Tag Archives: Terry Crews

The Expendables 3 (2014) Review

Time: 126 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence and offensive language
Cast:
Sylvester Stallone as Barney Ross
Mel Gibson as Conrad Stonebanks
Jason Statham as Lee Christmas
Harrison Ford as Max Drummer
Antonio Banderas as Galgo
Wesley Snipes as Doctor Death
Dolph Lundgren as Gunner Jensen
Randy Couture as Toll Road
Terry Crews as Hale Caesar
Arnold Schwarzenegger as Trent “Trench” Mauser
Jet Li as Yin Yang
Kelsey Grammer as Bonaparte
Ronda Rousey as Luna
Kellan Lutz as John Smilee
Glen Powell as Thorn
Victor Ortiz as Mars
Robert Davi as Goran Vata
Director: Patrick Hughes

Years ago, Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) co-founded the Expendables with Conrad Stonebanks (Mel Gibson). After Stonebanks became an arms dealer, Ross was forced to kill him — or so he thought. Now, Stonebanks is back and he’s on a mission to end the Expendables. Ross decides that the way to fight old blood is with new blood, so he assembles a team of younger, faster, more tech-savvy recruits. The battle to topple Stonebanks becomes a clash of old-school methods vs. high-tech expertise.

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It’s been so long since I’ve watched the 3 Expendables movies. I seem to remember that the first was an okay but rather forgettable action movie, and the second was noticeably better and rather fun throwback flick. However, the 3rd movie really doesn’t work, and its surprisingly because the filmmakers somehow forgot the purpose of these movies to begin with. It’s not even entertainingly bad, it’s just middle of the road flat and average.

The movie starts off well with an entertaining opening action scene (it involves Wesley Snipes breaking out of prison). After that though it’s rather weak, even as a standard action flick, and on the whole still manages to be quite boring. Expendables 3 doesn’t seem self aware like in the 2nd movie and its worse than in the first movie. The Expendables was meant to be this throwback to 80s action movies but instead this movie is about getting a new team, in fact this movie spends too much time with recruiting the new Expendables. I’m also not expecting some kind of compelling story, but even on the level of trashy action movies, this falls pretty flat. Even some of the sillier aspects aren’t entertaining this time, its just incredibly hard to get into the movie. It does improve in the third act as it gets into the climax but it’s not worth sitting through the entire 2 hour runtime to get to that point.

The whole thing about Expendables is that part of its appeal is that it had 80s action stars all together (except Jason Statham for some reason). Expendables 3 forgot that, Stallone is very much the lead but much of the original cast of the first two movies is sidelined for the younger cast. The younger cast includes Ronda Rousey and Kellan Lutz, and the younger cast really don’t add anything to the movie at all and just end up being annoying more than anything else. The older cast fare a little better, the returning Expendables cast with the likes of Jason Statham and Arnold Schwarzenegger do well enough but again, sidelined. Harrison Ford in this movie pretty much replaces Bruce Willis’s role (since Willis didn’t return due to some disagreements between him and Stallone), having a few scenes and all. It’s nice seeing him here but unfortunately doesn’t elevate the movie enough. Wesley Snipes is also a nice addition. Antonio Bandareas is a good actor and on paper him being in the Expendables movies sounds really great, but his character is really annoying, so it was a bit of a missed opportunity. Mel Gibson was a good villain for the movie, the best villain in the trilogy by far, in fact he’s probably the best part of the whole movie. There’s particularly a standout scene with him in a truck like halfway through the movie.

The first Expendables was directed okay by Sylvester Stallone and the second was much better directed by Simon West. The third movie is directed by Patrick Hughes and unfortunately wasn’t all that done well. There is a lot of cuts and shaky cam during the action scenes, its like it was directed like an average modern action movie. Unlike the previous movies in the series, The Expendables 3 isn’t given an R rating. My problem isn’t necessarily that it’s not rated R (since you could just remove the blood from the other movies and they’d work almost as well, if not better), the problem is that it feels like it was shot to be R but then they changed to PG-13, resulting in some things looking different. For example, instead of blood spurting out when people are shot, it’s just lots of dust bouncing off them. There is some really poor CGI here, I know we shouldn’t be expecting much from it, but it even feels poor compared to the previous movie. The climax is entertaining enough, however the Stallone vs Gibson fight should’ve been more than what we got, doesn’t even touch the Stallone vs Jean-Claude Van Damme fight at the end of the second film.

