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Ok gang, I’ve had some time to digest this movie and will try to discuss it in a spoiler-free fashion.
Before I start:
A. I am shocked that a script of this quality found it’s way to Sly. Aside from Cop Land, he has never been involved with a script of such complexity, intelligence or depth. In Cop Land he plays a dim witted cop and in nearly all of his roles, Sly is a blue collar type. This may be the first film of his where he is an intellectual with some sophistication.
B. This movie would have lost a lot of its appeal with Bruce Willis as the lead. I cannot for the life of me understand why he turned this down but I am so glad he did. What Sly brings to this role makes you wish more directors had taken a chance with him earlier in his career. It makes you wish Sly chose his work with more care because The Tomb shows you what he can do in an A-list project. More discussion on this later.
C. Schwarzenegger turning down Sly’s role was a good choice since he is a much better fit for the Rottmayer role. Sly demanding Arnie be cast as his ultimatum for making this movie is a stroke of genius really because Arnold is essential to making this film stand out.
D. Whoever wrote this script is a fan of Sly and Arnold, that much is clear because it plays to their strengths with no man outdoing the other (arguably).
E. This is Stallone’s movie, make no mistake. He is the lead and while Arnold has a major role and is a co-lead, it’s very clear that this is still a Sylvester Stallone film.
I don’t know where to start, but…..going into this film I didn’t really know what to expect, and lets just say it’s not at all what I thought I’d get from a Stallone or Arnold film, and I mean that in a good way.
This is an awesome movie. Let’s get that out of the way first. You will not be disappointed. Does it have problems? Yes, but much of it can be fixed in post-production. As it stands, this is a very good film and with the right tweaking, could be a great film.
You have never seen Sly like this before. From the character, to his look (acting/clothes), it’s a real flesh and blood character that allows Sly the chance to act and be something other than a superhero. He looks great (younger, more natural) and unlike some actors seems to actually be getting better with age if this movie is any indication.
This is his best movie since Cop Land and arguably his best action movie since First Blood. Remember how you felt when you saw Cliffhanger in 1993? How Sly had finally made an action movie that could compete with the quality of Bruce and Arnie’s output? Well, The Tomb is a breath of fresh air, just like that film. It not only works as a great action thriller but also has enough dramatic elements and story to appeal to fans outside of the action genre. There is great crossover appeal here because as I said before, it is a big surprise to get this kind of film from Sly and Arnie and it makes them relevant for this generation of movie goers.
This film is not an 80’s throwback though there are some subtle nods to it. Do not go into it expecting an 80’s nostalgia movie like Expendables or Tango and Cash. There are some buddy elements like “Tango and Cash”, but for the most part this is a SERIOUS modern action thriller. As “Imthegame” has pointed out before, both stars need to take roles that are suited for their age and adapt to the way modern action films are being made….Arnold has already heeded that message but I am happy to say, Sly has finally acknowledged this. Ray Breslin is Sly pulling a Liam Neeson/Harrison Ford and essaying an everyman in a more convincing way than he has ever done. While I never bought into his attempts with Gabe Walker or Kit Latura in Cliffhanger and Daylight, this time he pulls it off.
This is not a balls to the wall action movie like Rambo or stunt extravaganza like Cliffhanger. It’s more of a thriller and spends much of its runtime inside of the prison. There are fisticuffs, some gunplay and an action setpiece, but it is first and foremost a thriller.
I was informed that this was the first screening of the movie and for the most part it’s completed. Some minor visual effects shots were missing, temp music score and no credits.
The less you know about the story, the better so I won’t linger too much on it. All you need to know is that this movie gives Arnie and Sly the movie they deserve. It’s not Face/OFF, but it’s the next best thing given their age. Completely unexpected and a surprise with the script and roles of Arnie and Sly. People will be pleasantly surprised and it bodes well for Arnie and Sly segueing outside of the action genre (Sly especially). I could tell that a lot of people were very surprised with Sly. Most casual movie goers generally give Arnie a pass but have a love/hate relationship with Sly. This movie makes him more accessible and human. He’s likeable, fun and cool. He proves in The Tomb that he can give us a memorable character outside Rocky/Rambo/Expendables.
The film does not feel cheap, and looks like a nice 60-70 million dollar film with good production values. Modest perhaps, but it makes up for spectacle with sheer starpower and an entertaining story to tell. There are no Avi Lerner-isms to be found in this movie. The director for this film may be a wild card, but he seems to be someone who is light years ahead of anyone Sly has worked with since Donner or Mangold. If anything, The Tomb shows you just how piss poor Avi Lerner has handled Expendables and how good that franchise could be with the right producers and director. We wanted “Heat” and we got our version finally with Arnold and Sly in The Tomb. This absolutely are done justice with this film.
