Finally caught up with The Expendables this weekend. Thought it was kind of miserable, to be honest -- an ugly, loud mess of incoherent action that might have amounted to something in the hands of an expert technician, viz. not Sylvester Stallone. But Mickey Rourke, playing a randy ex-mercenary tattoo artist who delivers an unexpectedly moving speech about the moment he knew he had lost his soul, was a definite highlight. The aging, jaded tough may be becoming a stock character for him, but it's a good one, and he does it with feeling.

And so we get The Ice Man: Confessions of a Mafia Contract Killer, based on the best-selling book by Philip Carlo, itself based on the true story of outspoken former contract-killer-slash-loving-husband-and-father Richard Kuklinski, who claims to have been involved in high-profile assassinations such as those of Jimmy Hoffa and Paul Castellano, and to have killed more than 100 people. Here's a fun documentary/series of interviews with Kuklinski -- now cooling his heels in a New Jersey prison -- which should give you an idea of why Rourke is such an appropriate choice. This guy is a scary m-f-er, though Carlo's book was criticized for credulously taking Kuklinski at his self-serving word.

Rourke last played a hitman in the also-rans Elmore Leonard drama Killshot, where he did as much as he could in a weak role. The Ice Man, which will be written by David McKenna (who did a nice job with another biopic, Ted Demme's Blow; he also wrote American History X, if you're into that (I'm not)), should give him more to chew on. I don't like biopics as a rule, and I tend to especially recoil from ones composed with the assistance of their subjects (e.g. Antwone Fisher), but this should be fun.

The project has been in the works for a while, but it looks like it's finally moving forward, with financing and everything. Meanwhile, Rourke's latest flick Passion Play premiered at Toronto, and apparently is not very good.