The Expendables 3 is not awful but it’s rather average and somehow pales in comparison to the previous 2 movies, which weren’t even that great. It feels watered down, the new cast mostly don’t add much to it, and it’s just rather boring. Pretty much the only part about The Expendables 3 that is good enough that might be worth watching is Mel Gibson, who makes for an effective villain and the best out of the trilogy. Really the only movie in this trilogy that I’d say is worth watching is the second movie. Even if you’re a fan of the first two movies, I’m not sure that you’ll like this one.

Street Kings (2008) Review

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Street Kings

Time: 95 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Violence & Offensive Language
Cast:
Keanu Reeves as Detective 2nd Grade Tom Ludlow
Hugh Laurie as Captain James Biggs
Chris Evans as Detective Paul “Disco” Diskant
Forest Whitaker as Captain Jack Wander
Naomie Harris as Linda Washington
John Corbett as Detective Dante Demille
Cedric the Entertainer as Winston AKA “Scribble”
Jay Mohr as Sergeant Michael “Mike” Clady
Terry Crews as Detective 2nd Grade Terrence Washington
Common as “Coates”
The Game as Grill
Director: David Ayer

Tom Ludlow (Keanu Reeves), a veteran member of the LAPD, is still mourning the loss of his wife and trying to navigate through a world that does not make much sense anymore. When evidence implicates him in the death of a fellow officer, Ludlow begins to question the loyalties of everyone around him.

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I went into Street Kings not really knowing what to expect, despite the cast and the director. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that David Ayer is a hit or miss filmmaker given there’s only one movie of his I don’t really like, but only a couple of his movies I would consider great. Street Kings is by no means a great movie and it’s not really that great, but I had fun with it, and it was better than I expected it to be.

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Street Kings is a standard crime thriller movie featuring dirty cops and police corruption, you’ve seen many of these types of movies, and many that have been done much better for sure (like L.A. Confidential or the David Ayer written Training Day). The writing is not the best, some of the characters are rather 2 dimensional, the first act was messy, some of the dialogue is just rather silly, and while I wouldn’t call the plot predictable, it was quite familiar. To be fair on Ayer’s part however, he didn’t actually write the script to this movie. With all that being said, Street Kings is reasonably entertaining for what it is, and doesn’t really have a dull moment (aside from the aforementioned first act). The plot wasn’t entirely riveting, but it was engaging enough for me to pay attention to everything that was happening right to the very end. It was around an hour and 50 minutes, and that was just about the right length for the movie.

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This movie actually has a pretty good cast all around. Keanu Reeves is in one of his more grittier and darker roles as the protagonist, and he performs pretty well. His character is yet another antihero alcoholic police detective who is a loose cannon who does his job his own way, and he doesn’t play by the rules, so nothing really new especially when it comes to crime thrillers. But Reeves does his part, and as to be expected, he excels in the action scenes. The supporting cast that includes Forest Whitaker, Chris Evans (who especially shares some good on screen chemistry with Keanu), and Naomie Harris all play their parts well. Hugh Laurie is also good in his scenes as the Captain of Internal Affairs but he’s barely in the movie, he doesn’t really do much by the end of the story, so his inclusion felt rather pointless.

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You can definitely tell that it’s a David Ayer movie from beginning to end, and overall it was directed pretty well. When it comes to gritty crime stories, Ayer is pretty good at representing that side in movies, and Street Kings is no exception. This is an action movie, and the action is filmed really well and stylish, with some entertaining set pieces. So at the very least, it’s worth watching just as an action movie.

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Street Kings is nothing special or memorable and it does have a number of issues for sure, but it was rather entertaining and much better than I thought it would be (at least compared to some of the reactions to it that I saw). It is elevated by David Ayer’s direction, some solid performances from the talented cast and featured some really good action. So it might be worth a watch if you’re interested in it.

