REVIEW: THE EXPENDABLES 3

CAST

Sylvester Stallone (Judge Dredd)
Jason Statham (Safe)
Jet Li (War)
Mel Gibson (Mad Max)
Antonio Banderas (The 33)
Wesley Snipes (Blade)
Arnold Schwarzenegger (The Terminator)
Terry Crews (White Chicks)
Harrison Ford (Star Wars: The Force Awakens)
Kelsey Grammer (X-Men: The Last Stand)
Dolph Lundgren (Universal Soldier)
Randy Couture (The Scorpion King 2)
Kellan Lutz (The Legend of Hercules)
Ronda Rousey (Fast & Furious 7)
Glen Powell (Scream Queens)
Victor Ortiz (Southpaw)
Robert Davi (The Bad Pack)

Dolph Lundgren, Sylvester Stallone, Wesley Snipes, Jason Statham, Terry Crews, and Randy Couture in The Expendables 3 (2014)The Expendables—led by Barney Ross and formed by Lee Christmas, Gunner Jensen, and Toll Road—extract former member Doctor Death, a knives specialist and team medic, from a military prison during his transfer on a train. They recruit Doc to assist them in intercepting a shipment of bombs meant to be delivered to a warlord in Somalia. Arriving there, they reunite with Hale Caesar, who directs them to the drop point, where Ross is surprised to find out that the arms trader providing the bombs is Conrad Stonebanks, a former co-founder of the Expendables who went rogue and was presumed dead. In the ensuing firefight, The Expendables manage to kill all but Stonebanks, who shoots Caesar twice. As the team attempts to aid him, they are forced to retreat due to Stonebanks’ advanced weaponry, and Caesar is severely injured in the process.Harrison Ford in The Expendables 3 (2014)Back at the United States, CIA operative Max Drummer, the Expendables’ new missions manager, gives Ross a mission to capture Stonebanks in order to bring him to the International Criminal Court to be tried for war crimes. Blaming himself for Caesar’s injuries, Ross disbands the Expendables, not wanting his team to get killed following him, and leaves for Las Vegas where he enlists retired mercenary-turned-recruiter Bonaparte to help him find a new team of younger mercenaries to pursue Stonebanks. The recruits include former U.S. Marine John Smilee, nightclub bouncer Luna, computer expert Thorn, and weapons expert Mars. Skilled sharpshooter Galgo asks to be included in the team, but Ross turns him down.Harrison Ford and Sylvester Stallone in The Expendables 3 (2014)The new team members rendezvous with Ross’s rival Trench Mauser, returning a favor for Ross. Drummer has traced Stonebanks to Romania, where he is set to make an arms deal. Ross and the new recruits infiltrate an office building Stonebanks is using as a meeting place and, having to kill a few men in the process including arms buyer Goran Vata, manage to capture Stonebanks. In transit, Stonebanks begins to taunt Ross and explains why he betrayed The Expendables in the first place. Ross nearly kills him to shut him up but, despite Stonebanks egging him on, he stands down. Stonebanks’ men catch up to them, with the aid of his GPS Tracker, and fire a missile at the team’s van. Ross is thrown into a river, while Smilee, Luna, Thorn and Mars are captured by Stonebanks’ crew. Ross kills Stonebanks’ retrieval team and escapes.Dolph Lundgren in The Expendables 3 (2014)Stonebanks sends Ross a video, challenging Ross to come after him and giving him his location in the country of Azmenistan. While preparing to leave and mount a rescue alone, Ross is found by Galgo, who offers his services again. Ross gives him a chance, later accompanied by the veteran Expendables. They rescue the young mercenaries, only to learn from Stonebanks that he has rigged the place with explosives. As both the young and veteran Expendables begin to fight one another, Ross convinces them to work together in order to take down Stonebanks once and for all. As the final battle begins, Thorn is able to use a jammer device to delay the countdown, giving them just under half an hour before detonation. Stonebanks then orders the armed forces of Azmenistan to attack the building with full force, including tanks and attack helicopters. Drummer and Trench arrive in a helicopter to help, alongside returning Expendables member Yin Yang.Sylvester Stallone and Jason Statham in The Expendables 3 (2014)The new and veteran members of the Expendables work together to kill Stonebanks’ men. When a second wave moves in, Drummer lands on the building to evacuate the team. As everyone makes it to Drummer’s chopper however, Stonebanks personally attacks Ross after shooting him down. Having been forced to remove the armor and his weapon, Ross and Stonebanks engage in hand-to-hand combat after Stonebanks drops his gun to challenge Ross. Both are evenly matched, but Ross manages to knock down Stonebanks before they both reach for their guns, Stonebanks starts shooting but Ross gets the better of him. At his mercy, Stonebanks questions Ross “What about the Hague?”. Having coldly answered “I am the Hague” Ross shoots Stonebanks with his Colt Single Action Army revolver, finally killing him. Seconds after Stonebanks’ death, the batteries of Thorn’s device run out and the building begins to explode and collapse. The team makes it to Drummer’s helicopter and flies away to safety, with Ross clinging to it from the outside. In the aftermath, Caesar recovers from his wounds, and Ross officially accepts Galgo, Smilee, Luna, Thorn, and Mars into the team. They all celebrate at a bar together.Dolph Lundgren in The Expendables 3 (2014)The movie is a little bit slow at the start, but it quickly picks up pace and then it just steamrolls continuously on towards the very end. Wesley Snipes was really a welcomed addition to the movie, because he played his role so well.If you enjoyed the previous two movies, then you will also enjoy The Expendables 3. No doubt about it.

