REVIEW: The Expendables 3

Photo: Lionsgate

Photo: Lionsgate

Chris Luckett

When Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez made their B-movie homage Grindhouse in 2007, it was bad, just like the real, schlocky grindhouse flicks of the ‘70s. The lesson was that if skilled filmmakers do a tribute to something that was bad to begin with, the result will simply be a well-made, bad movie.

Sylvester Stallone, writer and star of The Expendables series, has consciously made movies that recapture the bombastic nonsense of ‘80s action flicks like Cobra, Commando, and Missing in Action. With each one, he’s done a better job. That also means that each has been a worse movie, and indeed, The Expendables 3 is the worst yet. Continue reading

REVIEW: Transformers: Age of Extinction

Photo: Paramount Pictures

Photo: Paramount Pictures

Chris Luckett

One of the dumbest arguments for excusing stupidity in a movie is, “Well, that’s the way it was in the book/cartoon/ride/video game/toy’s backstory.” Just because a ridiculous plot point or character was accepted without scrutiny in another medium doesn’t mean it should gets a free pass in its movie form.

If anything, a movie adapted from a silly product should work extra hard to make itself believable, freestanding, and not above scrutiny. Clue, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, and The LEGO Movie all succeeded despite their simplistic origins. Battleship, The Haunted Mansion, and the Transformers series, on the other hand, didn’t. In fact, the Transformers movies, made by the much-maligned Michael Bay, may be the worst of the offenders. Continue reading