ok so let me clear up a few things and respond to those of you who felt compelled to send me personal emails calling me an ass-kissing publicist and bitching me out for one thing or another that you felt I should have addressed in my last post. Some were pissed because I only wrote what I loved about The Expendables and nothing about what I hated…no criticism no negatives just love love love.
And they’re right, sort of. It was a little bit of a half-assed post – but I was trying to convey a vibe rather than give a review on a film that is still a work in progress. I was/am excited about this movie (and would be whether I worked on it or not) because it’s my kind of movie with my kind of cast. I wanted to write about MY experience seeing the movie, not about how cool I think I am because I can tear a scene apart and arrogantly give my opinion on how I could make it so much better even though I have never directed a movie.
So I am updating my half-assed post but if you are looking for some epiphany or come to jesus moment you won’t find it here…
The post did not mention Jet Li or David Zayas – purely an oversight…only love here people because I loved them both…Jet shows range with his ability to pull off the jokes while showing his badass side in the fight scene with Dolph. Zayas plays Garza’s pathos with perfection…the performances are good in this film and while there are standouts like Jason, Dolph and Mickey, ultimately this is an ensemble piece. Without Terry Crews, Eric Roberts, Randy Couture, Giselle, etc this would be a totally different flick. As for how Arnold looks…he’s playing a character…he looks like a mercenary who’s lived an adventurous life not freakin Conan.
In terms of what didn’t quite resonate for me… I didn’t much care for the opening – I prefer the opening in the final shooting script
In true Sly fashion moments of intensity are broken up by comedic beats but I wanted a little more tension in a couple of scenes.
The music needs some work. It was choppy and at the end the switch from one song to another was too abrupt and unnecessary…
There are scenes that could be tweaked and moments that weren’t in this cut I’d like to see but I’m not worried right now in February with months to go before release…I have complete confidence in Sly and his skills as a director. I am confident that when August 13 rolls around The Expendables will be everything we want it to be…And that’s all I have to say about that.
as for the bombshell…it’s not about The Expendables or Poe…
so I went to the “test” screening last night way the hell out in the Valley. When I arrived the line was out the door and around the building. I was a little surprised that everyone in line knew they were seeing The Expendables. Usually when a studio does a screening of this nature they keep the name of the film under wraps until the movie goers are in the theater..but then again quite a few had no clue as to what The Expendables was so it didn’t really matter. There would be a focus group of approximately 30 movie-goers immediately following the screening so the film makers could get an idea of what did or didn’t “play”…I was stoked.
I found Sly, looking calm and collected, and asked him how he felt about having an audience finally see the film. He said he felt really good about the film in it’s current form, which according to him “is about 85% there.” He was still tweaking the music and a few little things here and there but basically what we were about to see is what the world will see in August…unless of course something hideous happens but I am not going there as I am in my happy place…
so what did I love about the movie…
THE ACTION IS C R A Z Y!!!
Mickey Rourke steals every scene he is in
Sly and Jason Statham create an on screen chemistry we haven’t seen in many a moon
Dolph Lundgren is freakin awesome
The scene with Sly, Bruce and Arnold just freakin killed me…and Bruce is scarily hard ass
Randy Couture, Eric Roberts, Terry Crews, Giselle Itie, Steve Austin, Gary Daniels all have pretty freakin cool moments…the film kicks ass, makes you laugh, has heart AND a decapitation…need I say more??
PS…Sly dropped a bomb on me which took me by surprise…it’s gonna surprise you too…
ok I’ve been quiet cuz I’ve been working on my own project – but more about that later. First things first, the neck…Sly did indeed have a very serious surgery a few weeks after we wrapped The Expendables. He did it under the radar and kept it out of the press…I love that! Arnold went to visit him in the hospital and I saw him a couple of weeks after the surgery. From what he told me it was complicated and involved moving his trachea, putting in a metal plate and some very delicate maneuvering by the surgeon – the slightest mistake could have resulted in paralysis. As for how it happened – I don’t exactly remember because Sly had several injuries over the course of the film – he did so many over the top stunts and rarely used a stunt double for the fights. After one fight blood was pouring out of his ear. I do know the fight between him and Steve Austin was brutal – took place in a cave with jagged walls and a hard dirt floor – stunt pads were rarely used as that would prevent Sly from getting the full frame shots he loves so much. They both got their clocks wound in the scene that day.