Re: Arnold/Sly: Arnie has the flashier role and he comes off very well. His intro got applause and he had them eating out of his hand the entire time. His one-liners were received very well. Rottmayer is like Dutch Schaeffer meets Harry Tasker. Any doubts about Arnold not being able to translate well to audiences in his 60’s or his bad delivery of one-liners in Ex 2, should be forgotten. If anything it proves what working with a good director is like compared to a bad one (West).
Sly and Arnie chemistry is as good as Kurt/Sly, perhaps even better. They work extremely well together and I think it would be a shame for them to not make another project together given what we see in The Tomb.
You get Arnie vs Sly, Arnie teaming up with Sly, bantering and one-upmanship, one-liners,etc. It’s a fanboy wet dream….and yes thankfully, we don’t get any groan inducing nostalgia (Expendables 2). They have found a much more subtle and clever way to pay homage to these legends without beating a dead horse.
Ray Breslin imho reminds me a bit of Robert Rath meets John Spartan with a dash of Macguyver. He’s dead serious most of the time with some brief moments of levity. This character is a thinker and Sly sells it. I think there was a brief moment of hesitation on the audience to buy into Sly being such an intelligent character, but credit to the script and Sly’s acting that they pull it off in a convincing way.
Remember how many people complained that Sly came off really fake as Ray Tango with the glasses, suits,etc to try and give his character an air of sophistication and intelligence? Well rest assured, because unlike Tango and Cash, the filmmakers and writer have given Sly a film makeover, presenting him as an intelligent, articulate, and engaging character. Sly delivers on the acting front, giving a memorable performance. He is intense in the right moments and owns his dialogue scenes. There is nothing tentative about his performance and it doesn’t feel as self conscious or vanity driven like some of his previous work.
He finally gets it and because of that, Sly compares very favorably to Arnie’s performance unlike Tango and Cash where many felt Kurt Russell stole every scene. Arnie might have the more crowd pleasing performance, but Sly’s character is the backbone of the film. I don’t think he smiles much in this movie and he’s the straight man to Arnie in a way, but it works. They both get their moments to shine and Sly is never outdone or blown off the screen by the Oak. If anything, it proves that they really are like Pacino and Deniro in the action world. Two worlds/forces colliding and it feels epic.
Also, this movie is set in the present. There are no futuristic elements to the script but the prison has some neat technology.
Sly is great. His best role since Freddy Heflin. There is some substance to this role and he delivers. Those of you who wanted more dramatic elements and something more than a cartoon character from Sly, you have your wish. This role should lead to much better films in the future. Unlike Cop Land, he definitively proves in The Tomb that he can handle a dramatic role with ease and make it memorable.
Arnold is back. I haven’t said much about him only because I don’t want to spoil his character. He’s a blast and has all the wit and fun of Harry Tasker mixed with the cleverness and resourceful nature of Dutch Schaeffer. You don’t have to worry about any of the stiffness in his acting/dialogue delivery that we saw in Ex2, he’s worked out the kinks and delivers here. Unlike Collateral Damage, Arnie successfully pulls off his own version of the “everyman” like Sly.
Supporting cast are all uniformly good. 50 cent is perfectly serviceable here and is actually quite funny believe it or not. He was well received by the audience.
Great script. It’s fun, exciting, relatively intelligent and tells an entertaining story. Good dialogue, one-liners, and twists throughout to keep the audience on their toes. For the most part, everything is explained nicely without being exposition heavy and flashback elements are integrated well into the film.
Good pace. It’s never boring and is entertaining throughout. You can tell the director has some skill in crafting thrillers because this film is entirely plot-driven and still manages to be exciting and engaging without getting bogged down in heavy exposition.
A MONUMENTAL surprise for fans of Stallone. This is Sly finally delivering a movie that someone like Arnold, Harrison Ford, etc would have been proud to put their name on in the 90’s. This is so far beyond the Expendables which just looks like a cheap b-movie next to this. Most of his action films are blown out of the water by this movie. He’s never made a movie quite like this so it’s hard to compare it to something like Demolition Man or Cliffhanger, but this is by far his highest quality project since CopLand and it joins First Blood as one of his best ever action films. Like FB, this one has more thriller elements and less spectacle.
Length is 2 hrs and the movie is most definitively rated R. It feels like a complete film unlike Sly’s last 4-5 movies…and I can’t see this being edited to a pg-13. If they do, I think it will lose much of it’s edge. There is some heavy language in this movie and it feels refreshing to hear Sly and Arnold curse like normal human beings again in a film. They both deliver with gusto, particularly Arnie
The film has some nice comedy relief without it hijacking the movie and turning it into a parody (see EX 2). Arnie has some very funny dialogue in the movie and Sly delivers some classic one-liners with a Ray Tango dead pan.
Both Arnie and Sly acknowledge their film personas but slowly move away from them by the end of the film. There is even a line from Arnie about how Sly is smarter than he looks
There is a nod to Get Carter in this.
