This has been a really slow news week in terms of anything major developing, so finally there is some decent casting news to pass along today. The upcoming Tony Scott (Taking of Pelham 123) directed film Potsdamer Platz will see several stars join the cast for the film. Mickey Rourke (Iron Man 2), Jason Statham (Crank), Christopher Walken (Scott’s True Romance), and Javier Bardem (Vicky Cristina Barcelona) are all on board, so says The Playlist. The film is about:
…a drama about two soldiers in a New Jersey-based crime family who try to expand internationally. The title is a placeholder for now, as it will change to match the location shift from Germany to Puerto Rico. The film is based on an the original script by Buddy Giovinazzo (“Life Is Hot In Cracktown”) that has been re-written by the “Sexy Beast” team of David Scinto and Louis Mellis.
Potsdamer Platz, if indeed the title changes, is actually a busy trade center in Germany where a train station resides. Sounds kinda like Scott’s last film, especially if there is a hi-jacking. But should we expect anything else really? Scott has made a career out of middling actioners and with this cast being assembled, the expectations might be slightly higher, but essentially the same. Let me know if you think this could be a worthwhile endeavor based on this info. I’ll provide more on the project as it comes in.
Here is a video promo / trailer of sorts (some internet heads are claiming legit trailer, though I suspect it simply cannot be) for Sylvester Stallone’s upcoming actioner The Expendables. The video plays out in trailer-like fashion but is in many ways a jumbled mess of ass-kicking action, cheesy dialogue, and explosions. This sounds right about par for the course of what we expect to see come next year from this film. It is a good compliment to this behind the scenes video for the movie.
The cast includes a bevy of action movie “has beens” and “still ares” (TM) in Sly himself, Jet Li, Jason Statham, Mickey Rourke, Dolph Lundgren, Terry Crews, etc. There are no glimpses of Arnold (who has an expected cameo) or Bruce Willis (ditto), and its sad that there will not be a Steven Seagal sighting in the pic. That is just a swing and a miss there, but I believe they tried. If nothing else, the video shows a firm glimpse of what the internet has anticipated as a general good time at the theater next year. Enjoy the mayhem.
In a rumor that was preordained upon initially hearing about Sylvester Stallone’s planned movie The Expendables, it is being confirmed by MTV that Bruce Willis is going to have a small role in the movie. The news is not entirely shocking, though personally, I think Willis should be “above” such a project – to some extent. His part will ultimately result in mostly a cameo in all likelihood as he says:
“I haven’t united with them,” he said. “I’m waiting for a call from Sly about when we’re going to try and make that happen. I don’t know anything about [my character] yet, haven’t seen any pages yet, but I’m excited about it.”
Now, I guess since he pretty much reinvented the action genre with Die Hard (at least he starred in the movie credited with reinventing the action genre), it makes sense on some levels that he would be in the film. I have always liked Willis, way back before he ever did Die Hard. He was on a sitcom called “Moonlighting” and he was charismatic and charming (a different version of “Cheers” star Ted Danson’s Sam “Mayday” Malone, the best TV sitcom character of all-time in my book.) While I say he is “above” it – in reference to the film, I mean it in the sense that a guy like Stallone is honestly, a has been, and his recruitment of other action stars like Jason Statham and Jet Li, prove he needs more modern, bankable names to make the film work. Sorry, but Dolph Lundgren and Randy Couture don’t count. That’s not to dis Stallone, I like the guy, I grew up with the guy, Rambo, Cliffhanger (a sequel?), and of course Rocky are classics.
In the end, I like the move. It’s another feather in the cap of what could be a truly fun-filled time at the theater, where you attend only hoping to see some smash-bang action and watch some of your boyhood action stars (in my case, anyway), take a trip down memory lane to some extent. I hope the film does well from that standpoint and the addition of Willis helps make this more attractive to me. Agree? (mainpage image courtesy of Screenrant)
Jason Statham apparently is undeterred by the failure of his last film Crank 2 aka Crank: High Voltage at the box office, as he will be continuing to further his action career in the British film Killer Elite. “Elite” will have the Audi V12 driver (how do I know? I saw him gassing it up on Olympic) a retired Navy Seal who is forced out of retirement to save his closest friend when assassins hunt current Special Forces members. Sounds vaguely like the type of character that Liam Neeson played in Taken, no? [Read Junk] is among those who are on board for the ride, whereas I can only hope that JS has a bit more of a story to deal with than just slam, bang, kick, punch, repeat.
