Tag Archives: Kellan Lutz

Old Soldiers

Stallone & Co. are showing their age in third testosterone fest

The Expendables 3 - Final One Sheet

The Expendables 3

Starring Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger & Mel Gibson

Directed by Patrick Hughes

PG-13

In the opening scene of this slam-bang, testosterone-fest reunion of aging action-movie icons, Sylvester Stallone’s character points to a frankfurter-sized finger of his meaty fist and a skull-shaped glob of silver—his Expendables “lucky ring.”

The Expendables franchise, about a group of super-covert, battle-scarred warriors hired to do the U.S. government’s dirty work, has indeed been lucky for Stallone. He’s had both his bank account and his ego fed by the success of the previous two movies, which he also had a big hand in either directing or writing.

In the movies, his team is “expendable” because their work is so dangerous, and their missions so secret, no one knows—or can afford to care—if they live or die.

How ironic—since the Expendables don’t seem expendable at all. They just keep coming back, again and again, and Stallone and his co-stars are a veritable, tried-and-true Hollywood guy-movie who’s who. These are some “dependable” Expendables.

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Sylvester “Rambo” Stallone (left) and Arnold “Terminator” Schwarzenegger are the alpha males in “Expendables 3.”

And if anything, they just keep getting more “expandable.” In this excursion, the grizzled, gung-ho wagon train links up former E-team stalwarts Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dolph Lundgren, Terry Crews, Wesley Snipes, Jason Statham, Randy Couture and Jet Li with new add-ons Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, Kelsey Grammer (yes, Dr. Crane from Cheers and Frazier!) and Antonio Banderas, and a group of younger Expendables-in-training—Kellan Lutz, Glen Powell, boxing champ Victor Oritz and mixed martial arts fighter Ronda Rousey, the sole female invited into the boys’-club sandbox of bullet-spraying machine guns, missile-launching bazookas, exploding trains, airborne boats, dive-bombing helicopters and ka-booming army tanks.

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Mixed martial arts fighter-turned-actress Ronda Rousey is the only female invited to play in the boys-only sandbox.

There’s a wisp of a subplot about the old-school Expendables (with their knives and guns) vs. the new young high-tech Expendables (with their computers and cameras and drones). But now, four years and three movies into the franchise, the just-plain-old Expendables are beginning to wear visibly thin, the plots have ground down to near nothingness, the wisecracks aren’t wise or crack-y anymore, and the original stars mostly lumber around like middle-aged slabs of spa-toned beefcake. And this movie, in particular, is so bloated with actors, there’s not much space for any of them. Some, like martial arts champion Jet Li, are relegated to little more than a cameo.

When the first movie came out, in 2010, it was an homage to Hollywood’s long tradition of Dirty Dozen-style, action-caper, military-mission flicks, as well as an adrenaline shot of career-rejuvenating mojo for Stallone and some of his action-movie pals from the ’80s and ’90s. Now, as Neil Young’s “Old Man” plays and Stallone’s character proudly watches his young protégés carouse in a barroom, it seems like the original Expendable is thinking about finally easing out of the picture—or at least making much more room for a younger, leaner, greener set of espionage and counter-terrorism experts.

At one point, Trench (Schwarzenegger) tells Barney (Stallone) he’s through. “I’m getting out of this business,” he says, “and so should you.” Maybe it’s finally time for Stallone to take that Expendables advice to heart.

—Neil Pond, American Profile Magazine

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Built to Last

Even this big B.C. cheese ball can’t bring down mighty Hercules

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The Legend of Hercules

Starring Kellan Lutz and Gaia Weiss

Directed by Renny Harlin

PG-13

He’s buff, he’s tuff, and he’s strong enough—to survive everything Greek and Roman mythology could throw at him, and then eons later, to withstand the whirring blades of the pop-cultural blender.

The mighty mythical Hercules, the son of a mortal queen mother and the Olympian god Zeus, has been portrayed on TV and in the movies by dozens of actors, including Arnold Schwarzenegger, Kevin Sorbo, Lou Ferrigno and Ryan Gosling (!), turned into a cartoon by Walt Disney and even made into a Three Stooges sidekick. Later this summer, he’ll return to the big screen in yet another incarnation, MGM’s Hercules, starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

But before that, though, there’s this: The Legend of Hercules, a 3-D action spectacle starring Kellan Lutz as the muscle-bound hunk with part of his DNA from the heavens.

A012_R001_0509JOFans of the Twilight movies might recognize Lutz as one of the lesser vampires from that franchise, but you’ll get eyestrain trying to spot many other familiar faces in this shaggy-dog, made-in-Bulgaria production. (Liam McIntyre, who stepped into the title role of Showtime’s Spartacus series in 2012, and Johnathon Schaech, who played the leader of the band in That Thing You Do!, have supporting roles.)

Your eyes won’t be the only things straining as you try to follow along with the hollow dialog, hammy acting and hackneyed digital effects that look like videogame graphics. Finnish director Renny Harlin, whose career never quite maintained the adrenaline high of Die Hard 2 and Cliffhanger in the early 1990s, here continues to work the shallows, although he’s still’s got some mojo for making good ol’ mano-a-mano mayhem look stylish, as when Hercules squares off in the gladiatorial arena against one (or more) opponents, or dusts it up with his own stepfather (who never liked him anyway).

B049_L001_05206L“Have you come to bring the wrath of Zeus upon me, boy?!” bellows the stepfather (Scott Adkins), sounding more like a modern-day brawler than an ancient Aegean warlord king. In other places, too, the movie seems to be confused about its era. Hercules and his princess girlfriend (Gaia Weiss) get lovey-dovey in a gauzy, fabric-draped woodland gazebo that looks like it came from a Bed Bath & Beyond in Athen’s Parthenon Plaza.

THE LEGEND OF HERCULESBut even worse, The Legend of Hercules can’t seem to sort out its own hero from every other sword-and-sandal story of the past 2,000 years. It’s a mash-up of Gladiator, Ben-Hur, 300, The Passion of the Christ, the Samson saga from the Old Testament and many other narrative threads that have come before it, without much idea about how to use them to weave anything original.

But, through the centuries, the legend of Hercules has survived. It will undoubtedly survive the splat of this big B.C. cheese ball, too.

—Neil Pond, American Profile Magazine

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