Supporting cast is good but still largely forgettable . They need atleast one other big name in this movie or a scene stealer like John Leguizamo or someone who can chew scenery. The film lacks that and so once the focus shifts ever so briefly away from our heroes, the movie does lose a little momentum.
The Villains are fine if unremarkable. I think Jim Caviezel does a good job but his role is very understated and a bit dull imho. He reminds me a little of Timothy Olyphant in Die Hard 4. Realistic perhaps but lacking any kind of charisma to command the screen. This is the only real weakness I see in the film.
Temp score should be replaced with a more exciting score. Music is vital for a thriller and while the temp score was fine, a good score would help this movie considerably.
Editing could be tweaked a bit more, particularly towards the end which is a little anti-climatic. It just needs something more as the final set piece is cool but not quite as impressive as what you’d expect from these guys. It’s a minor nitpick but hopefully they figure out a way to pace that ending better. This is a first screening so there is time to fix this.
Most of the visual effects that were finished looked top notch (high end effects, not Expendables cgi crap) but some unfinished shots remain.
Sly comes close a few times to delivering his lines in the dull monotone of his characters in The Specialist and Assassins but thankfully this is largely avoided. He’s very serious and a little bit of attitude or charisma a la Ray Tango could have helped counterbalance Arnie…he does give us that but if I had to nitpick, it’s perhaps not as much as I would have liked. Minor complaint though.
Stunt work/set pieces are light aside from a sequence at the end. These guys set the gold standard for that stuff and they do remarkably well given their age but I think some of the younger crowd may have wanted more flashy cgi and setpieces. Might be a case of managing your expectations and knowing what to expect from this film….
So in conclusion, this is a very good movie and hopefully it will be turned into a great film with a little bit of tweaking. All the elements are there to make this one memorable.
Go into this expecting something along the lines of say The Italian Job meets Prison Break, rather than Tango and Cash or Expendables.
The audience I saw it with, ate this film up. Lots of laughs, applause,etc. Arnie killed it. I think Sly will make many new fans with this movie. His persona has never been as accessible as Arnold’s but with this movie, he will crossover to the non-action genre fanbase finally. He’s very likeable in this which helps considerably. Younger audiences have never seen him play a character like this.
Once The Tomb comes out, it will make stuff like Rambo, expendables, etc feel like a step backward. Sly is going to have to follow Arnold’s path and start picking projects with more dramatic elements. No Rest for the Wicked would be the perfect follow up to this movie. All the tarnishing of his reputation with poorly received films and his infamous razzie awards should be significantly rehabilitated with The Tomb because this movie presents him in a new light to non-Sly fans.
Make no mistake, he NEEDS TO WORK WITH A GOOD DIRECTOR. This movie proves that beyond a shadow of a doubt and those who deny this are simply living in a land of dreams. Many of us always felt like Sly was capable of so much more when it came to the films he chose to make and The Tomb is like a vindication for those of us who expected more from him than nostalgia trips and cheap b-movie shlock.
This is Arnie’s best movie since True Lies and one of his most memorable characters since Harry Tasker. Arnie fans will be pleased. He goes all out in this movie and just chews scenery left and right. It’s a change of pace and a risky role for him in a way, but he pulls it off with aplomb.
Most of the younger people around me were marking off the film in the surveys as “excellent” and thought the movie was, and I quote “f***ing awesome”. I saw it with my gf who is a casual fan of Arnold and dislikes Stallone…she came out of the film a Stallone fan. She loved it.
I can’t see The Tomb making any less than 70-80 million. There is a decent chance it could break 100 million because this movie will play very well with the Taken/Bourne Identity audience. It’s a movie with great crossover appeal. There were teenage girls in the audience who enjoyed the hell out of this flick.
Lastly my rating: In it’s current form, I’d give it an 8-8.5 (as an objective film reviewer) with potential for a 9 if the editing,scoring, and vfx are fixed up by next year.
Another review from a fan called ‘SlyGuy’ :)
1st most powerful thing that hit me. If i only had one (1) statement to make about The Tomb is this;
Arnold Schwarzenegger & Sylvester Stallone have wanted to work together and along side each other for a very very long time. They made sure every mili-second counted and they are bringing it to their fans on a silver platter.
I was completely surprised at the solid and believable chemistry (tho chemistry is wayy wayy too over used word) it is as real as it gets. They wanted it to come off believable as the characters are meeting each other for the very first time, and you not think of they’re real life relationship, and they HIT it with a JACKPOT.
they didn’t get this chance with The Expendables as much because they are appearances with characters Barney and Trench that ALREADY had a history together before we meet them. it is so so cool to see Ray’s and Rottmeyer’s relationship develop. The acting alone, together will blow people away. it is as strong and or better..than the action.