 

REVIEW: THE LAUNDROMAT

Antonio Banderas, Gary Oldman, Meryl Streep, David Schwimmer, and Jeffrey Wright in The Laundromat (2019)

Starring

Meryl Streep (Into The Woods)
Gary Oldman (The Dark Knight)
Antonio Banderas (The Mask of Zorro)
Sharon Stone (Catwoman)
David Schwimmer (Friends)
Matthias Schoenaerts (Red Sparrow)
Jeffrey Wright (Westworld)
Will Forte (Fanboys)
Chris Parnell (Goosebumps 2)
James Cromwell (Star Trek: First Contact)
Melissa Rauch (The Big Bang Theory)
Larry Wilmore (Vamps)
Robert Patrick (Terminator 2)
Rosalind Chao (Star Trek: DS9)
Nikki Amuka-Bird (The Omen)
Nonso Anozie (Game of Thrones)
Amy Pemberton (Legends of Tomorrow)
Charles Halford (Constantine)

Meryl Streep and Jeff Michalski in The Laundromat (2019)The film follows Ellen Martin (Streep), whose dream vacation takes a wrong turn and leads her down a rabbit hole of shady dealings that can all be traced to one Panama City law firm, run by financially seductive partners Jürgen Mossack (Oldman) and Ramón Fonseca (Banderas). In a shocking denouement she soon learns that her minor predicament is only a drop in the bucket of millions of files linking off-shore drug trafficking, tax evasion, bribery, and other illegal enterprises to the world’s richest and most powerful political leaders.Antonio Banderas and Gary Oldman in The Laundromat (2019)The subplot of a wealthy man and his daughter bears strong reference to the events described in the April 2019 book, The Bouvier Affair: A True Story, involving a network of trusts under a Russian oligarch’s name in Cyprus. The book focuses on Dmitry Rybolovlev, his daughter, Ekaterina Rybolovleva, and his wife, ElenaMeryl Streep and Larry Clarke in The Laundromat (2019)I found the film better than I’d imagined. It has a refreshing style for sure and maybe watched by a lot of folks who need the truth put forth to be in this entertaining format. The title of the movie was not an attractive lure, though for me, and I almost passed watching it.