 

Sorry to Bother You (2018) Review

Time: 111 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Violence, drug use, sexual material, offensive language & content that may disturb
Cast:
Lakeith Stanfield as Cassius “Cash” Green
David Cross as Cash’s “white voice”
Tessa Thompson as Detroit
Jermaine Fowler as Salvador
Omari Hardwick as Mr. _______
Patton Oswalt as Mr. _______’s white voice
Terry Crews as Sergio Green
Danny Glover as Langston
Steven Yeun as Squeeze
Armie Hammer as Steve Lift
Director: Boots Reilly

In an alternate reality of present-day Oakland, Calif., telemarketer Cassius Green (Lakeith Stanfield) finds himself in a macabre universe after he discovers a magical key that leads to material glory. As Green’s career begins to take off, his friends and co-workers organize a protest against corporate oppression. Cassius soon falls under the spell of Steve Lift (Armie Hammer), a cocaine-snorting CEO who offers him a salary beyond his wildest dreams.

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I had been hearing some buzz for Sorry to Bother You for a while. A lot of people have been proclaiming it one of the best of the year, while it polarised a lot of other people. I didn’t watch any of the trailers, I just knew that basic plot and some of the cast involved and that was it, so going in I wasn’t really sure what to expect. Sorry to Bother You is one of the most original films of the year that will work for some and won’t work for others. Its full of ideas, entertaining, and is mostly well put together.

You have to watch Sorry to Bother You as an absurdist dark comedy, you can’t take lots of the movie as literal. So much of the movie is satirical, and a lot of the satire is blatant rather than subtle but it still somehow works. Thematically there’s a lot going on (which you’ll see for yourself), maybe a little too much, like writer/director Boots Reilly wanted to cover a lot and maybe he chose to do too much. Though I think it works well enough. I think it would be a disservice to reveal some of the things that happen in the movie (and plus it benefits not knowing much going in), so I’ll keep it as vague as possible. The whole thing about the lead character becoming successful as a telemarketer by putting on a ‘white voice’ is pretty much just covering the first act. Even when odd things were happening in the first and second acts, it wasn’t full out crazy yet. Where that changed was in the third act, from a suddenly dark moment/reveal that changes a lot from that point going forward. You just sort of have to go along with it, as absurd as it is. I was able to go along with it but I can easily see why it doesn’t work for others and was too much, because it is admittedly ridiculous both on paper and in practice. Sorry to Bother You is an hour and 50 minutes long and I found it entertaining from start to finish. Both the comedy and drama was balanced out well I thought, even though there’s generally more comedy here. There is a sort of ‘argument’ of sorts between Lakeith Stanfield and Jermaine Fowler that’s one of the funniest scenes of 2018. Aside from potentially tackling way too many themes, I guess the only other flaw I could think of was that the female characters are a little underwritten. Honestly there’s a lot to take in with the movie, so my opinion on the plot and the overall movie may change on a second viewing.

Lakeith Stanfield is great in the lead role as Cassius Green, balancing both drama and comedy really well, particularly shining in the later scenes of the movie. Tessa Thompson is really good as Cassius’s girlfriend, I mentioned how the female roles are underwritten a little bit, but Thompson does a lot with aherrole and is a real standout. Jermaine Fowler, Steven Yeun, Omari Hardwick, Terry Crews and Danny Glover are also good as the supporting cast. The white voices, done by David Cross, Patton Oswalt and Lily James were also pretty good. Although he’s not in the movie a lot, Armie Hammer gives by far his best performance yet here as a cocaine fuelled CEO. It’s a very different role for him, a much darker and hateable role but he actually seems at home playing it, more so than his other roles. He steals every scene that he’s in and I kinda wished that we got to see more of him. Aside from an interview clip in the first act, we really see him in a few scenes from the end of the second act.

For a directorial debut, Boots Reilly did a great job with the film overall. What particularly stood out is that he gets really creative with the way that he films a lot of the scenes. For example, earlier when Lakeith calls someone (because he’s a telemarketer), it actually shows him and his desk dropping right in front of the person before he talks to him. Other sequences like the transitions are also filmed fantastically, really unique from any other directors. The dubbing of the white voices can be pretty messy most of the time. You do eventually get used to it and it’s not a big flaw, but it does stand out.

Sorry to Bother You is definitely not for everyone, it’s weird, it’s not subtle, and maybe it covers a little too much thematically. However, it worked well for me, with the cast all doing a wonderful job, and Boots Reilly’s writing and direction being really something else. You just can’t compare Sorry to Bother You to any other film, and it’s one of my favourites of the year. Reilly has clearly proven his talent as a writer and behind the camera, and I’m really looking forward to seeing more of his film work.