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Joseph’s Rating: 8/10
Player Affinity Composite Rating: 7.0/10
(4 reviews total)
The average age of a badass in The Expendables is 51.3 years. It would initially be easy to scoff at an attempt to make an action film featuring a cast of such folk, but any attempt to do so would fall flat under the viewing of any one of the incredibly well-directed scenes of carnage and chaos that Sylvester Stallone presents us with. He himself, 64 years young, can still whoop some wholesale ass, and this combined with the likes of Randy Couture, Jet Li, and Jason Statham equals many, many, many, many bad guys dying.
The Expendables are an elite mercenary unit often used by the government when they can’t get the Navy Seals or Army Rangers to do their dirty work. On one particular day, Church (Bruce Willis) summons Barney Ross (Stallone) to, well, a church (gotta have at least one church meeting in these movies) to task him with the job of eliminating a rogue CIA agent that has taken over the island of Vilena with the help of the nation’s military and a rather beefy bodyguard dude played by Stone Cold Steve Austin, and to use as many bullets as possible in doing so. And so he does.
There’s really not much more to it than that besides a couple subplots to the story that don’t really go anywhere like Statham’s love interest and the betrayal of Barney by a fellow Expendable whose motivation isn’t really all that clear. However, for the most part, The Expendables is everything the trailer promised it would be: testosterone, guns, and blowing shit up.
And that’s the strength of it. Too many action films of late make half-assed attempts at having a brain and insult the audience’s intelligence in doing so. Here is a film that knows its place and gleefully embraces it, hearkening back to the action movies of the ’80s that gave the stars of this movie the status they have today, before movies like Willis’s own Die Hard gave us a new, equally savory flavor of action flick with vulnerable heroes. Stallone correctly approached this with a tongue-in-cheek attitude and makes the violence in it so deliberately over-the-top — reminiscent of Kill Bill — that we can laugh at it. It’s also similar to Wes Craven’s Scream, in that it makes fun of its own genre while at the same time bathing in its conventions.
The detractors of the movie are few. Mickey Rourke should’ve had more to do, and the Eric Roberts’s rogue CIA agent has a nasty case of “Talking Villain Syndrome,” (or “monologuing” as Pixar’s similarly named but totally different The Incredibles called it) where he explains his motives to the protagonist when he should really just put a bullet in his head and be on his way. Small flaws though for a movie this enjoyable.
Research indicates that Wesley Snipes, Jean Claude Van Damme, and Steven Seagal were all approached to join the cast as well, but unfortunately had to turn it down for one reason of another (Van Damme’s reason being that the character wasn’t deep enough — go figure.). I also would’ve given my middle nut to see Chuck Norris in here, but I digress. Stallone and the rest of the cast have done an excellent job here, and this might be a rare time when I wouldn’t mind seeing a sequel, which Stallone always seems to have up his sleeve.
Directed by Sylvester Stallone
Written by David Callaham, Sylvester Stallone
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Mickey Rourke, Jason Statham, Jet Li
Other Player Affinity Reviews
Dinah thought: “If you just like to see stuff getting blown up and people getting killed, then The Expendables is the right movie to see. Stallone never promised anyone Shakespeare, just a film that brought all the old action heroes back together for one last hurrah. The main drawback is most of those “old action heroes” aren’t in the movie. Due to scheduling conflicts or ego disputes the fantasy cast is sans Jean-Claude Van Damme, Steven Segal, Kurt Russell, and Danny Trejo. Overlooking this major flaw, the action throwback is a good time with rippling muscles, big explosions, scummy bad guys, and of course throwaway one-liners. The hand-to-hand combat is good, Dolph Lundgren and Mickey Rourke make memorable appearances, and the chemistry between Stallone and Statham was surprisingly strong. It isn’t Hamlet, just a popcorn flick.” Rating: 6/10
Simon thought: “You’ve got to give it to Sylvester Stallone, he knows how to give the people what they want, all ten crimson pints of it. What starts with a rather clunky build-up and underwhelming opening skirmish between the rough and tough gang of mercenaries and some Somali pirates, slowly builds into a fist-pumping, laugh-out-loud-in-a-good-way, testosterone-drenched B-movie extravaganza. Stallone’s choice to utilize stunt work over effects, along with the crisp well-choreographed fight sequences again make a case for what should be the death of shaky cam. More admirable yet is Stallone knows his age and plays it as strength; the strictly platonic romance with a Spanish beauty is particularly refreshing. Jason Statham by far gets the juiciest, most badass role as the knife-wielding right-hand man of Stallone’s Barney although Terry Crews has a scene that will without a doubt be everyone’s favorite. Tongue-in-cheek, but never harsh to its own genre, The Expendables is nearly everything we could have hoped for in this action-hero reunion.” Rating: 7/10
Kieran thought: “The Expendables was never meant to be intelligential exercise and its target audience knows that they are not getting a dramatic masterpiece. The Expendables does suffer problems: it has some weak acting, particular from David Zayas and Gisele Itié, bad dialogue, and plot was treated as a minor inconvenience. The subplots of the film just pointlessly extend the movie, such as Jason Statham’s love interest, and the film does look for any excuse for an action sequence — but that was to be expected. Also, many of the characters were really under-developed, focusing mainly on Stallone and Statham at the expense of the others. But the film was also a bloody enjoyable experience, an old-school actioner with lots of violence that will satisfy the crowd. Stallone knows how to deliver an action film: have a large amount of gun battles, explosions galore and a lots of martial arts and knife-throwing sequences. It is refreshing to see a film that relishes its bloody nature and uses as much natural stunt work as possible. Just turn your brain off and enjoy the action.” Rating: 7/10
Player Affinity Composite Rating: 7.0/10