The Expendables
   Director: Sylvester Stallone, Millennium Films, Rated MA, 103 mins

Despite some disappointment in his recent reprisal of the Rambo and Rocky Balboa characters, Sylvester Stallone returns to the big screen with his explosive rendition of The Expendables which revolves around a group of elite mercenaries who are tasked with a mission to overthrow a Latin American dictator.
   Besides co-writing the script and directing the movie, Stallone also stars as Barney Ross, the leader of The Expendables together with an array of action veterans - Jet Li (as Ying Yang), Dolph Lundgren (as Gunner Jensen) and Mickey Rourke (as Tool), as well as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis who appear briefly in cameo roles.
   More recent action stars include Steve Austin (as Paine), Randy Couture (as Toll Road), Terry Crews (as Hale Caesar) and The Transporter action man Jason Statham as Stallone’s sidekick Lee Christmas.
   The inclusion of so many muscle-bound tough guys (and action actors) in this fast moving action movie ensures a ‘roller-coaster’ ride from start to finish.
   With the focus on action sequences there are only some brief moments devoted to Stallone’s character showing any real affection for the beautiful Sandra (Giselle Itie). Sandra is the rebellious daughter of Latin American dictator General Garza (David Zayas), who in his subjugation of the indigenous people is beholden to a bunch of henchmen led by ex-CIA operative James Munroe (Eric Roberts).
   By including such an array of acknowledged stars in his production (a draw card in itself) and with minimal time spent on developing his plot, Stallone has still managed to deliver one hell of an action movie that will have a particular appeal to both action and Stallone fans alike.
VIC'S VERDICT:       3 Rubber Stamps

Letters to Juliet
   Release Date: September 2010
   Director: Gary Winick, Summit Entertainment, Rated PG, 105 mins

Sony’s soon to be released DVD is a delightful romantic comedy from ‘Bride Wars’ director Gary Winick which is filmed in Tuscany, in the beautiful Italian city of Verona, home to Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers Romeo and Juliet.
   Mammia Mia actress Amanda Seyfried stars as Sophie, a budding writer who is in Verona on a pre-honeymoon holiday with her restaurateur fiancé Victor (Gael Garcia Bernal).
   While visiting the historic home of Juliet Capulet, immortalized in Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’, she discovers a fifty year old letter involving a young English girl who abandoned her Italian lover to please her rigid parents.
   Sophie innocently answers the letter only to discover that the young girl named Claire - now a woman in her sixties (portrayed by the iconic Vanessa Redgrave) - has travelled to Verona, along with her grandson Charlie (played by Australian Home and Away actor Chris Egan) in search of her long lost lover.
   Surprisingly Letters to Juliet is both enjoyable and emotional (that may make some feel teary at times) and includes charming performances from Seyfried and especially from the legendary actress Redgrave.
   Set against the beautiful Tuscan scenery, one cannot go wrong with Sony’s latest DVD which includes such interesting bonus features as an audio commentary and a behind the scenes look at the making of the movie.
VIC'S VERDICT:       3 ½ Rubber Stamps

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