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C'mon Hollywood #221


...The Expendables VS Machete!
by J.A. Hamilton

Iíve always been a prominent action fan. Nine times out of ten, if thereís an adrenaline fueled feature in town, my ass is in a theater seat. I wasnít allowed to watch violent flicks when I was a kid (which was pretty rough considering weíre talking late eighties early nineties here), so Iíd sneak off to my grandparentís house where I watched stuff like RAMBO, COBRA, THE RUNNING MAN and so many others. Times have changed, forcing films to change and sadly, epic action flicks just arenít as abundant as they used to be. And unfortunately, a choice amount of this genreís flicks are a tad rough around the edges (to say the least), which is why stuff like THE EXPENDABLES and MACHETE up my pulse quicker than a Redbull. So this week, Iím dedicating this column to all the action junkies out there, with a debate over which you (and I) think will be better and/are more excited for: THE EXPENDABLES or MACHETE.

This poster gives me goosebumps

CAST: In regards to casting, itís only fair to embrace the cold, hard truth of the matter, being that thereís a fair amount of nostalgia involved here (for me anyway). Stallone gets props for a couple reasons, one, springing a ďroyal flushĒ of action stars on us (both old and new) fulfills a violent dream thatís been lying dormant within all action fans for quite some time. And two, well, of these two candidates, Sly was also first to hit us with the ďensemble castĒ scenario. Not to say Rodriguez hasnít created a similar testosterone induced vision in MACHETE. Iím totally digging the Danny Trejo love (dude is the man), and Iím exceedingly curious to see Steven Seagal in something noteworthy and un-turdlike. But when it comes right down to it, Sly, Jet Li, Statham, Lundgren, Crews, the Governator and possibly Willis? Iím sorry, but as surprised as I am to hear Don Johnsonís still alive, I have to give this round to THE EXPENDABLES.

Together at last, let's hope it was worth the wait

STORY/PLOT: One of the tag lines for THE EXPENDABLES is, ďa group of mercenaries head to South America to overthrow a dictator.Ē Not the most awe-inspiring thing Iíve ever heard. However, the idea of Lundgrenís character having it out with Sly and then turning villain IS pretty cool (not to mention the dictatorís being played by DEXTERís David Zayas, also cool). MACHETE (which sported a couple groovy trailers via GRINDHOUSE and the movie promo) isnít delving too highly into new territory either, finding Trejoís character (a renegade former Mexican Federale), whoís hired to take out a corrupt Senator, but gets double crossed and is then out for blood. The synopsis is like DESPERADO in some ways (no complaints here), which is fitting considering Rodriguez directed it and the MACHETE character was born of it. Hell, action flicks donít always need clever stories, so Iím gonna have to call this round a TIE.

There's no end to how insanely cool this character looks

RATING: Hereís the difference maker for me. For all the hype THE EXPENDABLES has been pushing (itís been worse than crack), all it took was one little announcement to derail my enthusiasm. When producer Avi Lerner was asked about violence, he answered by saying theyíre shooting two versions of the film, PG-13 and R rated, and plan to go with whichever one ďtests better.Ē Sounds to me like another PG-13 theatrical release (to make the most money), followed by an unrated/directorís cut on DVD/BLU RAY. Rodriguez, on the other hand, is a man who loves his R rated films, no smoke and mirrors there. MACHETE promises to be EVERYTHING a great action flick should be (Iíd expect nothing less from Rodriguez), and though a PG-13 EXPENDABLES isnít written in stone, Iím still gonna have to side with MACHETE here. At least with Rodriguez I KNOW what Iím getting.

Four more reasons why I love Rodriguez (five if you count Trejo)

Make no mistake, Iím pumped as hell for BOTH these films. Guys like Gerard Butler, Jason Statham, Liam Neeson, Christian Bale, Daniel Craig and even Hugh Jackman have ALL been providing some great action titles these past few years, but like I said earlier, things have changed. And when I see a couple films sporting the lineups that Sly and Rodriguez have put together, it takes me back to the late eighties/early nineties when action was ďKingĒ and adrenaline seemed to rule Hollywood. Times change, and I can live with that, but I wonít deny the ďbutterflies in my stomachĒ feeling I get when rare gems like 300, GLADIATOR and SIN CITY come knocking. I can only hope that MACHETE and THE EXPENDABLES pack even half the punch those films did, and provide us with a couple more additions to our favorite action libraries. So of the two, which are YOU more excited for?

Extra Tidbit: I was also a HUGE Van Damme fan growing up, and was unimaginably upset when I heard he turned Sly down. Other than him, I couldnít help but wonder why Chuck Norris didnít get a call, or even Wesley Snipes.
Tags: Hollywood



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