A trio of older entertainments shared shelf space ,ironically, with a new release that was all about the appeal of the 80’s this week.
“The Expendables 2” — Sylvester Stallone is back for another action go-round. and he brought the rest of the 1980s with him. This time Stallone and Jason Statham are up against it in Eastern Europe. Losing a member of the team puts their mad on, and they proceed to beat up the locals with a little help from action icons of the 1980s like Dolph Lundgren, Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jet Li. The bad guy is deliciously evil and a high-stepper, thanks to Jean-Claude Van Damme. Lots of fun. but I dare you to remember three plot points the day after you see it.
“Mark of the Devil” — 1970s horror doesn’t get much gorier than this brutal study of witch hunting and killing. The film gets a boost from Reggie Nalder as a deformed member of the group that mercilessly goes after a young woman the head torturer is kind of sweet on. This film was marketed with a “V” rating, for violence, and patrons received a free barf bag. that promotion is lovingly restored for the DVD release.
“Heaven’s Gate” — The movie that killed a studio is back. Michael Cimino directed this after the success of “The Deer Hunter.” The studio gave him a blank check but never learned from their mistake, as the movie sunk it. What a shame, as this rocks an amazing cast that features Kris Kristofferson, Christopher Walken, Jeff Bridges and John Hurt. There is great cinematography, too, as well as a story that should have grabbed viewers as it dealt with the true account of how immigrants were slaughtered in the “Johnson County War.” Unfortunately, all of the elements can come together and still spell disaster. Criterion goes all out here with special features, but it still amounts to a terrible movie that should have been excellent.
“McMilan and Wife: The Complete Series” — The NBC Mystery Movie was best known for “Columbo,” but it also spawned this series of movies about a lawyer elected to the position of police commissioner in San Francisco. Rock Hudson stars alongside Susan Saint-James as his young bride, who proves to be an excellent sounding board for solving crimes. This series started out well with cracking dialogue, but limped through a disastrous sixth season that saw James leave and the show dead end.
Next week brings the return of Jay and Kay in “Men in Black 3.”