REVIEW: UNCHAINED (AKA Bullet Head)

 

Starring

Adrien Brody (King Kong)
Antonio Banderas (The Legend of Zorro)
John Malkovich (Red)
Rory Culkin (Scream 4)

Antonio Banderas in Bullet Head (2017)Three career criminals find themselves trapped in a warehouse with the law closing in and an even worse threat waiting inside – a nigh unstoppable killer dog.  After a car crash that kills the man behind the wheel, Stacy (Adrian Brody), Walker (John Malkovich) and Gage (Rory Culkin) find themselves in a car outside a warehouse. They go inside to try and find a different car to leave in so they are safe. They head inside and find themselves wandering in the warehouse before finding a locker room. Inside the locker room, Gage goes through a series of lockers and finds drugs, medical supplies, and testosterone. He then finds a dead body of the dog’s handler, and the monster Presa Canario who lives in this dogfighting warehouse. Meanwhile, interspersed flashbacks occur of a dog from a dog fighting ring and Blue (Antonio Banderas) who has abused the dog in order to make it fight. Sitting and waiting while trapped by the Mastiff, Walker tells the story of getting a pet for his child to Stacy.John Malkovich and Adrien Brody in Bullet Head (2017)Gage is revealed to be in the locker room trying to get the drugs, where he injects heroin. There is a brief chase when Gage asks to be let back in with his drugs and the animal attacks. Walker is injured, as is Gage, and Gage tells the story of his first dog. Gage then overdoses and dies. Stacy goes to find the keys to a vehicle in order to get Gage and Walker out of there with their injuries after Walker rejects Stacy calling an ambulance. They retrieve the keys and Stacy hides in a piano from the dog. The dog realizes that Stacy is in the piano and charges, but becomes trapped under the piano. Stacy debates leaving, but instead lifts the piano off the dog, who then leaves Stacy intact. Stacy fetches Walker and takes him to the vehicle, where Blue pulls up in a fancy car and shoots Walker. Stacy runs through the warehouse to escape Blue who keeps shooting at him, and then falls backwards to escape Blue. They end up in the dog fighting ring where Blue does an evil monologue before the Presa Canario shows up and recognizes both Blue, his evil owner who abused him, and Stacy, who saved him from a piano. He attacks Blue, and is mortally wounded, but not before killing Blue. Stacy pets the dog and tells him that it’s alright. Stacy is then seen walking across a beach with a puppy.This is a strange film, it’s more intriguing than entertaining. The story-line of the participants is the present and flashbacks. It veers from funny to serious. The actors are top rate in keeping you interested, the writer obviously feels strongly about the subplot running through the film as well. It’s well worth watching, my only gripe was it should have ended without the added ending.

 