As for JCVD, it is clear that during the pathetic excuse for a press conference he exhibited a real case of sour grapes. JCVD was disrespectful, insulting and showed he has no character. But then again most of us knew that. That doesn’t mean some of his movies aren’t good, he isn’t in good shape or that he isn’t a martial arts expert – just that he clearly created a mythology about what happened to make it look like he turned down Sylvester Stallone for creative reasons. Bull@#!%. I’m not going to get into a he said/he said dialogue here since I wasn’t present for the conversations. But again, my understanding is Sly really wanted JCVD and was writing a part for him – just as he did for Jason, Jet, Dolph, Mickey, etc. Doing this film was never about the money for Sly so I find it completely implausible that he tried to lure JCVD with the promise of riches. A rewarding experience, a chance to get back on the big screen in a big film and a role that would allow him to show his chops? Yes. The promise of money money money. No. Anyone who knows how NuImage operates knows that getting money out of Avi is like milking a hummingbird – he has a formula that he sticks to which is why he is successful. Sly had x amount of $ to make the film and he wanted to get the most out of it. Giving bundles to a marginal screen draw makes no sense. John Wright is right (heh heh) – the script went through over 100 rewrites…JCVD’s character was not fleshed out completely but Sly had an outline for who he was. As with the other actors, JCVD would have the opportunity to develop the character. I think it came down to how much of a team player would JCVD be – remember this was an ensemble piece – everyone had to click – ego on set would not be tolerated. My thoughts – JCVD was perhaps the architect of his own demise in terms of the film because of ego and perhaps a little feeling of intimidation. That’s my take and it is filled with a lot more truth than any speculation I’ve seen here. Get it? Got it? Good.
Ahhh I’m in a reflective kind of mood tonight what with the “blue moon” so full and luminous and a retrograde Mercury causing havoc… I’m fairly certain that wackiness will ensue. So before I head out into the land of the wild and the weird known as New Year’s Eve I’m chiming in with my take on the past 10 years…
Looking back makes me realize what a wild assed conglomeration of hideousness and hilarity the soon to end decade was. Let us not forget people…The 21st century began with the crazies in high gear as way too many people on planet earth believed the world was going to end with the advent of Y2K…But alas the world did not stop spinning on its axis, planes did not fall from the sky (yet) and cities did not come to a grinding halt. But one thing was for certain – media manipulation was officially at full tilt. And with that we were off and running as Playstation became the drug of choice, Dubya became the 43rd President of the US but not “us” and George Harrison reminded us “All Things Must Pass”. The tragedy of 9-11 brought the country together for a brief moment until the 2004 election Kabuki tore us apart again. Tsunamis and earthquakes ravaged the Indian Ocean, China and India while in the US Hurricane Katrina revealed to us this is a country still very much divided by class. Saddam Hussein was found in a rat hole, our brave men and women went to war In Viet Nam and Cambodia….oops I mean Iraq and Afghanistan… and pirates once again trolled the high seas and I’m not talking about Johnny Depp. The space shuttle Columbia disappeared before our eyes, that cute little Pope died , gay marriage became legal – sort of – and pot stores literally sprouted up over night in California. We learned that you can see Russia from Sarah Palin’s backyard, a man named Barack Obama was elected President, Bernie Maddoff made off with other people’s money, Kenneth Lay took the easy way out, banks failed, the stock market did a free fall, the dollar tanked and gas rose to nearly $5 a gallon. Meanwhile back in Iran, thousands filled the streets to make their voices heard. And the world listened…for a minute. Oh and let’s not forget about Mad Cow disease and Swine flu and anthrax.
Social networking reminded us of how much we all want to be connected.. to our IPods and Iphones and Kindles but not necessarily to each other. We waged war against terrorism but not against hunger in our own backyard. Global warming became the new buzz word. TV’s got flat, albums all but disappeared and TiVo changed our lives forever – ok so maybe just mine but it did! We met the Osbornes, LT danced with the stars, American Idol gave us mediocrity (Justin, Rueben) mixed with brilliance (Jennifer , Carrie, Kelly), Madonna stuck her tongue down Brittany’s throat, YouTube gave every moron in the world with a camera a chance at fame, Michael Jackson disintegrated, Janet Jackson showed her nipple ring and Amy Winehouse became an embarrassment to crack heads everywhere. All the while Beyonce made it totally legit to have a big ass…errr… I mean booty. Peter Jackson gave life to Frodo and Gollum, Penguins marched, Memento mesmerized, Russell Crowe beat a guy with a phone (not very Gladiator like), a little fish named Nemo made us smile, Spidey ruled, Transformers enthralled but the sequel was a snooze fest and Christian Bale and McG ruined the Terminator franchise. Pan’s Labyrinth disturbed us and we fell in love with Batman and vampires…again… as Jim Cameron…love him or hate him…delivered the best trip I’ve been on in years. Moulin Rouge, Crouching Tiger, Daniel Craig as a very sexy Bond..I could go on and on…
The Red Sox won the world series, Usain Bolt ran really really fast, Shaq and Kobe ruled, Brett Favre got very confused, Beckham bent it in LA, Michael Phelps got cozy with a bong, Danica Patrick showed the boys how girlz play, Michael Vick went to jail, Barbaro broke our hearts, ‘roids raged, Tiger got beat by his own golf club and the Steelers won the Super Bowl…TWICE (just because I haven’t mentioned The Expendables doesn’t mean I wouldn’t mention my Steelers ;]
Ok so there you have it…maybe TMI but it’s my take and i’m sticking to it. Happy 2010 everyone. Lots of good things are coming our way including the release of The Expendables and Arnold’s final days as Guv. Cheers.
