Stars: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Steve Austin, Terry Crews, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Eric Roberts, Randy Couture, Mickey Rourke, Charisma Carpenter, Giselle Itie, David Zayas, Gary Daniels and Hank Amos with cameos by Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger
Director: Sylvester Stallone
Scriptwriters: Sylvester Stallone and Dave Callahan
Rating: R for violence, language and scenes of torture
Running Length: one hour and 45 minutes
The Expendables is the perfect homage to the '80’s action films some of us grew up on. Wafer thin script, horrible acting and low budget special effects. It has them all. It is only the most die hard action fan that will be able to suffer through this one without at least one eye roll or audible sign of frustration. I had to laugh at the attempts made to deliver lines that were supposed to be dramatic but come off as humorous in light of the overall production.
The meager plot line revolves around a group of mercenaries hired by some random guy to go into a country and overthrow its military leader and some American drug cartel. Led by an aged Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) these five washed up misfits decide to go up against impossible odds to reclaim a bit of lost honor. With everything stacked against them they rely on the one thing that made action hero’s in the 80’s a success. If it moves shoot it, if it is inanimate; blow it up.
The main draw to this film is the only thing that makes it worth watching and that is seeing all the familiar faces that graced the action genre in its glory days. Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Steve Austin, and others make this a homecoming of sorts. Like great blues festivals that bring together the BB Kings and John Lee Hookers of the music world, The Expendables accomplishes at least that. At the same time it is sad to watch them try and run and jump. Even speaking seems to be hard for these guys who took too many sucker punches in their careers. I think I understood maybe one word from Lundgren and Stallone slurred and slobbered his way through most of the dialogue.
All of this would be bearable if there had been an inkling of a decent storyline or some sort of camaraderie among the cast. These guys are supposed to have served together for years yet they seem so awkward and uncomfortable around each other. The banter and attempts at buddy moments seem so stiff and rehearsed. The plot is shallow and so riddled with holes that after a while you stop caring. It is rumored that Jean-Claude Van Damme was offered a role, but he turned it down claiming that there was no substance in the character!! You know that has to be bad! Granted these films where never huge on story arcs but this was pathetic. The only saving grace in the film are a couple of fun cameos and Mickey Rourke as a philosophical tattoo artist.
It is rated R for strong action and bloody violence throughout, and for some language. The main issue is of course the violence. The language is rather tame considering they had freedom to slather it on if needed. There are lots, and I mean lots, of gun fights, knife fights, fist fights, and even a lovers spat. So keep that in mind when making your box office selection. Sadly I can only give this 2 out of 5 knee braces. I wanted it to be great and I looked forward to seeing all the guys together in one film. But the end result was just hard to watch. I have a feeling Schwarzenegger is feeling pretty good about his career decisions about now. So says Matt Mungle.
Review copyright 2010 Mungleshow Productions. Used by Permission.
As you can see from the cast
list, just about everyone in Hollywood who can stand unaided is in this
film. The story (co-penned by Sylvester Stallone) is about a group of mercenaries
called The Expendables (watch the tattoos) who go around the world and
accomplish impossible deeds (look out, A-Team). They acknowledge that time
is going by and it is harder to stay in shape, though these guys are built
like 18-wheelers (Dolph Lundgren like two 18-wheelers) and carry guns that
weigh as much as the average boulder and sound like six July 4th fireworks
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