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Cedar Rapids Ed Helms, John C. Reilly, Anne Heche, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Stephen Root, Kurtwood Smith,Alia Shawkat, Rob Corddry, Mike O'Malley, Sigourney Weaver, Thomas Lennon, Welker White, Steve Blackwood

Cedar Rapids: when ‘Brown Star’ (the best joke in the film) Insurance’s top sales guy dies they have to send a sheltered nerd to the regional insurance conference to win the prestigious “two-diamond” industry recognition. It’s billed as a ‘hilarious’ comedy, but let me break this down for you; John C Reilly is funny, Anne Heche is semi-funny, nobody else is funny at all. On paper, this is a great idea: a bunch of insurance nerds ripping it up at a corporate weekend – but it’s just not done correctly. A character from The Wire makes several references to The Wire, for no real reason – and the way everyone talks to each other is ridiculous, as if a child wrote parts of the script. Worst of all, not a whole lot of the jokes are funny – it’s definitely humor, not humour! The direction, look and feel are all classic American Indie – in the vein of Win Win, Away We Go, The Informant! – but it’s nowhere near that level. It feels like a studio said to a director “we’ve got this film that needs to be made, get all your friends on it”. As far as “Fish out of water” stories go, this could have been amazing, but the execution just isn’t there.

Score: 2.5/10

To me, The Expendables movies are fantastic. Over-the-top action films in the vein of 1980s classics had all but died out, limited to the archive of that decade’s finest genre movies. Then Stallone came along and said “hrmmph hrm hrm mph mphm hmmmmmm ranmhnhmnh mmmpphhhhh” (Translation: “Fuck it, I’m going to make more ridiculous action films”)

sylvester stallone

“hrmmph hrm hrm mph mphm hmmmmmm ranmhnhmnh mmmpphhhhh”

These films let action fanboys like me re-live our youth, watching Arnie, Willis, Stallone, Noris, and other legendary action stars shot bad guys with big guns, blow up pretty much everything blow-upable, drive vehicles into things and generally cause as much havoc as the budget will allow. But there’s one crucial element missing from these films… they only focus on the good guys.

The 80s action era was the perfect breeding ground for some of cinema’s most dastardly, evil and often ridiculous bad guys, mega-villains and henchmen.

Bolo Yeung Double Impact Bloodsport Enter the dragonBolo Yeung: this guy is my favourite baddie ever. He’s menacing, he’s ruthless, never plays fair, and best of all, he has a huge physical presence and one of those faces that he can make look so, so evil.

Alan Rickman Hans Gruber Die HardAlan Rickman: respected thesp and hands down one of the best actors still around, yet was he ever really as good (or memorable) as the German terrorist Hans Gruber?

Mr Joshua Gary Busey Lethal WeaponGary Busey: that rubber face, that crazy blonde ‘haircut’, that shit-eating grin, those wildly colourful shirts… Gary Busey was born to play bad-guys.

Ivan Drago Dolph Lundgren Rocky 4Dolph Lundgren: sure, he’s OK as a good guy in the films at the moment – but he’s got a face that looks like he’s been pillaging random Asian villages for the past 30 years.

Clarence Boddicker Kurtwood Smith Robocop Kurtwood Smith: pretty much famous for playing the nasty and crazy Clarence Boddicker in Robocop, but what a villain he was. Outrageous, and would love to even see a glimmer of something like this again.

Vernon Wells Bennett commandoVernon Wells: again, a one-trick pony, but Bennett from Commando is the ultimate in camp-classic baddie – a ridiculously out-of-shape guy with a chainmail vest that was supposed to be John Matrix’s equal! LOLZ!

So far, as someone who still gets warm, nostalgic and starstruck seeing the biggest names in action cinema literally coming out of retirement, the only way that this franchise could be any better would be with a stronger emphasis on the bad guys.

Nicolas Cage, Jackie Chan, Mickey Rourke all confirmed, and Statham, Eastwood, Snipes, Harrison Ford & Mel Gibson all rumoured to be in talks, the cast is looking stellar – throw in a couple of the guys mentioned above and it could become the greatest movie of all time!

Expendables Review

Expendables 2 Review