August 14, 2010
Review - " The Expendables " - (in theaters) By Roland Hansen
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When the gang isn't blowing up half of South America or any other third world country from the grip of rogue CIA agents (Eric
Roberts and Steve Austin) and cartoon military dictators (David Zayas from TV’s Dexter), they hang out at a biker bar next to
Tool's place where they shoot the shit, drink beer, and compare each other's knives. It's the ultimate man caves of caves,
where no one else but this cast of aging action characters seem to be hanging around.
Stallone delivers the movie with such breeze. There are, of course, wall-to-wall action sequences, but through all of its rocky
rubble and bloodshed, it’s just another Saturday morning cartoon.
The movie only dapples at the crumbling and harsh aging world these men of war find themselves in. Stallone as we can see
here is no Sam Peckenpah or Robert Aldrich in dealing action goods with a real sense of tragic undercurrent, though he does
very wisely use the best dramatic actor in the bunch, Rourke, to give a few classic monologues of regret and the violent past
him and his team led. Rourke can make a lot of tough guys cry if he wants to.
But then again, no real tough guy really wants to hear about their tragically violent self-worth when coming to see The
Expendables. They just want action, wisecracks, and surprise cameos galore. The action for the most part is delivered
especially when the younger dudes Statham, Li, and Crews are on screen, because they aren't quite so lumpy and old like
the rest of the cast.
Writer/director/actor Sylvester Stallone did his best to collect every living action actor on the planet for The Expendables, a
throwback to pointless action films from decades past. And the guys who signed up to be part of The Expendables pack
probably had a good time hanging with their cohorts, beating each other up, and taking part in over-the-top action
sequences. Audiences aren't choosing to see The Expendables because they're expecting Oscar-caliber acting or
screenwriting. No, we all want to see what happens when you put this many physically strong actors together in one film.
Audiences who go into the film expecting non-stop action and lots of time spent watching Stallone, Jason Statham, Terry
Crews, Dolph Lundgren, Steve Austin, Jet Li, and Randy Couture do what they do best are getting what they paid for.
There are some pretty incredible fight scenes within The Expendables' 103 minutes as well as some genuinely funny
moments (who knew Jet Li actually has some comedy chops?). The opening scene involving failed negotiations with Somalia
pirates and the rescue of their prisoners starts the film off on the right foot - and if said foot belongs to a pirate,
it gets promptly blown off. And then when Stallone meets Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger for a brief scene having to
do with the job in Vilena, it's ... well ... nirvana to action movie fans.
What's Mickey Rourke doing in this film? Playing a tattoo artist named Tool who owns the warehouse where the gang hangs
out in their downtime, Rourke doesn't get to be involved in any of the action, but he does get to actually act his pants off.
Rourke's performance just goes to show how little acting is required of his co-stars. Since the movie is pretty much a
compendium of who’s who of action stars, there should be no expectations other than for the movie to ROCK. And it does.
Thundering explosions – each one topping the previous – and a full-throttled narrative bring this picture to its
final destination as a genuine crowd pleaser. Yes, it has its moments of intended cheese and even a few moments of iffy
impromptu dialogue, but The Expendables isn’t trying to be anything more than a beautifully unrealistic action movie with
some serious badass attitude from its stars as they take down a rogue CIA agent and an evil dictator.
Truthfully, the film is a literal
and figurative blast from start
to finish. The fight scenes,
once the weapons have been
abandoned, are hair-raising
and brutally epic in length.
Unreltening and bloody. It's
a true steriod enraged,
testosterone fueled, uber
muscled slug-fest from
beginning to end. Big
explosions, big guns, big
muscles - it's worth the time.
Directed by: Sylvester Stallone
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Mickey Rourke,
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, Steve Austin, Dolph
Lundgren, & Eric Roberts.
Having left his mark on the action movie genre with such glorified
films as Rambo, Cobra, Lock Up, Over the Top, and Tango &
Cash, one would think Sylvester Stallone would hang up the
shoulder holster and put down the weights and just take it easy for
a bit. He concluded the Rambo and Rocky series with flying colors
and, in doing so, earned a hell of a lot more respect than he
already had. There’s nothing left to prove, right? Right? Yeah,
any other person would think that, but not Stallone. Apparently,
he's not alone in that thinking and damn if it isn't a good thing, too.
In a cinematic world full of masked superheroes, alter egos, and
hard-striking maniacal villains, it certainly is a breath of fresh air to
have someone like Stallone pound the hell out of moviegoers with
the old-school action and buddy feel of The Expendables, a film
that delivers everything you want and more from a once thought
With thousands of pounds in sweat, blood, muscle, bullets, and
explosives, Stallone leads the wolf pack of mercenaries called 'The
Expendables’ as Barney Ross. Following him are his wingman
Jason Statham as Lee Christmas, lightning quick Jet Li as Yin
Yang, psycho redneck Randy Couture as Toll Road, big machine
Terry Crews as Hail Caesar, strung out Dolph Lundgren as Gunner
Jensen, and wise old biker friend Mickey Rourke as Tool. They
are usually funded by a guy named Mr. Church (Bruce Willis,
owning the entire movie in his one scene) and a mysteriously
lumpy old politician, that Californians know all too well.