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Double D’s Double Feature: Scott Pilgrim and The Expendables Reviews

Hey people of the movie-verse, how’s it hanging? David “Double D” Denis here and I’m gonna be bringing you two reviews this week since I went to see two movies at the cinema this past weekend. Of course I had to see both of these movies because I was psyched out of my mind for each for different reasons. I am talking of course about Universal’s big-budget Canadian comic book adaptation Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World and the adrenaline-fuelled Sly Stallone vehicle The Expendables. So, I decided to talk very briefly about both for your amusement and betterment, because hey, that’s what I’m here for! 😀

OK, so let’s start with Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World. I was unbelievably pumped for this film. Why wouldn’t I be? I live in Canada. I’ve been to Toronto a million times though I’ve never lived there and I read all the graphic novels prior to seeing the movie. I also played the video game, listened to the album and watched the teaser, the trailer, the international trailer, all the TV Spots, the interactive trailer and even got excited when a poster was revealed. Scott Pilgrim was something for guys like me, awkward gamers who also liked independent music and action movies. The audience for this film was me and I was psyched for it beyond belief. Then the axe fell and this movie became one of the biggest box office bombs of the summer. I quickly discovered that the audience I was a part of must be a small one, because the same thing happened to Kick-Ass, another movie targeted at my generation. It makes me wonder if anyone’s going to keep making movies for 20-somethings anymore if we stop supporting them. It’s a shame and I’m surprised this film bombed, mostly because it didn’t deserve to, because it’s a fantastic film.

Now saying that this film is fantastic doesn’t mean it’s not without problems. It’s a movie that attempts to condense six books of info into one film. That would be like if they tried to make three Harry Potter films instead of eight. A lot gets lost in translation and fans may be upset to find that their favourite moments have been taken out or altered to cut down on what would have been a three-hour long movie if everything was included. The character that suffers the most from this transition unfortunately is the main love-interest and femme-fatale Ramona Flowers, played by the gorgeous Mary Elizabeth Winstead, who you may remember as John McLane’s Daughter Lucy in Live Free or Die Hard. Ramona gets pushed aside to being mysteriously side-lined for most of the movie, which is unfortunate. Another unfortunate issue is that condensing all 7 evil ex fights into a single movie means the film feels like it’s moving very quickly from fight to fight at times with little room to breathe in between. Edgar Wright does as good a job as he can of condensing Brian Lee O’Malley’s masterwork into a single film though, balancing subplots around the main plot without making it ever feel to clunky, but by the time you get to the last few fights you might be asking yourself when all this fighting is going to end.

These are all just little quips for a movie that never failed to entertain me however and despite a plot that seems a bit rushed at times the film never feels like it’s just going through the motions. Wright definitely cared about the source material just as much as any fan and puts his own unique spin on things that is never boring or unfunny. This film is a witty, intelligent and entertaining roller coaster ride of pop-culture references and epic battle-scenes. It’s everything a summer blockbuster should be with everything from a CGI monster fight to a Seinfeld scene complete with laugh-track. Wright pulls out all the stops on this one and his lack of restraint works out perfectly as the video-game-esque world of Mr. Pilgrim translates just as intelligibly to film as it once did to comics.

Now let’s talk about the big pink elephant in the room, Michael Cera. Everyone seems to hate this guy, finding his awkward sad-sack persona tiresome, but I have to say I can’t really imagine anyone else playing Scott. Cera delivers the performance with just enough wit and pathos to make you really like this guy despite how much of an idiot he often is. Actually, if anything Cera made Pilgrim too likable. It’s almost hard to get mad at this guy when he’s being such a jerk sometimes. He really does pull it off though and I’m glad he was cast, even if a lot of people I know can’t stand the guy for whatever reason. I do find Cera gets type-casted sometimes, but he’s a more capable actor than most people give him credit for. The rest of the cast pulls their weight here as well, especially Allison Pill, who plays the sarcastic dry-witted drummer in Scott’s band Kim Pine and Kieran Culkan as Wallace Wells, Scott’s gay roommate. I seriously cannot imagine anyone else playing these roles so perfectly. Kieran delivers all of his lines so dead-on I was shocked I haven’t seen this guy in more stuff. Wright did a great job of getting the right people for the job. Even people I had my doubts about do a great job here. I hope I see Johnny Simmons and Mark Webber in more stuff after this too. I had never heard of either of these guys before this film. They play Young Neil and Stephen Stills respectively and do so to near perfection.

