Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Randy Couture, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Eric Roberts, Steve Austin, David Zayas, Giselle Itié, Gary Daniels, Terry Crews, Mickey Rourke
Directed by: Sylvester Stallone
Written By: Dave Callaham, Sylvester Stallone
Rating: R (US) Running Time: 1 hr 43min
The Expendables is kind of a homage to the action films of the 80’s. Which are violent, cheesy, exciting, memorable, and entertaining without taking themselves too seriously. If they had followed that simple formula in The Expendables, I might have rated this film higher, but they don’t and what we’re given runs too long and too slowly, and isn’t actually that well made.
The story is basically serviceable for a movie like this, and includes the usual ingredients. Two dimensional bad buys, tough muscular heroes, large explosions and a damsel in distress. It differentiates itself from the usual run of the mill action film through its casting. Stallone somehow managed to assemble a great list of action superstars for this film. But I guess that was the point, and why The Expendables came to be. Pull together a who’s who of action movie royalty and find a movie vehicle to put them in.
That premise is sound as far as I’m concerned, but the execution wasn’t there. There’s way too much shaky camera movement going on during the action, and the close quarter fight sequences are actually edited badly. The Expendables also get’s too bogged down with Lee’s (Jason Stratham) girlfriend issues, Barney’s (Sylvester Stallone) soul-searching and a completely unnecessary subplot about a turncoat member of the team called Gunner Jensen (Dolph Lundgren).
If you’re looking for mindless action, then The Expendables certainly delivers on that front. Just not in the tongue in cheek way that would have made it really memorable. It’s very violent and bloody, but the language for the most part is pretty clean.
Some the larger explosions are pretty impressive, but this isn’t a big screen flick. A HD viewing at home will service this film well enough.
Best moment of action: << Spoiler! >>
There was one action scene that stood out for me.
Barney and Lee have escaped an island they were checking out in their sea-plane. Barney then decides to turn the plane around an attack the soldiers still left on the dock. Lee climbs down to operate a set of large guns built into the nose of the plane, and as they come around for their pass, he unloads on the dock. Bullets, blood and bodies explode, and as they pass over the dock Barney releases some of the planes fuel and douses anyone still stupid enough to be still standing there. Lee then uses a flare gun to ignite the fuel, and the entire dock explodes! Most of the action was poorly staged and edited in The Expendables, but this one scene stood out for me.