I have long maintained that Statham can act when given the opportunity, as in Snatch, LS&2SB, and The Bank Job, but he seems to have pigeonholed his career into that of an action hero. At least in concept, this seems like it has the potential for a more realistic, or at least involving, storyline so we will see how it turns out. Maybe there will be a decently high-profile friend on board, say a Jason Bateman or something, I don’t know, maybe I am reaching here. I want Statham to achieve more as an actor, so I stay in his corner, but can only do so for so much longer. What about you, have you long since given up on the man? Do tell.
One of THE most anticipated films of the year is the Viggo Mortensen post-apocalyptic film, The Road. Of course it was one of the most anticipated last year, too, until it was delayed for further awards consideration. Only a few stills have been released so far. No poster and no trailer yet. [Boing Boing] linked to some style frames done for the film. They’re kind of like rough concept art. If this is what we need to get some Road action, so be it. It’s slated for released in October, according to IMDb.
David O. Russell’s name has been mentioned a lot lately, attached to various projects, but his latest is The Fighter, about Irish boxer Mickey Ward. It’s taken forever to get this project off the ground, so we’ll see if this version will happen. Mark Walhberg is set to play Ward, and guess who’s set to play Ward’s trainer? That would be Christian Bale. I look forward to the inevitable Russell/Bale stand-off on-set. Here’s what they did as individuals. Should be epic. [Film Drunk]
Zack Snyder has continued to suffer fallout from Watchmen‘s box office underperformance. His next film, Sucker Punch, has lost three key women all due to scheduling conflicts. Out are Amanda Seyfried, Evan Rachel Wood and Emma Stone. In are Emily Browning, Jamie Chung and Jena Malone. [Obsessed With Film]
Jason Statham is set to fill the shoes of Charles Bronson for director Simon West in the remake of The Mechanic. I’d imagine more than cars get fixed. [We Are Film Geeks]
Wanted creator Mark Millar decided to pipe up against the uproar of Evan Spiliotopoulos (writer of The Lion King 1 1/2) being tapped to write Wanted 2. He says Spiliotpoulos wrote an unproduced action-oriented spec script and that’s what won him the job. Take that. [Fused Film]
[Cinema Blend] tells us Marlon Wayans is set to star in The Year of Living Biblically about a man who attempts to live his life with a strict adherence to the “Bible” for a year. As Ned Flanders would say, “Even the stuff that contradicts the other stuff.” Sounds like a high concept project hopefully better than any Wayans brother comedy.
Finally, today we leave you with [Cinematical]’s speculation of the chance of Harley Quinn appearing in the next Batman film. It’s not much evidence at all, but the speculation is there. Why not fuel the fire that’s died down a lot since last summer?
Jason Statham has seemingly taken the action hero torch from Schwarzenegger, Stallone, Van Damme and Segal and has found his niche in the genre. Statham has followed the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” line of thinking when it comes to his now typecast roles (sad to say) in action films. Films such as TheTransporter series, The Bank Job, The Italian Job, Death Race, War, In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale and Crank have either been wildly entertaining or utter crap. Crank would be in the latter category. Crank: High Voltage will probably not be much of an improvement.
Crank it up
Refresher course for the first Crank (spoilers, if you care): Statham is Chev Chelios, a professional hit man who just fell to earth (literally) from a helicopter. Before his climatic fall, Chelios is injected with a lethal drug called the “Beijing Cocktail.” The drug’s effect could stop his heart and kill him. To prevent this, he has to keep his adrenaline up just enough to stay alive. Chelios goes through every solution possible (absurd as it may sound) to keep his heart going, like taking cocaine, Epinephrine (a drug used to increase adrenaline), having sex with his girlfriend and drinking loads of caffeine. While loading himself up with stimulants, he goes after gangster Verona (Jose Pablo Cantillo), who was responsible for injecting the drug. Eventually, a fight ensues on a helicopter where Chelios needs to get the antidote to counteract the drug. He fails, and both Verona and Chelios fall. Chelios kills Verona in mid-air and falls to the ground. Then, BOOM, you get Crank: High Voltage.