Anyways, for the unfortunate few who haven’t read the graphic novels and don’t know much about the films plot, (you really should go out and read them since they’re awesome) Scott Pilgrim is a pretty simple concept really. Basically Scott Pilgrim is a 22 year old unemployed loser who finds the girl of his dreams in the form of the mysterious Ramona Flowers and now must defeat her seven evil exes Mortal Kombat style in order to win her heart. It’s probably the most interesting metaphor anyone could ever use for a young couple trying to deal with each other’s baggage. On top of that Scott has to deal with trying to break it off with his current girlfriend, Chinese high-schooler Knives Chau and compete with his band Sex Bob-omb in a Toronto Battle of the Bands that lands the band a spot opening for a famous group called The Clash at Demonhead that happen to include Scott’s ex-sweetheart as well as the third of Ramona Flower’s seven evil exes.

Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World is a film with a different surprise around every corner and just when you thought Edgar Wright has run out of interesting situations and sight gags in his bag of tricks he surprises you with another fantastic joke or fight scene or both. A lot of the humour is unexpected, in-your-face and of course hilarious. Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World is not to be missed. Even if you’re not an Edgar Wright fan or a Michael Cera fan, I challenge you to give this film a whirl. I think you might be pleasantly surprised by how much fun you’ll have.

I give Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World a 4/5

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Next up we’ve got The Expendables. I was psyched about this movie for entirely different reasons than I was for Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World. The main reason being that I love classic 80’s and 90’s action movies just as much as the next guy and when I found out that Sylvester Stallone was compiling a dream team of action veterans like Dolph Lundgren, Bruce Willis, Jet Li, Jason Statham, Mickey Rourke and even Arnold Schwarzenegger to get together and make a fast-paced 80’s style action movie about a group of mercenaries I was like, “Yes! Finally my dreams are becoming real!” Of course I still don’t have a hot Asian girlfriend, so not all of my dreams have come true, but I’ll take what I can get.

The Expendables more or less delivers on its promises. It’s violent, gory, action-packed and a lot of fun if you like movies that are violent, gory and action packed. It however is also not without its fair share of problems. The foremost of these issues is the films cliché-ridden plot. Basically here’s the plot: There’s a bunch of good guys, except one who betrays them (bet you can’t guess within the first ten minutes) and they all get hired by the FBI to stop a former FBI agent who’s financing a dictator on a small island in the gulf of Mexico. There you go. Now you know all you’re going to need to know about The Expendables.

What you don’t need to know is that this film is a heck of a lot of fun, despite lots of clichés and completely ludicrous moments, the fun kills make it all worth-while. I was a little disappointed by the lack of participation by some of the film’s stars, besides Statham, Li and of course Stallone and the ending is a little tacky, but I had so much fun that I didn’t really care all that much.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I might be getting the flu or something because I feel disgusting, but that about wraps it up for that review anyways. It’s a short review, but what else is there to say? Fun movie, lots of death, go see it.

I give The Expendables a 3.5/5

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go throw up now. I’ve been David “Double D” Denis. Stay tuned next time for more awesome reviews from the source you (hopefully) trust!

P.S.: It’s now the next day after writing this review. I feel much better and although I came close to throwing up, I managed to hold back just enough to keep my 16 month non-barf spree going. I was going to go back and rewrite this review, but honestly almost throwing up towards the end is what gives it all its personality, so screw it. I really don’t have much more to say about The Expendables anyways. To be honest, you can probably tell if you’re going to like it or not from the trailer. Anyways, catch you guys later when I’m hopefully not feeling like balls. Ciao!

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