Expendables 3 vs. Sin City 2: Unnecessary Sequelpalooza
Just like when those two Scarlett Johansson sci-fi movies came out around the same time to confuse you, Hollywood has dumped two almost completely unneccessary sequels on our lap in the same month: Sin City 2 and Expendables 3. So I thought I’d help you guys out with another FAQ to better understand what you’re looking for before you (probably don’t) go see either of these movies.
Obvious first question: Do you see Scarlett Johansson’s boobs?
No, she’s not even in these movies, you perverted lowlife.
Well, do you see *any* boobs?
UH, SCHYEAH. Sin City 2 is LOADED with them.
What’s the premise of these movies?
Well, Expendables 3 is about the characters from Expendables 1 & 2 going on some more missions and stuff. And Sin City 2 is about several of the characters from Sin City 1 doing more Sin City things (shooting people in the crotch, showing bewbz, talking in an ever-grating barrage of gritty film noir speak).
Why didn’t these go straight-to-DVD?
I don’t know.
How do the first movies in the series hold up nowadays?
I was actually a big fan of the first Sin City when it came out. Mind you, I was a 21-year-old college student, and that’s kind of who it appealed to. I’ve tried watching it again earlier this year, and it didn’t hold up very well. It’s almost like when you see a picture of yourself from high school, and you get embarrassed of your clothes/haircut; when I rewatched Sin City again I thought to myself “Ehhhh, I can’t believe I really enjoyed something as stupid and one note as this…” As for Expendables… If you put a skull-and-crossbones decorated grenade launcher to my head and asked me to describe more than one scene from the first one, I’d have my brains splattered all over the wall. However, I enjoyed the second one a lot more, and can actually remember things about it. Mostly the Jean Claude Van Damme things about it. Still not enough good memories to make me watch it a second time, though.
What are these movies rated, and why should I care?
Expendables 3 is rated PG-13, and that means you won’t see very much blood. Don’t get me wrong, you’ll see people dying about every 17.3 seconds, but they just sort of get shot and fall down. Violence has no influence on ratings anymore, as long as you don’t implicitly show Jean Claude Van Damme roundhouse kicking a knife into a dude’s heart with blood squirting everywhere. But yeah, all the children in the theater (and there were a lot in there for some reason…) saw tons of people getting mowed down with guns. Sin City 2 is rated R, and it shows. It’s full of black-and-white, heavily filtered boobies and lots of squirting (sometimes white) blood. Eva Green is naked for about 70% of her screen time, and at least four times the amount of crotches get destroyed and/or talked about getting destroyed as the first one had.
A lot of people talk about the casts of these movies. How are the casts?
The casting directors for these movies almost did more work than the actual directors. You can tell this by how the marketing campaign for both films mostly consisted of just listing people’s names. There was more buzz around seeing people’s names in text than for the actual content. And to be fair, the casts are pretty impressive. Expendables added onto its list of burnt out action stars with Harrison Ford, (an extended performance from) Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mel Gibson, Kelsey Grammar, Antonio Banderas, and a few young people you may or may not care about (you probably won’t). Sin City 2 had a bunch of the previously returning cast (even if they died in the first one [the Sin City comics always had a weird timeline]), and added a few big namers as well; such as Josh Brolin, Joseph Gordon Levitt, Eva Green, and Eva Green’s boobs (who have appeared in so many movies now that I assume they have their own agent).
Are any of these people kiiiiiiiiiind of “above” being in these throwaway movies?
Harrison Ford, Josh Brolin, Joseph Gordon Levitt, Bruce Willis (maybe), Christopher Lloyd, Eva Green.
But how many of these people kind of totally "belong" in these projects?
Sly Stallone, Dolph Lundgren, Wesley Snipes, Jason Statham, Kellan Lutz, Antonio Banderas, Lady Gaga, Mickey Rourke, Jeremy Piven, Rosario Dawson, Ray Liotta, Eva Green’s boobs.
Who do you WISH were in these movies?
Hulk Hogan and Tim Allen. In either project.
But who was really bad at acting and no place being in either movie?
Jessica Alba, of course, and probably Ronda Rousey. Not that Rousey didn’t have enthusiasm or throw a good punch, but when they fed her lines, it was kind of brutal. Oh, and this was probably the best performance ever out of Jamie Chung (known indicator of a bad film), because she played someone in Sin City 2 who didn’t have any lines of dialogue and only had to make a flat, emotionless face (her specialty) to stay in character. But she still managed to be not that great anyway.
How was the action, considering they are both action films?
Both movies had mostly consequence-free action, where even though the meager amount of good guys are up against dozens (hundreds sometimes) of bad guys, they usually end up winning without any casualties. It’s the kind of action where you can mentally check out during most of the wide and medium shots, then regain focus when someone starts talking and not really miss much. You start to go numb to the sound of bullets.
How is the cinematography?
Sin City’s trademark high-contrast black and white with splashes of color is still there, though it’s much less impressive than it was nine years ago. You can’t really do a gimmick that obvious twice, nine years apart, and expect to have good results. The Expendables 3, much like the first two, looks like the colorist accidentally hit “Select – ALL” when he was applying that filter that makes the shot look really grey.
Which movie is dumber?
Whoa, that’s a tough question… I mean, The Expendables 3 is basically just about bros smashing their way into places and killing everyone for the government (maybe? do they work for the government?). The best message I got out of the film was to get the same matching tattoo as your friends to show comradery. Maybe also a “respect your elders YET acknowledge youth” message too. Sin City is just machismo hyper-violence laced with sometimes clever wordplay. But still, it’s mostly clever wordplay about women being whores and men getting drunk and punching things. Hmmmmmmm… I think I’ll give the dumb edge to Expendables 3, though, because they kept playing stock Spanish guitar music every time Antonio Banderas was doing a bit.
Did anything surprise you, like in a good way?
I was kind of shocked at how much I enjoyed watching Wesley Snipes in something again. Then again, I’m kind of a die hard Demolition Man fan. Also, I was happy that Chuck Norris wasn’t in it. Nothing much really surprised me in Sin City 2.
What happens when you combine the two film titles?
Who phones in their performance more, Harrison Ford in Expendables 3, or Bruce Willis in Sin City 2?
Just to make this perfectly clear, they BOTH gave epically phoned in performances. However, Harrison Ford at least managed to squeeze out a couple smiles on his face; that probably cost extra. Bruce Willis, though, wow! That was a phone in performance for the ages! He gave the perfect “Yeah, I’ll be in your stupid movie again as long as the filming is over before lunch” acting job that should, if the world was just, earn him some kind of Laziness Award by the end of the year. He could barely even lift his head up!
These are clearly both cheap cash-grab kind of movies, what were the cheapest things about them?
Well, the Bruce Willis thing is kind of cheap. I mean, he plays a ghost of his dead character from the first film for about two minutes of screen time, which is apparently enough to include him as a “major character” on the posters and in all the commercials. Also, the movie looked like cheap, shot-on-video garbage. As for Expendables, there’s lots of cheap one liners that wear thin. The first time Arnold yells “Look out for the CHOPPAH!” I smiled, and thought “Ha! Funny reference!” Then a few minutes later he says “Let’s all get to the CHOPPAH!” And I thought “Wait, didn’t they already do that joke…?” Then a few minutes later when he once again says “OK, get into the CHOPPAH!” I just frowned at the screen and scrunched my nose as if the movie had somehow just magically farted right in my face. Also, I didn’t pay money to see The Expendables 3 just to watch Kellan Lutz do motorcycle stunts. I don’t want to see him do anything.
Are either of these movies particularly flattering to women?
I want to say no, but I guess you could make a case that Ronda Rousey is a strong female character or something? But she’s constantly saying lines like “(sigh) (eye roll) MEN…!” and it cheapens the whole thing. And Sin City 2 is just about the last movie a feminist would ever step foot in. And even if you’re just a middle-aged lady hoping to see Josh Brolin’s package, good luck with that! For all the boobs and lady butt shots in Sin City 2, they appeared to digitally remove the one instance when we would have seen a dude "hanging out". DOUBLE STANDARD MUCH?
Were they too long? The movie durations I mean, not the digitally removed crotches.
Did they at least go out with a bang?
Well, Robert Rodriguez chose to make the final agonizing segment of Sin City 2 the one that relied almost solely on Jessica Alba’s acting talent; so that was another huge mistake from the hack director. Expect some Razzies coming her way in a few months. And if you consider a five-minute scene of the Expendables laughing with each other at a bar for no reason to be a great ending to a trilogy, then well, I guess you like terrible things.
Which one bombed worse at the box office?
Expendables 3 bombed pretty bad, only getting $16 million its first weekend (and $27 million total for two weeks). But that looks amazing compared to Sin City 2’s almost mind-blowingly low $6 million it pulled on opening weekend. Considering Sin City 2 cost $70 million to make, and Expendables 3 $90 million; I sure hope there’s a couple coked up movie producers somewhere getting fired. HOPEFULLY.
So, maybe, they shouldn’t have made these movies no one really asked for?
I’m sure *someone* asked for Expendables 3, and I’m sure *someone* really enjoyed it as well. I guess I don’t hate that it was made, but I don’t think it should have been built up as such an event film. And that goes double for Sin City 2. Had that been released in 2006, it might have been a surefire hit. But Robert Rodriguez wanted to make children's films and somehow magically retain what little amount of credibility he earned in the early 2000’s. Maybe, MAYBE, they should have made a sequel to Sin City; but certainly not in 2014.
Would you recommend these movies, and what scores would you give them?
As bad as they were, neither were incredibly boring. Which just makes them kind of run-of-the-mill mediocre. I definitely would not recommend either of the movies, but I didn’t hate them with every inch of my being. I’d give The Expendables 3 a 6 out of 10, and Sin City: A Dame to Kill For a 5 out of 10. But you can do whatever you want, pal. Go see them if you feel like it. Whatever. Do what you want with your own money.
You seem kind of upset, buddy… (rubs back) Are you ok?
Yeah… I’m fine… I’m just a little tired I guess…
Would you like a nap?
That would be great actually, thank you.
I just returned from RedBox where I half expected to see both of these movie already available.
I'll give it until Labor Day.
Scott - this is an excellent way to write a review of two similar movies. Your writing is sharp, witty and well conceived. Have you considered screen writing?
Thanks for the kind words, Mike, I appreciate that! I *have* tried my hand at screenwriting a while back, but I didn't get too far in before I got distracted and ultimately abandoned things. I actually have a couple decent (I think) ideas that I started and may pick up again one day. I think I also remember that I lost the screenwriting program I was using with my old computer. But now I have that program that comes with Adobe Cloud that I haven't opened yet!
Time, and a busy freelance editing schedule, combined with the fact I spend a lot of my free time going to movies, watching TV, and playing video games is why my name has never even come close to being on the bottom of a movie poster with Rowan Atkinson and Martin Lawrence playing buddy cops.
But I have loved writing reviews here at the COW, though! It keeps my writing sharp for when I potentially do decide to pick it up again for potential monetary gain (but probably little to no monetary gain [realistic])
I agree, I love the review writing style. It is very entertaining. I'll even read your reviews if I have no interest in seeing the film because they make me laugh.
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