Just mere moments after falling on the concrete, a group of people pick him up and whisk him away (absurd as this sounds). The group is made up of Chinese medics who want to rob him of his vital organs, including his heart. After successfully removing his heart, they install an electronic provisional replacement. Chelios wakes and kills the medics, but not before the Chinese gang steals his most valuable muscle. He finds out his artificial heart must receive a jolt of energy in order to keep him alive. He must follow the gang in order to retrieve his real heart and have it transplanted back to stay alive. Amy Smart returns as Chelios’ girlfriend, Eve. Efren Ramirez also returns as Venus (although he’s called Kaylo in Crank), as well as Dwight Yoakam as Doc Miles. If anyone is a Linkin Park fan, vocalist Chester Bennington will also make another appearance.
Which is the most offensive? The tattoos or the watch over the shirt sleeve?
The movie looks and sounds (for the third time), utterly absurd, but that’s the frenetic visual style and pace directors/writers Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor have set out to create. Not only is this on full display in the trailer, but even the poster gets in on the hyper-active action. It has an image of Statham with a jumper cable attached to his mouth and the other to his right nipple, which would allow him to receive a “High Voltage” shock of energy for his heart. This will definitely appeal to mass audiences looking for a shoot ‘em up action movie and the frantic action is something completely unique. It’s only hope to raise it above its predecessor, though, is if it’s traced the path of the Scarecrow and found a brain.
A couple of casting rumors, while another actor turns down a job. You’ll never guess who. Seriously. It’s bewildering.
From China.org (everybody’s favorite film news site) via FilmSchoolRejects.com lies the tidbit of Anne Hathaway possibly getting together with Jack Black, for the next Stephen Chow (CJ7) film. You might remember Chow dropping out of the director’s chair on The Green Hornet and this is presumably the reason why. He is currently the writing the script for what is apparently a special-effects-ridden, superhero, action-comedy. No other tidbits have been revealed, aside from the aforementioned Black and Hathaway as possible stars, along with Chow himself.
The same person?
The last action-comedy Hathaway was involved in was last summer’s Get Smart. It was mostly unfunny and very forgettable. It did, however, wake me up to Hathaway’s beauty, and that’s certainly commendable. I wouldn’t put the onus on her for the film’s failings. I assume Chow saw something in her that made him think she’d work here. I’m definitely curious to see how this shapes up. Here’s the trailer for Get Smart in order to relive some past glory:
Courtesy of The Telegraph is the news Cate Blanchett has been mentioned as possibly filling the shoes left by Sienna Miller as Maid Marion for Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood film, Nottingham. Russell Crowe is set to play the dual role of Robin Hood/Sheriff Nottingham in the film. Actor, Mark Strong (studly in RockNrolla), playing Guy of Gisbourne, talked about the chances:
“I think Cate Blanchett is set to take the Maid Marian part. She is a wonderful actress and it would make it a much classier film if she was in it.”
That assessment is probably correct. Certainly classier than Sienna Miller, but I guess you’d have to combat the antics of Russell Crowe, too. Although I haven’t seen Scott’s past two teamings with Crowe (Body of Lies and A Good Year), I’m somewhat down with this movie. I haven’t been Blanchett’s greatest fan due to the costume dramas, but I don’t diss her either. I’m still on board with this.
To this day, this is what I think about with I hear the name Robin Hood:
Lastly, from TotalFilm comes an excerpt from an interview with Jean-Claude Van Damme about why he turned down a role in Sylvester Stallone’s old-school action-star throwback project, The Expendables.
“Stallone gave me a part in his next movie,” he told us. “But I ask him about the subject, about the story.”
“He said, ‘You’re gonna make lots of money.’ I don’t want to hear that, I want to hear what was my character. He was unable to tell what it’s going to be.”
“[Stallone said:] ‘You know, uh, well, the fighting will be good.’ [So I said:] ‘Sly, what is my character?’ So I didn’t do the movie.”
So, he’s a serious actor now? Perhaps all the positive buzz from JCVD has gone to his head. I do like Stallone’s idea of this reunion of all these 80’s action stars for one last go-round, combining them with the stars of today, kind of passing the proverbial torch to them. It’s far better than the incessant remaking of the entire 80’s film catalogue.
As of now the action cast stands at: Stallone, Mickey Rourke, Dolph Lundgren, Jet Li and Jason Statham. Steven Seagal and Arnold Schwarzenegger somehow need to free themselves up for this.
Although most others would probably prefer Bloodsport, the combination of hockey and action film was my Van Damme haven. Gotta love it when he skates out and tends goal! Here’s a clip from Sudden Death: