The Expendables, The Other Guys & Piranha 3D give new meaning to the word bad, but one is actually good

We've come a long way this summer, with nothing but disappointment after disappointment. There was a barrage of terrible sequels (Iron Man 2, Shrek 4 & Predators), not needed remakes (Robin Hood, A- Team & Karate Kid) & unfunny comedies (Grown Ups & Get Him To The Greek) that paved the way for what might just be the worst summer movie season I've ever experienced. Hell, the best (along with Inception) & most entertaining movie to come out of the Hollywood studio system was an animated film about toys (Toy Story 3). And what to make of Inception? with its multi layered plotting and complex storytelling, Nolan's film is flawed, low on character development & frustratingly complicated yet no movie aimed higher or had more creative guts.

You had to go through the Independent film circuit to truly find diamonds in the ruff. I'm thinking of Debra Granik's Winter's Bone & Lisa Cholodenko's The Kids Are Alright with Annette Benning & Julliane Moore stamping their names on top of the Best Actress Oscar race. With no more than 2 weeks left before the Fall Movie Season rolls out, a few films are coming out to top the horrible taste others have left in our mouths. The dogs are not gone and still rolling out to take hard earned money out of your pockets. One is a comedy, one is an action flick & the other is -err- a horror movie. All three fail -what a surprise- but one is so bad it ends up being good.

The Expendables (R) ★

Unlike others, I had some hopes this would turn out to be gritty entertainment. How naive and ambitious of me to think in such ways. The Expendables deserves its place on the long and unstoppable list of the worst Hollywood movies of the year. Let's start with the script which has every 1980s action flick cliche imaginable. The dialogue is so wooden that I wouldn't be surprised if a 5 year old action junkie helped out Sly Stallone in the creative process. It would have been much better if the film didn't take itself -and its plot involving mercenaries trying to kick ass in some Latin American country- so seriously and relied cheesy aesthetics (read Piranha 3d below). There is no shortage of actors. Jet Li, Sly Stallone, Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren & Mickey Rourke. All are stranded in thin air by sloppy direction (by Stallone) & poor plotting. There are also useless cameos by Arnold Schwarznegger & Bruce Willis, who take their roles way too seriously & have around 2 minutes of screen time each.

Let us now forget about how The Expendables is expendable crass entertainment & focus on the real reason we were even here in the first place. We knew there would be no plot but we had expectations the action would live up the billed stars names & churn out something awesome. How far wrong were we? way off the mark. The action is well filmed and watchable but there's something missing in it, the same way there was something missing in a lot of this year's summer blockbusters; A beating heart & something worth fighting for. The Expendables seems to have none of that and instead resorts to the same old, same old + add a sequel begging ending and you got the perfect example of how a cash cow with no artistic integrity can come about. Nice try Sly but no Cigar. Next please.

The Other Guys (PG-13) ★½

Will Ferrell has already been talked about in this blog, so I'll be short and sweet talkin about his latest comic endeavour. It's a letdown. Sure there are some jokes that hit the target but we have the right to expect more from this supposed king of comedy. Here he teams up with Mark Whalberg, they play police partners trying to solve greedy scammers of Wall Street . Just like the Expendables, the plot is almost non existent (What's the deal Hollywood?) & the real attraction is its stars. Ferrell -coming off last year's stinker Land Of The Lost- tries his damn near best to entertain us and at times it succeeds but there's a sense of deja vu and been there done that lingers all around The Other Guys. At his best (Old School & Wedding Crashers) Ferrell pushes the envelope and rubs his laughs with rebellious darts but at his worst (Land Of The Lost & Semi Pro) he tends to try and hide a screenplay failure with a sense of rehashed jokes. The Other Guys falls in the middle of these two categories and does not nothing to advance an already successful career.

Piranha 3D (R) ★★★

This movie stinks so bad it's good. The absurdity and irrelevance it brings to the table is astounding & the acting is nothing short of terrible. Yet, I was entertained by its stupidity. How could I not be? Piranhas reeking havoc on the most annoying of college students, killing them in such creative and absurd ways, I sat there shocked with my jaw dropped wide open. Piranhas 3D has the chance of becoming a B-movie classic in the very same way The Rocky Horror Picture Show has evolved over the last 30 years. I'm quite shocked this movie only got an R rating, considering what happens during its 90 minute running time. There's full frontal nudity, lesbian action, creative fish eating kills, Blood everywhere, horribly bad acting, a dismembered penis, vaginas, tits, bad CGI special effects & a death count that can rival any gangster film times 100.

This isn't a film with suspense, it's a film with gross outs that takes pride in its cheap, gory thrills. Plot, acting and dialogue are replaced by horrific but goofy visuals that cannot help but shock the most primitive of viewers. Director Alejandre Aja has always relied on shock to make a point -he did These Hills Have Eyes & Haute Tension. This is the perfect vehicle for him, he doesn't have the flair, timing or patience to build his stories around character and instead resorts to graphic violence as a backup. There isn't an inch of smarts in Piranha 3D but what it lacks in brains it compensates with sheer horrid entertainment value. This isn't a film that its producers should be proud of but it is a film its audience can sink their teeth into. It's trash with class.