Archives for posts with tag: Richard Wenk

Expendables 2

Those left craving another helping of the limp-fisted one-liners, geriatric jollies and follies and apeshit aviation stunts, the genocidal body counts, computer-generated gore, and wanton devastation of exotic locales served up by the first Expendables film will find more of the same in this second wholly superfluous jaunt from the old folks’ hangar. So much blood splatters with such fetishistic tedium during the too-slick opening raid sequence that soldiers appear to be erupting with so much crimson jizz on themselves. Should viewers really be surprised when the credits come up and attribute the script to somebody named Richard Wenk? The self-lover’s screenplay has Stallone’s ragtag team of mercenaries venturing into Eastern Europe to stop satanic jack-of-all-villainies Van Damme from getting a cache of old Soviet weapons-grade plutonium into the hands of “the wrong people” – Muslims, presumably – and avenging a fallen comrade in the process.

Unfortunately, with such a surfeit of 80s dynamite nostalgia – with Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, Dolph Lundgren, Chuck Norris, Jean-Claude Van Damme, and others all crammed into Expendables 2’s star-studded cast – the result is a textbook case of a whole being less than the sum of constituent parts. The saturation of superpower, with heavyweights like Schwarzenegger and Norris confined to a couple of cameos, has the effect of mutual neutralization bordering on trivialization for all of the A-list actors involved, so that each of the heroes appears diminished and relatively dimmed. New female teammate Yu Nan, meanwhile, adds nothing of worth to the Expendables formula.

In its defense, The Expendables 2 does feature a hair-raising last-minute takeoff, a passable time bomb countdown sequence, and a brutal blade-and-chain-wielding climactic confrontation between Van Damme and Stallone. Norris, more defiantly deadpan than ever, has the only genuine laugh in the movie when he tells a campy snake attack anecdote, while the gratuity of Willis and Schwarzenegger swapping famous catch phrases with each other during a firefight holds a gay but admittedly irresistible fascination for children of the 80s – as does the sight of oldster Arnie effortlessly ripping the door off a car instead of simply opening it like a regular wimp. The CGI action sequences lack the tactile macho magic of the old days, and the forced attempts at human interest are similarly artificial, but such gripes will hardly dissuade those who already know this is their kind of film.

3 out of 5 stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that The Expendables 2 is:

7. Anti-marriage. Jason Statham’s fiancée is a “half-cheat”.

6. Feminist. Unfeminine and consequently uninteresting Maggie (Yu Nan) is “combat-proficient”.

5. Pro-drug. Lundgren picturesquely drinks from a flask, while others opt for bottles of beer.

4. Pro-torture. “We’ll beat the truth out of ‘em,” Stallone says of a bar full of tough Slavic strangers, but surgical blades wielded with oriental prowess end up doing the job more efficiently.

3. Multiculturalist/pro-immigration. Stallone asks Maggie if she knows how to carve a turkey. In other words, all arrivals are welcome as long as they promise to ape the superficial rituals of Americanness.

2. Pro-miscegenation. Lundgren spends the movie slobbering over the homely Chinawoman, who, however (with an eye to Stallone), professes to “like Italian”. Even so, Lundgren would “really die for some Chinese.”

1. Neoconservative. As in Chernobyl Diaries, the Red Dawn remake, and the equally unworthy A Good Day to Die Hard, the Cold War’s weary specter is roused from its mothballs to put fear of the Russians back into American moviegoers. CIA operative Church (Bruce Willis) spooks in top-secret, mysterious ways, so better do what the gentleman tells you! Then, too, there is the omnipresent danger of weapons of mass destruction. Billy the Kid (Liam Hemsworth) is a veteran of Afghanistan who expresses regret that his comrades (and dog) are “dead for nothin’”; but such brief dissimulation of antiwar sentiment serves as little more than a proprietary fig leaf for the Blackwater-as-Superman agenda of a movie determined to teach little American boys how cool it is to go off raising Cain in foreign countries in order to save and police the benighted regions of the world. One almost suspects that any disapproval Expendables 2 evinces toward the interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan stems not so much from the insufficient warrant to go to war in the first place, but from the fact that America’s forces failed to splatter enough intestines loudly and brashly enough.

Rainer Chlodwig von Kook

Equalizer

Denzel Washington stars as the title character in The Equalizer – a superhuman bundle of Robin Hood, Barack Obama, Angus MacGyver, and Jason Voorhees rolled into a single American hero. Perhaps the most preposterous film in which Washington has yet appeared, The Equalizer concerns an ex-CIA spook who comes out of retirement to save filthy, greasy-lipped prostitute Chloe Moretz from the clutches of the oil-and-pimping syndicate run by ridiculously named Russian gangster “Vladimir Pushkin” (wink, wink), played by Vladimir Kulich.

Washington’s genius allows him to improvise endlessly inventive and cruel methods of dispatching his enemies, frequently by means of split-second calculus – cogitations conveyed cinematically by extreme close-ups of Washington’s all-seeing eyeball – and always directed at Caucasian men. The Equalizer is silly, offensive, inorganic, and way too long at a run time in excess of two hours, but those who suffer the full duration of its unending equality mandate will at least be treated to an awe-inspiring rap by Eminem.