Had coffee with Arnold and a couple of his friends today – BTW he looks amazing – fit and tan. He just returned from Israel where he traded ideas on the environment. Then he headed to Iraq to visit the troops. I had the honor of traveling with him to Baghdad, Balad, Kuwait City and a few other places on July 4th 2003 so I know a). how much he loves meeting the brave men and women who put their lives on the line everyday and b). how much the troops LOVE having Arnold visit their bases and the gyms. He slept in Saddm Hussein’s Summer Palace which is now Camp Victory (ironic name by the way). We also visited the palace in 2003 and I have video of me in one of the bathrooms where everything was gold including the toilet. But I digress…As we were saying goodbye Sly pulled up and I had a few minutes to ask him some more questions about Rambo 5 guz honestly people I was a little confused and the comments on this blog did nothing to give me any clarity.
Right off the bat I asked him to clarify – was Rambo 5 two stories in one …and this is what he told me… When he first agreed to do another Rambo the idea of JR against something way way bigger was the logical step- he knew that this time out Rambo needed the ultimate challenge physically and mentally. But as the creative process took hold Sly found himself veering away from that concept with the real pull towards the story of the horrendous violence inflicted on the women and girls caught in the Mexican drug war. It will have all of the trademarks of a Stallone film and the story will be provocative, revealing and totally kick ass. And while the chess game governments play using innocents as pawns has been told before I am prepared to bet the farm Sly will come up with stuff that will blow our socks off – figuratively and literally!! So now I’m clear – this Rambo will be Rambo and Hunter will be made in the future as a stand alone as it should be. Sly is also talking about collaborating with a writer for Rambo. The Expendables went through over 100 drafts and took a huge toll on Sly…it will be interesting to see who he teams up with.
I also asked about Poe…again… because that to me has the potential to be an award winning film even if the studios don’t get it. He told me not to get him started on that one and as much as I wanted to ignore and go for it I didn’t. So I’m hoping Sherlock Homes does well so that someone will wake up and put some money behind it.
It was a good day…
I hope you all enjoy the day in a way that makes you happy and I ask you to think of those less fortunate – especially the children – who with no food and in some cases no home don’t have much to be thankful for. Make a difference by volunteering or donating to your local foodbank or pantry. Or go to http://www.lafoodbank.org if you are in SoCal.
Honestly folks I have to admit I wasn’t that jazzed about Sly doing Rambo 5 or whatever number it is. I felt the last one was so totally kick ass balls to the wall old school action there’d be no need to do another one. Then there was the possibility of shooting in Bulgaria which really didn’t appeal to me so I was thinking I might have to sit this one out. But that all changed after my oh so interesting conversation with Sly on Saturday about the new Rambo. I told him how happy I was after reading Zablo’s blog in which Sly said that he had changed the storyline. And while I have utmost respect for Sly’s writing and directing ability I just wasn’t psyched about John Rambo going Predator like on me. So I told Sly that I was excited about him tackling the subject of the brutality women and children caught in the drug wars in Mexico face. He spoke passionately about shining the high beams on the situation. He said he is doing tons of research and the deeper he digs the more complex and dangerous the subject matter becomes. It was clear this story has struck a chord in him so I am expecting a lot of intensity. He commented it will be a brutal shoot…more brutal than The Expendables I asked…oh yeh he said. Ok now I’m hooked. But I had to ask…what about Bulgaria. Absolutely not was the answer (phew). It will be shot in the US, probably somewhere in the southwest where there’s desert – perhaps New Mexico. He is hoping for a spring 2010 start. Me too
cameo role. a minor part played by a prominent performer in a single scene of a motion picture or a television play.