Scott Pilgrim vs. the Expendables

Posted: June 29, 2011 in In Theatres, Reviews

(Originally posted on on August 18, 2010)

Nerds, we have failed miserably! Scott Pilgrim vs. The World came in 5th this weekend behind The Expendables, Eat, Pray, Love, The Other Guys and Inception. While I’m excited by the staying power of Inception, I’m very upset that the two most fun films of the year did not take the top two spots.

I had planned to write a very different story on these two, but I cannot overcome my disappointment in Scott Pilgrim’s opening. I’m sure the film will earn and it is destined to become a cult classic, but I wanted the nerds to beat the jocks just this once, not come in almost $25 million behind. Honestly, I shouldn’t be surprised. Nerds never win in a popularity contest or any event that showcases brute strength and I guess box office draw falls somewhere along that spectrum. I had just hoped that our numbers had been growing as we slowly make our way into the mainstream and that Scott Pilgrim would be a chance to make our numbers known. Perhaps we were divided between Star Wars Celebration and the cinema. Whatever the cause, it’s not too late for some great summer entertainment.

Friday night was the guys’ night. My nephew and I braved the opening night crowd and went to check out The Expendables. As a fan of mindless action flicks, I had been looking forward to this one for quite a while. I remember hearing that Stallone was working on a film starring himself, Li, Statham, Lundgren, Austin, and rumored cameos by Schwarzenegger and Willis. According to Stallone; Van Damme, Segal and Norris were asked about making an appearance in the film, but it was not meant to be.

In the case that you weren’t sold on The Expendables because of the cast alone, I’ll give you a little bit about the plot. Stallone plays Barney Ross, leader of a mercenary group that is hired to overthrow the dictator (General Garza, played by David Zayas, best known to me as Angel from Dexter) of a fictitious South American island-nation. The team consists of Lee Christmas (Jason Statham) whose weapon of choice is a blade, martial artist Ying Yang (Jet Li), Toll Road – demolition expert (one time MMA champ, Randy Couture), the unstable sniper Gunner Jensen (Dolph Lundgren – Seriously, this guy is a chemical engineer and a Fulbright scholar from MIT?) and heavy weapons expert Hale Caesar (the too awesome for words Terry Crews). Rounding out the good guys is the sage-like Tool (Micky Rourke – I’m not calling him a tool, that’s really his character’s name).

We find out early on that Garza is working with an American named Munroe (Eric Roberts). Munroe’s personal guards include Paine, played by Steve Austin and The Brit, played by the familiar-but-I’m-not-sure-from-where Gary Daniels.

From the opening scene of the team in action to the massive explosion, hand-to-hand combat and gunfire period of over-stimulation that is the climax of the movie, The Expendables delivers; as long as you were looking for shit to blow up, one liners and people to get killed in ways that make the entire theater exclaim “Damn!” I also want to mention that I love the music choices in this one. Southern Rock and action flicks are made for each other and songs by Georgia Satellites, Mountain, Thin Lizzy and Creedence Clearwater Revival belong in this movie like Mtn Dew at a tabletop gaming session. If you can forgive the digitized blood in a few scenes, Stallone has written and directed the perfect action flick.

Sunday was the day that my wife, my niece and my nephew went with me to see Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. The moment the Universal logo came up, accompanied by matching 8-bit song, I knew this would be something I would enjoy.

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is about..uh..Scott Pilgrim (played by Michael Cera). Scott Pilgrim is your average 23 year old Canadian slacker who plays in a band, is between jobs and lives with his friend and gay roommate Wallace Wells (Kieran Culkin).

Scott Pilgrim is dating a 17 year old high school student named Knives Chau (Ellen Wong). Knives loves Scott and she loves his band – Sex Bob-Omb. Unfortunately, for Knives, Scott meets the girl of his dreams in Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead from Death Proof and Live Free or Die Hard). Also unfortunate for Knives, Scott gets too caught up in trying to win Ramona to break it off with Knives. Also also unfortunate, but for Scott this time, Ramona has seven evil exes that have banded together to control the future of Ramona’s love life. In other words, Scott must defeat the seven evil exes in order to continue dating Ramona.

Scott Pilgrim is filled with video game references. From Scott’s Pac-Man pick-up line to battles between Scott and the exes set to look like boss fights, this is one for the long time video game player.
The best part of Scott Pilgrim is the battle scenes. Comedic, action-packed, exciting and nostalgic I was a bit sad that there were only 7 evil exes.

This week was my favorite week in recent cinema-going history. The perfect action movie and the perfect nerd movie in the same weekend made it a joy to hand over my money. Thank you Mr. Wright and Mr. Stallone, you gave us some great entertainment. Keep doing what you do so well.

How much would I pay to see these again?

The Expendables: Out of $10, I would pay $8 to see it again. I could never get tired of some of those explosions and watching as the group takes on impossible odds.

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: Out of $10, I would pay $10. I love this movie and if I had any question about any future Edgar Wright projects, they are gone and I’m sold!


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