Expendables 2: Scholars confirm it’s what a soul of pure testosterone looks like

See this screenshot with three of the greatest action heroes of all time? It’s awesome, right? Too bad if you see The Expendables 2 and happen to blink you’ll miss it. Not cool, director Simon West. Not cool at all.

The Expendable 2 opened in first place its opening weekend, to the tune of $28.5 million. It can’t be hard to put Stallone, Willis and Schwarzenegger into one flick and not have a good opening weekend, so in that sense no one should be impressed with the haul. Regardless, the film still needs to be reviewed. Many of those who follow this blog probably figure that I’ll have nothing bad to say about the movie, given that I’ve claimed Stallone knows the meaning of life. Not true. Expendables 2 is a solid summer popcorn movie, but I still plan on covering the good, the bad and the ugly.

First things first. Or should I say last? If you’ve ever wanted to see Stallone throw down against Jean-Claude Van Damme, consider your wish granted. In his mid-sixties, Sly is as ripped as ever. JCVD brings some serious triceps to the game, and the roundhouse kicks are as swift and powerful as ever. Men will watch The Expendables 2 for the next few decades for the climatic battle alone. Van Damme’s “Vilain” is so cheesy that he wears sunglasses in a mineshaft, but it doesn’t matter because all the audience cares about is a.) He represents pure evil and b.) He’s going to meet his maker in a death match with Stallone.

Watching The Expendables 2 is sort of like looking into a soul made of pure testosterone. There are explosions galore, muscles, fighting, guns, and creatively-staged deaths of evil men that give the audience license to smile and say, “Well, the bastards kind of deserved it.” There’s a scene that involves Vilain’s henchmen, and dare I say it — what happens to the last man standing may be worth the price of admission alone.

Where Stallone’s sequel goes wrong is with the overuse of cheesy one liners. I expect those in an 80’s throwback movie, but there are only so many times I can hear Schwarzenegger say “I’ll be back” or make some painful reference to the Terminator flicks before it becomes annoying. In some sense I wish they would have done away with them all together. The wry smiles the men share when they’re on screen together tells the audience everything they need to know. We’re already in on the joke … and at times the hammy dialogue distracts from an action movie that can stand out its own.

And finally — the ugly. Someone needs to punch Simon West in the kidneys for the blink-and-you-missed it shot of Stallone, Willis, and Schwarzenegger charging forward, guns blazing. How great would it have been to have a few classic stills of the three of them — running towards the camera in an extended shot — while emptying their magazines? Instead, we get a bunch of quick cuts, usually with a back turned away from the camera. Sometimes two of them have a moment together (and there is one with Arnold and Chuck Norris that is fabulous), but in general Mr. West dropped the ball when it came to getting three of the world’s best action heroes of all time into a few frames worthy of posters and t-shirts and memes for time eternal.

With that said, I think The Expendables 2 has enough juice in it for a third (and final) installment. Now get out there, do your manly duty, and see Expendables 2. And if you’re wondering why I didn’t cover things like, say, the “plot” … then you obviously haven’t see the original. I’m in a decent mood, so I’ll make it easy for you: Good guys need to kill bad guys.

Got it? Good. Now go see it, because Stallone and Co. aren’t getting any younger.

Schwarzenegger’s ‘Six Rules for Success’: Sage advice for all Americans

Schwarzenegger’s most important rule of all for attaining success: “Work your butt off.” Sage advice from the Austrian Oak.

Like all of us, Arnold Schwarzenegger has his moral failings. We know what they are since he’s a public figure, but if we’re honest with ourselves we know that we too are “warped timber.” Given that, the question becomes:  How did a scrawny kid grow up to become the Austrian Oak, and can the principles that helped bring him success be applied to the rest of us? There’s a video that’s been on YouTube for quite some time that highlights Schwarzenegger’s “Six Rules for Success.” I believe they can be inspiring to anyone, in any field.

As I’ve noted before, it’s been my experience that those who are serious about lifting weights tend to have a conservative streak in them — or at least seem to be more open to the worldview than my other friends and acquaintances. The weights are about tough love, and Arnold does a great job imparting their wisdom here:

Now of course, people ask me all the time, they say to me: “What is the secret to success?” The first rule is: Trust yourself. But what is most important is that you have to dig deep down — dig deep down — and ask yourself, “Who do you want to be?” Not what, but who? I’m talking about not what your parents and teachers want you to be, but you. I’m talking about figuring out for yourselves, what makes you happy no matter how crazy it may sound to the people.

Rule #1 is: Trust yourself, no matter what anyone else thinks.

Rule #2 is: Break the rules.

