“The Expendables” was the modern day 80s flick, and I mostly enjoyed it, but it does all depend on your expectations. If you’re looking for an involved plot then stop it, there’s no Christopher Nolan attached to this film. If you’re looking to emotionally connect, then you’re once again missing the point of what we’ve got going on here. There’s only two questions you should be asking yourself: 1) How big are the explosions? 2) How many people get their ass kicked? That’s all that matters, and it’s really all that’s delivered.
Why you’ll like this:
You devour raw meat directly from the side of a still breathing baby calf, and smile. (That’s code for you only want to see a mindless action film with some action icons.)
Stylvester Stallone wrote “The Expendables” with the intention of gathering a ton of action studs to deliver a testosterone induced cinematic death-coma. Originally he went after all the old school stars like Steven Segal, Van Damme and even Chuck Norris, but could only come up with Dolph Lundgren, and a cameo from Bruce Willis and Schwarzenegger, so he filled it in with more modern day action stars Jason Statham, Jet Li, Terry Crews, Randy Couture, Stone Cold Steve Austin and Mickey Rourke. They all play mercenaries who do whatever dirty work needs gettin’ done, until they come across a mission that gives them a shot at redeeming a small part of their soul. Bullets enter stage right.
I liked the medley of big-time action heroes getting on screen. I was surprised that of all of them Jason Statham really gets the most screen time and story development, but considering that he’s easily the most consistent actor of them all then maybe my surprise is unwarranted. The opening sequence of death by our squad is rather simple and not eye-popping, but that’s all made up for in the last 30 minutes, so much skull cracking and explosions that it really only should be witnessed with the fellas. In-between there’s still plenty of car chases and butt kicking, just not quite as fun as the climax.
The obvious sore spot is the character development, story and dialogue. Sly has put out some really solid stuff lately with “Rocky Balboa” and “Rambo”, so I was somehow a little disappointed that he didn’t put a bit more effort into creating some characters that didn’t seem to be cut out of cardboard, or a story that was a bit more than of the “save the girl” variety. I didn’t let that ruin my enjoyment of course, but I had this small side of hope that he’d not only deliver a great action movie but maybe even pack in some authenticity with it as well, but not so much.
Why you won’t like this:
You’re expecting something with more depth than “The Marine”.
So yeah, the story is dumb, the characters are simple, the dialogue is laughable and the wit is left somewhere out in the haze of gun-smoke, but I freaking enjoyed myself. At one point, stuff starts blowing up and you don’t even know why it’s exploding, it just needed to, and that’s good enough for me.
2.5 out of 5 stars.
Starring: Stylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Mickey Rourke, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Eric Roberts, Randy Couture, Steve Austin, Terry Crews, Charisma Carpenter
Director: Stylvester Stallone
Running Time: 1 hr. 43 min.
Release Date: August 13, 2010