I read Sonny’s review. I agree with the just of it. He’s made valid points , especially with the material that the actors were given for the first time in their career’s to do this kind of dialogue and act in a story such as this. What i slightly disagree with Sonny…is that i felt JIM CAVIEZEL delivered more …where *i think* Sonny Crockett felt he was limited. I surely feel, as i told a friend of mine that runs another site for fans of the actor involved, that Caviezel’s portrayal as the warden will go down as one of the most original , meanest, tho with his own sense of charm, villainous warden’s the screen has ever seen.
Every baddie villian has his little side thing he does, (example the main bad guy in RAMBO III, has a chess game in front of him looked like he never played, at the most awful-ist boring room, any main villain could have.) so i looked at The Tomb’s Warden’s pass time and thought “hmmm, what the fudge is this about ?” but other than that…this film shines with Jim Caviezel. I hope alot of critics reflect this.
They packed the house. The screener’s involved made clear that this was the very first screening of The Tomb. I heard one mean @$$ assistant (lil more on that later at bottom of post, if u care to read.) say “yeah i seen the first half, it’s pretty good” so…i was confused if it actually was the first screening. So now that im talking about a “packed house”…let me tell you that there was cheering thruout the movie, and for most actors involved…which surprised me cuz opening , the audience was rather real real quiet, but most of the loud cheers that lasted with longest chants and applause went to Arnold’s character..or the fact that Arnold was doing what he did best and is truly BACK !
there isn’t more ‘im back” one liners. (other movies did that enough) but the scenes he was given were both electric, funny and at the end, the audience really really went wild !!!
They of course cheered for Stallone. Sly’s energy thru out the film…you just wonder how the guy, jumps, runs, fights that d**n much, film after film.
THE “TOMB” is a character itself. And i was surprised that it’s exterior didn’t seem (now this is for me, for other’s it might seem fine, which keeps this review, for the most part, “spoiler free”) the outside of The Tomb didn’t seem as fierce , to me..as the inside.
Interior, is something shocking and unexpected. you will trip on it. You will freak on it. Though along again what Sonny said…not a futuristic film in the total sci-fi sense but still..high tech.
I love that the film…is long. heck maybe even 2hr & 5min. I dont know for sure. Though i agree like most, im tired of these films that are 90min of Sly’s…i felt the beggining of this movie was just a little too long for me. with a “movie” it’s gotta move. And the scene was important. but i was ready to understand it and move on. I also feel that every time in a movie, the camera shows a legendary actor, it should have a certain speed on the film or pacing…when STALLONE or ARNOLD is first shown…(cobra was perfect example, same with the first really clear time you see Arnold in Eraser, slowly walking in…that’s fahntahstick (as The Oak would say) wish we had more of that here. And they may still do it that way.
All this screenings almost always NEVER have a title sequence nor ending credits…and that is the same here. Just the title (which had cool sounds, wont tell what they are) and then, the film. at end, it faded out with last scene.
The end of the film, was terrific cap off. Just the kind of tension seat grabbing that Andrew and Mark are just waiting to dig their hands and nails into at final frame !
FROM THE ARNOLD FANS
Chris (OakSmoke) writes TAFs:
“Just got out. Whew, it was a three hour wait to get in but so worth it. Ultimately my review: it is phenomenal! It’s a very serious film with a great story and it goes deep on why the characters are there. Fantastic action! The end action was a little more original then mid movie action. Both men are seen very fit but no shirtless abs of either actor. I wish Arnold threw more punches but he does great. Jim Cavizel is the best, baddest, realistic warden you have EVER SEEN!
Also, so you know, the film totally FEELS equal screen time between Arnold and Sly…mainly because Arnold has more solo moments or with a couple other actors. Sly shot more days like you said because he has more exterior locations whereas Arnold is already in the prison. You can tell they’ve been wanting to work together a long time & they have serious chemistry together. It is a rough high-tech torture thriller. The movie feels long in a good way. HONESTLY, ARNOLD GOT THE BIGGEST APPLAUSE AND ROAR IN THEATRE BECAUSE THE DIRECTOR GAVE HIM A GOOD “HE’S REALLY, REALLY BACK SCENE”! The crowd went wild 3 times over him. And i’m not shittn’.
Because of their trueness in each other’s performance with dialogue and acting, the authenticity of it and Arnold being such a scene-stealer, I rate this 10 out of 10 stogies. However, on an action scale vs. Cliffhanger & T-2 or True Lies, it’s an 8 on the action scale. But great kick-ass scenes. I got chills to see Arnold grab that hand gun and the camera pans on him from the floor up. BAD ASS to the bone!
Way to go Arnold! You have another hit on your hands! We can’t wait to see it in theaters next September. But since some movie-goers already got to see a screener and since it rated so high with the fans…let’s hope the film gets pushed up to an early summer release.