REVIEW: HAYWIRE

CAST
Gina Carano (Deadpool)
Michael Angarano (Red State)
Channing Tatum (G.I. Joe)
Michael Douglas (Ant-Man)
Michael Fassbender (300)
Antonio Banderas (Puss In Boots)
Ewan McGregor (Cassandra’s Dream)
Eddie J. Fernandez (The Last Stand)
Bill Paxton (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
Anthony Brandon Wong (The Matrix Reloaded)
Former Marine Mallory Kane (Gina Carano) goes to a diner in Upstate New York to meet Aaron (Channing Tatum). He tells her to get in his car, but she refuses and they fight. He pulls out a gun, but she disarms and pistol-whips him. Scott (Michael Angarano), a customer in the diner, intervenes and Mallory demands his car keys and that he get in the car. As they flee, she explains who she is and what has happened to her. The flashback sequences are intermixed with scenes of their flight.
Mallory tells Scott that she and Aaron work for a company that handles ‘operations’. One week before, the firm’s director (and Mallory’s ex-boyfriend) Kenneth (Ewan McGregor) had attended a meeting in Washington, D.C. arranged by government agent Coblenz (Michael Douglas). Kenneth’s firm was hired to rescue Jiang (Anthony Brandon Wong), who was allegedly being held hostage in an apartment in Barcelona. Also present at the meeting was Coblenz’s Spanish contact, Rodrigo (Antonio Banderas). Mallory and her team, which includes Aaron, travel to Barcelona and, despite difficulties, succeed in rescuing Jiang and delivering him to Rodrigo. Back in the United States, Mallory is approached by Kenneth, who insists she undertake what he describes as an easy assignment: to pose as the wife of British MI6 agent Paul (Michael Fassbender) during a mission in Dublin. Mallory agrees and accompanies Paul to a party at Russborough House, where they meet with his contact, Studer (Mathieu Kassovitz). Paul meets with Studer again as Mallory watches from afar. She sees Paul go into a barn and after he leaves, she enters it to find Jiang dead, clutching in his hand a brooch which Kenneth had insisted she wear as a recognition signal for her initial contact with Paul. Mallory realizes she has been set up.
On returning to their room at the Shelbourne Hotel, Paul attacks Mallory and they have a brutal fight; Mallory gets the upper hand and suffocates him near to death with a choke hold, then shoots him point blank in the face. She finds a missed call on Paul’s phone and returns it. Kenneth answers and asks if Mallory has been taken care of, before realising who is on the other end. As Mallory leaves the hotel, she evades Kenneth’s agents, who are tailing her. Heavily armed members of the Garda Emergency Response Unit (ERU) appear and try to arrest her. She escapes after a chase and sneaks onto a ferry to England.
Mallory calls Rodrigo and asks him whether it was he or Kenneth who set her up. Rodrigo calls Coblenz, who then calls Mallory. Coblenz tells Mallory that he has had suspicions about Kenneth for some time. Coblenz then contacts Kenneth and tells him to inform Mallory’s father, John Kane (Bill Paxton), of her purported crimes. Meanwhile, Mallory enters the United States and reaches the diner, expecting to meet Kenneth. Now on the road, Scott and Mallory are captured by the police. Both are taken into custody but the police are ambushed by Kenneth’s men. Mallory manages to kill one of them and flees with Scott in one of the police cars. She releases Scott and leaves to meet with her father.
Mallory reaches her father’s house in New Mexico before Kenneth, Aaron and two other men arrive to interrogate John about his daughter’s whereabouts. Aaron receives a photograph on his phone of Jiang lying dead, and it dawns on him that Mallory might have been set up. He tries to press Kenneth for the truth, but Kenneth shoots him and escapes, as Mallory takes out Kenneth’s other men. Aaron apologizes to Mallory as he dies in her arms. The following day, Mallory meets with Coblenz, who reveals that he told Kenneth to contact Mallory’s father, expecting that Kenneth would go to her father’s house and that she would kill him there. Coblenz also gives her Kenneth’s present location. Before they part, he offers her a government job, but she says she will respond after she has found Kenneth. In Mexico, Mallory confronts Kenneth on a beach and they fight. Kenneth’s foot becomes jammed between rocks. Unable to escape, he reveals that Jiang was a journalist who was being protected in a safe house after having exposed Studer’s crimes. Knowing that Mallory planned to leave his firm, Kenneth arranged for her to kidnap Jiang and deliver him to Rodrigo, who delivered him to Studer, who killed him. Kenneth then framed Mallory, planning to cut all ties that could lead to him, and convinced Paul that Mallory was a double agent whom he should kill. Mallory leaves Kenneth to drown in the incoming tide. A few days later, Mallory locates Rodrigo, who is on vacation in Majorca. The film ends as she confronts him, presumably intending to eliminate him as the last remaining link in the conspiracy against her.
The film is slightly different from most action movies, rather than quick edits Soderbergh leaves the camera on a single view longer than most directors and sometimes we see sections of fights as though viewing from afar with the volume turned down. Despite the unusual touches this is a good if not a great movie.