3 out of 5 stars for the unintentional humor. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that The Equalizer is:

6. Pro-torture. Enhanced interrogation be da bomb.

5. Black supremacist, pro-immigration, and anti-white. The titular hero, living up to his name, disburses the villains’ ill-gotten gains among a group of Asian immigrants. Juxtaposed with the brilliant, polite, well-read, and fastidious Washington – an extraordinary specimen of Africanus cinematicus – white men appear as boorish ogres who mistreat women. Washington scolds a white co-worker for his foul language, and one scene even shows a white criminal in a hoodie robbing minorities at gunpoint. In still another scene, he literally uses a book to disable a Caucasian. “Change your world,” the Equalizer advises, a recommendation that screenwriter Richard Wenk seems to have taken to heart in depicting lifeforms on this planet.

4. Anti-police. Boston cops – white ones, of course – are on the take and extort protection money from minority businesses. In a lame reversal of the famous scene in Dirty Harry (1971), a black man points a gun at a white cop and calls him “punk”.

3. Anti-Russian and pro-war. As in all recent Hollywood output – The Heat (2013), Bullet to the Head (2012), and Pain and Gain (2013) being other examples – Slavic women are depicted as prostitutes. Moretz’s pimp, played by David Meunier, is even named “Slavi” so as to as to scream his ethnicity into the viewer’s ears in case the fact of his being a Russian was not already obvious.

Marton Csokas portrays Itchenko, the iciest and most bestial of the Russians – a character whose name suggests that he is subhuman (i.e., an “it”) as well as being a biological nuisance (an “itch”). Itchenko also has epaulette tattoos on his shoulders, a detail which implies that imperious militarism constitutes a physiologically inextricable aspect of the Russian subhuman’s being. Of “Pushkin”, it is said that “his money and political ties make him untouchable”, which can only suggest that he is somehow connected with Russian government officials – Putin himself, perhaps?

In one scene, an assembly of Russian mobsters refuses Washington’s offer of $9,000 in exchange for a hooker’s “freedom”. “You should have taken the money,” he taunts after murdering all of them. The significance of this confrontation, almost unrecognizably distorted in its filtering of geopolitical reality, is that Russia, by rejecting America’s globalist porno-economic order of capitalo-totalitarian usury, has invited its own extermination. At the film’s conclusion, Washington travels to Russia to assassinate “Pushkin” – and, like a proper slasher movie serial killer, confronts him while he is taking a shower.

2. Pro-N.W.O. CIA officials appear as tender and devoted nurturers. Clearly, the casting of Washington as the hero also carries an onomatological resonance.

1. Anti-Christian and Jewish supremacist. “I will have vengeance,” one hears muttered repeatedly during one of the songs featured on the Equalizer soundtrack. Indeed, it has been some time since this reviewer has seen a movie as viciously and mockingly anti-Christian as this one. Early on, The Equalizer associates and nearly equates Christianity with Russian brutality, with gangsters sporting crucifix tattoos and lounging around a bar with an Orthodox icon on the wall. When Washington intrudes and casually slaughters them, the icon is splattered with their blood.

An early scene that establishes Washington’s character and trajectory draws a parallel with the protagonist of Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea. On the surface, this refers to Washington’s being an older man of former achievement who rises from mediocrity to take on a massive challenge, or catch the big fish represented by “Vladimir Pushkin”. So blatant is The Equalizer’s hatred of Christianity, however, that the significance of the fish allegory is multiple. At the deeper level, Washington is the personification of Judaic vengeance, the golem, the butcher, and fisherman who has finally, triumphantly, reeled in Christendom. The script, at the moment of Washington’s summary of the novel, warrants quotation:

Old man tied the fish to the side of the boat, had to row back to shore. The fish bled in the water, sharks came, and ate the whole fish till there was nothing left. [. . .]  The old man met his greatest adversary when he thought that part of his life was over [. . .] Came to respect it the more it fought.

Asked why the fisherman refused to relinquish the fish, Washington replies that, “The old man’s gotta be the old man. Fish gotta be the fish.” The big fish is Christendom, its bleeding either the vivisection of Christ or the degradation and rot of the West by corrosive culture-disease. European man, in the allegory, is Jewry’s big trophy catch – and neither, if it is to be true to itself, can ever give up the struggle against the other’s all-or-nothing efforts.

In the climactic scene, the hissing and superficially civilized Itchenko is transfixed in a ritual sacrifice by Washington, whose sadistic choice of a nail gun to do the job is the key to understanding the movie’s subtext. Here, for America’s rooting enjoyment, is a thinly disguised Christ-snuff film framed as a thrilling adventure in which ZOG saves the world again from crypto-tsarist-fascist bigotry. For the cherry to top the cloying Jewishness of the whole tawdry abomination, in an earlier scene Washington even subjects Itchenko to psychoanalysis before committing a massive act of industrial terrorism to spite him.

Rainer Chlodwig von Kook

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