| Flicks

FLICKS: The Expendables 2 & Free Men

Posted on 22 August 2012 by LeslieM

By Dave Montalbano


With slightly less momentum than the original flick, The Expendables 2 opened strong with a nearly $29 million opening weekend – more than double ParaNorman (which is an underrated motion picture for families). While all the leading men have seen better days, there is no denying the fun that percolates through the silver screen.

Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) and his team of mercenaries called the Expendables (Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Terry Crews, Liam Hemsworth, Randy Couture) are recruited by Church (Bruce Willis) for a mission. When one of the Expendables is killed by master terrorist villain (Jean-Claude Van Damme), the Expendables plan payback.

Eventually, Chuck Norris and Arnold Schwarzenegger join the Expendables to root out the villainous villain. As the action commences, Director Simon West is wise enough to frame Stallone, Schwarzenegger, Willis and Norris in a single shot.

The action is loud, graphic and over-the-top; yet, it fulfills its entertaining purpose. Think of The Expendables 2 as a modern-day Gene Autry/Roy Rogers Saturday matinee cowboy flick, minus the singing around the campfire.

Lacking the automatic assault rifles of the modern era, Free Men is a World War II drama with quiet action. A French film with English subtitles, Free Men is based on real life incidents involving Muslims and Jews.

Younes is a young Muslim black-marketeer who becomes an informer for Nazi police. As Jewish immigrants are rounded up, Younes sees his income diminishing. When he consults with the head of his Mosque, Si Kaddour Ben Ghabrit (Michael Lonsdale), Younes learns that his mentor is harboring political criminals, Jewish refugees.

In direct contrast to The Expendables 2, Free Men is a simple film with complex character motives. It is a good movie that will be remembered for Lonsdale’s dignified performance as a humanitarian hero, which is ironic since he is best known for his role as a James Bond villain in Moonraker.

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