action director Renny Harlin (The Long Kiss Goodnight, Die Hard 2, Cliffhanger). Hercules from his birth is destined for glory after his mother Queen Alcmene is inseminated by the powerful Greek God Zeus, making him a demi-God, ready to grow up and battle his evil stepfather King Amphitryon, played by Scott Adkins and half brother the vicious Iphicles played by Liam Garrigan who plan on expanding their Greek empire and taking Hercules’s Cretian love interest Hebe away from him.

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Its all super Greek Tragedy set in 3D with lots of barely clad Gretian soldiers battling it out from Heliopolis (modern day Cairo) to Sicily and back to Greece. This is essentially a popcorn flick and there won’t be any prizes for acting as most of the cast are unknown actors except for Rade Serbedzija (Taken) as Chiron and Kenneth Cranham (Layer Cake) as Lucius, the compassionate slave dealer. Best scene in the film is when the angry Hercules is captured and tied to stone pillars and he rips these pillars down which is spectacular especially in 3D. The action is fabulous, the acting mediocre, but audiences who love ancient Greek tragedies should see this film, but its not in the same imaginative league as the first 300 or as bloody as the recent sequel, 300: Rise of An Empire.

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There is a hefty dash of romance between Hercules and Hebe, played by Gaia Weiss of the Vikings TV series fame, especially lots of soft focus scenes in the Greek countryside, which borders on corny, but then again audiences get to see Kellan Lutz showing off his fantastic physique for the entire length of the film. The Legend of Hercules is not in the same league stylistically as Alejandro Amenabar’s fabulously conceived Agora or Zack Snyder’s 300, it is nevertheless fun to watch and shouldn’t be taken to seriously and definitely worthy entertainment.

If this film achieves anything it will be to introduces a 21st century audience to the ancient Greek myths and legends which seem to be perpetuated by Hollywood as much as the Shakespearean tragedies. The Legend of Hercules also stars Kenneth Cranham soon to be seen in Maleficient, Roxanne McKee, Johnathon Schaech (Ray Donovan TV series) and Liam McIntyre as Hercules’s wing man Sotiris. Fun, but not exceptional or even erudite cinema.

 

 

Claiming the Blood of a Virgin

The Twilight Saga

Teenage Love…

As the thunder rolls and the clouds are slate gray on a dark afternoon, I break my silence on the cinematic phenomenon that is the Twilight Saga, based on the teenaged marketed books by Stephanie Meyer. Starting with Twilight in 2009, and now with the release of Breaking Dawn – Part 1, the Twilight movies have made instant stars out of Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner, helped with a great supporting cast including Peter Facinelli, Dakota Fanning, Kellen Lutz and Michael Sheen, this saga has the world divided. You either a fan or your are not. Twilight is similar to the Star Wars phenomenon and more recently the involved and magical Harry Potter films.

While so far in the series, the first film Twilight directed by Red Riding Hood and Lords of Dogtown visionary Catherine Hardwicke, is in my opinion still the best in the series, capturing the full flush of uncertain flirtatious love between local girl Bella Swan and the mysterious and wealthy Edward Cullen, who also happens to be a friendly and nefarious vampire, whilst New Moon and Eclipse start losing their originality and their cinematic focus. The eternal love affair between Bella and Edward is further complicated by Bella’s attraction to Jacob, the hunky Red Indian Washington state local who also happens to be a werewolf.

Whilst Bella becomes the focus of both Edward and Jacob’s love, their mutual competitive hatred transforms into a fraternal bond to protect Bella in the face of all forms of danger from ancient and vicious vampires to ferocious wolves, while maintaining a fragile truce between the two opposing worlds.

Bella, a human caught in a love triangle between the vampire Edward and the werewolf Jacob, is the basis of all narrative conflicts demonstrating the oldest plot in all fairy tales, an innocent maiden caught between the dashing yet mysterious prince and the ordinary but protective woodsman. Whilst Twilight captured the anguish of the original teenage love crush and subsequent bitter feuds, New Moon and Eclipse expand the worlds of the elegant vampires and tribal werewolves respectively.

Blood Red Sky and the Dawn of Immortality

But Bella is far from innocent! She wants the best of both men, and marries one while gaining protection of the other. Breaking Dawn, Part 1 while drawn out in parts follows the progression from the wedding to the creepy honeymoon in Brazil to moonlit impregnation and subsequent labour of her first child, a union between human and vampire. While Bella’s ordeal is really the shedding of virgin blood as part of the price for being a Vampire’s Bride, the Twilight series, whilst tapping into a wealth of mythology about vampires, first love and folklore is essentially a journey of a young girl from purity and innocence to the losing of her virginity at the cost of forsaking her mortality for the love of not one but two men and her transference from her own community to a world of eternal immortality.

Don’t expect brilliant acting from any of the leads, while Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson go through the motions of a seemingly happy newly married couple, not realizing the horror they in for, which is a watered down version of Rosemary’s Baby, Taylor Lautner’s Jacob seems as confused as ever, whether he wants to run with the wolves or protect the baby in the wood is not clearly portrayed. The Twilight saga is popular for its luminous love story set against some brilliant and spectacular Washington state scenery, and like all saga films, the original film is always the best.

The Twilight saga’s hidden message of no sex before marriage is also entwined along with the pitfalls for indecisive teenage girls who are caught between two vastly different male species, the charming seductive and moody prince or the caring and earthy woodsman, a tale as old as the bride of Dracula itself… a love triangle as treacherous as when time began. Whatever the outcome, the goal for the maiden is to lose one’s virginity and shedding blood and purity whilst dialectically opposing tribal forces clash over the loss of innocence and fight to claim the prize of the vanquished virgin. As for Part two, will there be a happily ever after?

 

 

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