REVIEW: The Expendables

Posted by under *mixed, Movies |

The Expendables is exactly what you would imagine it to be if you were to really take a minute to think about it and let those initial nice feelings rooted in nostalgia pass. It’s a 80’s action movie revival written and directed by Sylvester Stallone and starring Stallone, Dolph Lundgren and Mickey Rourke. The movie is overloaded with ultraviolence and shaky camera shots because that’s what Stallone thinks is relevant in 2010. That’s not to say it’s not a fun movie. It is. It has a few fun action scenes and its share of laughs. It’s just not the magic action movie that the Internet hype wants you to believe it is.

Stallone leads a team of mercenaries called the Expendables. As the film opens, in addition to Lundgren the team includes Crank’s Jason Statham, Jet Li and former UFC champion Randy Couture. As always in this type of movie, they’re the best at what they do and what they do is killing bad guys. In this case, the Expendables are facing off against an evil ex-CIA agent who is running drugs out of some imaginary South American country. Villains in the film are played by former WWF champion “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and 80’s icon Eric Roberts. There are a few other major actors who appear in the film briefly, but what it all amounts to is just stunt casting. The film seeks to give every character their moment to shine, but Stallone would have been better served by a tighter focus on a smaller cast.

Rourke, Statham and Li make the most of their roles and are the highlights of the film and each get their moment to shine. The first half of The Expendables is actually as much a Statham movie as it is a Stallone vehicle and that’s a good thing. Stallone is typical Stallone throughout. We know him so well and he’s so sure of himself in the action star role that he cannot help but shine… even in his sixties. Austin and Couture mostly stand around and look like tough guys until they’re unleashed during the climax.

The violence throughout is over the top, bloody, cartoonish and constant. The explosions get larger as the film goes on. The bad guys die in spectacular fashion and mostly have terrible aim. But the main thing about the action is that it doesn’t feel at all fresh. There’s a reason this type of action movie died out.

Charisma Carpenter of Angel fame makes a decent enough cameo. I had actually forgotten she ever existed because it had been so long since I had seen her in anything. So I’d say it was a nice little surprise.

Overall it’s a dumb, fun movie that I’m tempted to say is not worth paying ten plus dollars to see on the big screen except for the fact that the community viewing aspect of viewing it in a theater might enhance the film.

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