We have so many rules in life about everything. I say break the rules — not the law — but break the rules. It is impossible to be a maverick or a true original if you’re too well behaved and don’t want to break the rules. You have to think outside the box. That is what I believe. After all, what is the point of being on this earth if all you want to do is be liked by everyone and avoid trouble? The only way I ever got anyplace was by breaking some of the rules.

Which of course brings me to Rule Number 3: Don’t be afraid to fail.

Anything I’ve ever attempted, I was always willing to fail. You can’t always win, but don’t be afraid of making decisions. You can’t be paralyzed by fear of failure or you will never push yourself. You keep pushing because you believe in yourself and in your vision. And you know that it is the right thing to do and success will come. So don’t be afraid to fail, which brings me to Rule #4, which is: Don’t listen to the naysayers.

I mean, how many times have you heard that you can’t do this and you can’t do that and it has never been done before? I love it when someone says no one has ever done this before, because when I do it that means that I’m the first person who has done it! So pay no attention to the people who say it can’t be done.

I never listen to “you can’t.” I always listen to myself and say, “Yes, you can.” And that brings me to Rule #5, which is the most important rule of all: Work your butt off. Leave no stone unturned.

Mohammad Ali, one of my great heroes, had a great line in the 70’s when he was asked: “How many situps do you do?” He said, “I don’t count my situps; I only start counting when it starts hurting. When I feel pain, that’s when I start counting because that’s when it really counts. That’s what makes you a champion.” And that’s the way it is with everything: No pain, no gain.

While you’re out there partying, horsing around, someone out there at the same time is working hard. Someone is getting smarter and someone is winning. Just remember that. Now if you want to win, there is absolutely no way around hard, hard work. None of my rules for success will work unless you do. I’ve always figured that there were 24 hours in a day.  You sleep 6 hours. There are 18 hours left. Now, I know there are some of you out there now who say, “Well wait a minute. I sleep 8 hours or 9 hours.”  Well, just sleep faster, I would recommend.

That takes me to Rule #6, which is a very important rule. It’s about giving back. Whatever path that you take in your lives, you must always find time to give something back. Something back to your community. Give something back to your state or your country.

Let me tell you something: Reaching out and helping people will give you more satisfaction than anything you have ever done.

Remember these six rules:

1. Trust yourself
2. Break some rules
3. Don’t be afraid to fail
4. Ignore the naysayers
5. Work like hell
6. Give something back

Well said, Arnold. Well said, indeed.

Related: ‘Pumping Iron’ inspires, decades after its release

Expendables 2 trailer: Proof Stallone knows the meaning of life

Battered, bloodied and bruised — but still smiling. That’s the meaning of life, and Stallone knows it. Made in America and a national treasure. Even when he’s bad he’s good.

The Expendables 2 trailer has officially landed, and it delivers the goods. As I said before, only sad, sad men and the women who love them are not psyched about this movie. Let’s think about the trailer for a second, shall we? Cheesy one liners? Check. Explosions on top of explosions? Check. Eastern European, former Communist military equipment? Check. Guns, guns and more guns? Check. Asian chick kicking ass? Check. Pure testosterone? Check. The list can go on and on.

Fact: Stallone knows the meaning of life. Life is about being 65 years old, living balls to the wall, getting battered and bruised, and then laughing about it with your buddies. If life was an orange Sly would be squeezing the s**t out of it until there wasn’t any juice left, looking at the rind, and then shoving it in his mouth and eating it just to say he ate the whole damn thing. He’s awesome. Period.

Conventional wisdom says Stallone, Schwarzenegger, and Willis should be drinking Ensure and thinking about “the good old days.” Instead of daydreaming about Rocky Balboa or Rambo he went out and created a whole new amazing franchise in his freakin’ 60’s!

Think about your friends from high school who are so out of shape that they’ve packed it in and act like sad-sack geriatrics before they’ve even lost their hair. Now think about Stallone convincingly going toe-to-toe, mano-e-mano with Van Damme at this stage of the game. It’s an inspiration.

Stallone, in silhouette, right before facing off against Van Damme. He’s still looking great after all these years.

Like the old school guns, cars, motorcycles and planes Stallone uses in The Expendables, he shows that age doesn’t need to matter because cool will always be cool. Age is inevitable, but you can kick ass until the day you die. If we think of Stallone’s body like a car it’s obvious that he loves and cares for it, but he’s going to use it and drive that thing into the ground because that’s what it was made for.

Years ago my mom, a second grade teacher at the time, would tell her coworkers how she would rather see Rocky and Rambo and any number of Stallone movies than some chick flick, and all the other women would look at her like she was from Mars. No mom, you weren’t nuts. In fact, a good litmus test to gauge someone’s sanity might be to ask them whether they would rather pay to see a marathon of Rocky, Rambo and The Expendables … or a You’ve Got Mail/Sleepless in Seattle double-feature.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have an Expendables 2 trailer to watch … again.