Tag Archives: Jason Statham

Sly Stallone – renaissance man or expensive saddlebag?

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Sly, I love you, but you’re turning into Tony Bennett.  It’s really quite eerie.

Look everybody – there’s a new trailer for “The Expendables 2” (presented via the kind intercession of YouTube and IGN‘s channel).

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Subtlety is not on the agenda, as you might expect (or, indeed, hope).  Lots of things exploding, stunts aplenty and old dudes cracking wise – we’re in comfortable territory.

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I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that the only way to top the bonkers explosions and stunts in this trailer will be to take the next movie into outer space.   It’ll be like the Clint Eastwood vehicle “Space Cowboys“, only with more detonations and absurdly large, probably overcompensating range of firearms.   I can see it now….

As previously stated in an earlier post, “The Expendables 2” opens on August 17th – the perfect way to spend an aimless late summer afternoon for discerning middle-aged geeks and the younger nerd set alike.

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Filed under Films, Movie Trailer

Appropriate Attired Adventurers Assemble!

Well, this is awesome.

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Fantasy and SF book blog A Dribble of Ink turned me onto this neat Tumblr – Women Fighters in Reasonable Armour and I’m rather taken with it.  It collates examples of fantasy and SF artwork depicting female characters garbed in attire which is actually practical and appropriate to the ass kickery which they are engaged in.

I’ve blogged about this before in relation to my beloved “Resident Evil” and “Underworld” movie series – and I guess that there’s an tie-in with the current blockbuster “Avengers” movie – in which your strong, competent heroines are togged out in PVC/Leather catsuits or some derivation thereof.  I’ve found it a bit curious, to be honest, with all kinds of mixed messages suggesting themselves:  I love the (mostly) empowered heroines, I’m just not crazy about the ass-hugging camera angles frequently employed to depict them.

It’s that cross-over point between agency and objectification – which I’m sure as hell not smart enough to figure out by myself (there may be that undeniable masculine perspective which is also standing in the way of better understanding).  That said, I feel that the issue goes something like this – the phenomenon of ‘male gaze‘ is the problem in most depictions of otherwise strong female characters in genre entertainment.

Let’s say that two directors on a film both shoot variations on the same scene with a female warrior in an action scene.  The details of the scene are identical, but for the way that the female character is shot – one director frames the female character neutrally, allowing her to proceed through the sequence without the camera lingering on her body or focussing on anatomy in any particular way.  The other guy is Michael Bay.

Rosie Huntington-Whitely - also pictured, Michael Bay's explosive super-ID...

You can begin to see the problem if you took in a screening of the thirdTransformers film – in which Bay’s camera leered so constantly after star Rosie Huntington-Whitely‘s rear end that it was possible to conclude that the director missed his calling in life and might have sought more appropriate employment as a proctologist.

It’s possible to argue that Hollywood’s M.O. is to market around visuals and aesthetics, so can’t do anything but focus on eye candy and create narratives in which the visual shorthand is paramount (no pun intended), but there’s got to be a point in superhero narratives, fantasy fiction and sci-fi stories where common sense prevails and the heroines aren’t attired in costumes which make no fricking sense.

Jim C Hines - making my point about the 'male gaze' in hilarious fashion.

If Hollywood starts insisting that Jason Statham wear armour-plated Speedos as he kicks in henchmen’s teeth and that action heroes have to be dressed in as vulnerable a fashion as possible, I suppose that we might be said to have reached some kind of parity in the depiction of  the genders when every hot dude is being as exploited as much as every beautiful gal.  Over in the realm of fiction, writers have been engaging with the silly archetypes and imagery being used to market their novels – witness io9’s posts on fantasy writer Jim C. Hines, who has been writing a series of blog posts deconstructing some of the tactics used to market books to readers in a charming and self-effacing way.

Sensible armour, worn by a sensible young woman. Almost makes up for Bella in "Twilight" being such a drip, doesn't it?

There is hope, of course – forthcoming summer fantasy blockbuster “Snow White & The Huntsman” goes some way towards depicting a capable heroine who doesn’t have to wear a chain mail bikini to wield a sword and punch undead beasties in the ‘nards, the “Alien” prequel which isn’t, Ridley Scott‘s “Prometheus”, seems to wait a decent amount of time before finding a narrative reason for female lead Noomi Rapace to show up in her pants and even the catsuited heroine of “The Avengers”, Scarlett Johansson‘s Black Widow, might be wearing a catsuit but isn’t striking cheesecake poses, breaking a heel and waiting for her male compadre to save her.

Do these archetypes exist because we’ve established a taste for them as an audience or because we’ve been told that this depiction of heroes and heroines is what we want?

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Filed under Books, Films, Geekery

“Expendables 2” posters – It’s a milliner’s dream!

Toughness comes in many forms.  Some dudes like to present a visual image of intimidation and go the bulk-up route,  body-building their way to success.  Others follow the ‘quiet, inner strength’ formula and let the unspoken menace do the talking.  Others fight fire with fashion – “If you want to get ahead…”, as the saying goes, “…get a hat“.

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Yep, there’s a new bunch of character posters for the Stallone toplined, Simon West directed “Expendables 2”, which look unintentionally hilarious when viewed together.

How so?  Well, you’ve got Sly above. Looking appropriately grizzled and time-served, quite in keeping with the premise of the series.

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Nobody’s going to argue with Jason Statham bringing back his specific brand of cockney bad-assery to the franchise – nice facial expression, Jase, loving the grimace, very on-message.

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Dolph Lundgren – no argument from me.  Could he look any more 80’s action hero gone bad?

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Liam Hemsworth – one of these chaps is not like the others.

I’m assuming his casting (and puppy dog good looks) are a deliberate and plot-driven decision, as it’s hard to see the audience who fell in love with him in The Hunger Games being that motivated to check out a testosterone-driven action flick with a cast largely composed of blokes old enough to be their Dad.  I’ve been proven wrong before, mind you.

We’re still waiting for a decent trailer – apparently one was just shown behind closed doors to industry types attending this week’s CinemaCon in Las Vegas, and as these posters are now in the wild, it can’t be too long until we get to see what the mayhem looks like in motion.

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