Watching the new movie Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World I asked myself WWST? What Would Stallone Think of this flick? The title character, Scott Pilgrim, is an emo man-child played by the eternally insecure Michael Cera who falls in love with Ramona, a hipster chick with unnatural hues of hair. Ramona has seven evil exes and Scott Pilgrim must defeat each one in battle if he hopes to get laid.
The film is a love letter to pop culture. It’s a movie based on a comic book stylized like a video game about a rock and roller who’s hopefully in love with love. Like the best comic books, rock and roll songs, video games, and puppy dog romances there’s no down time to Scott Pilgrim. Each scene cuts into the next cleverly storyboarded moment. But the pure intensity of those other mediums can be exhausting in a two hour movie. The first time you see a sound effect written on the screen it’s amusing and cheeky the way it was in those old sixties’ Batman episodes, but the seventh or eighth time the gag grows tiresome. There are moments of inspired creativity, but Scott Pilgrim lacked the quiet moments where you could suck it all in and enjoy it. If 2001 advertised itself as the movie to take LSD while watching and Easy Rider was the flick for marijuana than Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World requires a prescription to Ritalin.
And Stallone’s newest directorial effort’s corresponding drug would be Human Growth Hormone. The Expendables seems to be Stallone’s direct response to Scott Pilgrim. It’s as though Sly is saying interesting use of special effects, characters with emotions besides rage, women, and competent cinematography and editing aren’t necessary to make a good movie. All you need is to blow stuff up, classic rock songs, and lots and lots of one-liners. And you know what, Sly’s on to something.
Whereas I could tell a lot more thought and energy was put into Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, I found myself much more entertained by The Expendables. I’m not even sure they bothered with a script. I got the feeling as though Stallone decided to get a lot of ammunition, invite all his action buddies over and just let the cameras roll. It’s an effective technique when you have great method actors on hand like Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, and Stone Cold Steve Austin.
Although it’s intellectually stimulating to see Stallone’s commentary on the current crop of pretty boy adolescent action movies being made these days, the real excitement of The Expendables is seeing Arnold Schwarzenegger back on the silver screen (even if for only one scene). What a shame he decided to go into politics. Not only is California now broke, but his gubernatorial career robbed us of seven years of fist thumping action excellence.