The Expendables Directed by: Sylvester Stallone Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Eric Roberts, Mickey Rourke, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture, Steve Austin, Terry Crews Running Time: 1 hr 42 mins Rating: R Release Date: August 13, 2010
PLOT: A group of contract killers led by Barney (Stallone) go to the island of Vilena to stop an evil dictator and his former CIA partner.
WHO'S IT FOR? Testicular fortitude comes to mind when thinking of the appropriate audience. If you've sat through a late-night cable action movie starring any one of these guys, then you're probably willing and able to watch The Expendables.
EXPECTATIONS: Wesley Snipes, Jean-Claude Van Damme and Steven Seagal weren't able to join for various reasons, but everyone else is here. I wanted a smash'em up, crash'em up, jolly good time. After all, isn't that the point of this film?
Sylvester Stallone as Barney Ross: Barney falls for a woman that could be his granddaughter in real life when scoping out a potential job in Vilena. When he's next to Arnold Schwarzenegger you realize that Stallone is fighting father time much better than Arnold. The initials HGH may or may not have something to do with that. Still, Stallone can chew a cigar, run toward a plane and wrestler a bad guy with the best of them. It's unfortunate Barney had nothing useful to say, but those wanting to stare at Stallone will be rewarded. Score: 6
Jason Statham as Lee Christmas: Ouch. And it's not just the name that is never probably used as a joke. The whole character is pretty awful. The romance on the side is laughable. The fight with the ex-boyfriend is poorly showcased. It's just not good. What's more, Statham could have easily played ALL the other side roles on "team good." Li, Coutre and Crews are barely given screen time and it's sad that they make room for Christmas. Score: 3
Eric Roberts as James Munroe: I have no idea if Roberts knows that he overacts. I also have no idea if he takes his career seriously. So, with this role as the ex-CIA agent who wants to run drugs through Vilena, I don't know if I am laughing at this acting, or with his acting. Let's just call it even and give him a middle-of-the-road score. Score: 5
Mickey Rourke as Tool: He throws knifes. He's a tattoo artist. He cries. One of these things didn't belong in this film. And it's unforgivable. Score: 2
Dolph Lundgren as Gunner Jensen: You know the guy who should be shot in the beginning of an action flick, yet the good guy lets him live for no good reason on so then he can come back and muck up future plans? That's Gunner. Yes, the star of Red Scorpion is back people! Oh, you were probably thinking more along the lines of Ivan Drago from Rocky IV. Yeah, me too. And I was excited for him to share screen time with Stallone again. I quickly realized I was wrong to want that. Gunner begs to be a part of the Expendables team, just like Lundgren has been desperately searching for work in Hollywood. It ain't pretty. Score: 3
TALKING: Stallone and Schwarzenegger share a "presidential" moment. Otherwise, no lines are memorable. None. Statham and Stallone have undercover names of Budha and Pest. Get it! Together they're Buddapest! Hilarious! It's so freaking sad that Stallone doesn't have better self awareness out of what people want from these guys. We needed someone like Bill Simmons (The Sports Guy from ESPN's Page 2) to grab this script before they started filming. What would have been wrong with Lundgreen saying "He's like a piece of iron" to Stallone. Or how about Bruce Willis saying, "He'll be back," when Schwarzenegger walks away? Look, these guys are brought together for a reason ... remember the reason. Score: 2
SIGHTS: SCS (Shaky Camera Syndrome) to the extreme. It was painful to try and focus on this movie. I wanted to see Statham, Li and Stallone move. I wanted to see them actually kick some ass. Unfortunately, we only see about 1/5th of their moves. Stallone did a terrible job capturing the action. Yes, it's violently amusing that a guy on fire also gets punched in the face. But it took me a couple of minutes to actually figure out who was doing the punching. Getting Statham to pop out of the front of the airplane was the only visual moment that I will remember from a film that should have been filled with them. Score: 4
SOUNDS: Things blow up, and the noise is loud for all of it. When "The Boys Are Back in Town" by Thin Lizzy closes out the movie, I just kept thinking, "No, they're not." Score: 3
BEST SCENE: It was only a couple of minutes long, but watching Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Stallone chat it up in a church. This is what the entire film was supposed to be, right? A little tongue in cheek, a lot of bravado.
ENDING: The guys all get back together and ... wait a minute, what the hell is Lundgren doing there? Seriously, they're OK with him after the car chase and attempted murder? Sigh. Let's throw some knives and get this over with.
QUESTIONS: Why not bring everyone back and put this in the hands of someone who knows what he is doing? You don't think Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez would make room in their schedule for these guys (and a couple more)?
REWATCHABILITY: I don't want to watch this again. If I did, I don't think there is a seat far enough away to shake all of the super close-ups that I had to witness.
We want to remember. We want to revel. We want to watch things explode. Stallone only understands one of these things. So yes, there will be explosions. Unfortunately there isn't much else. What's the point of this movie? To see all of these action stars in one place of course. But what's the point of the story? Some evil dictator, blah, blah, blah. All of the time spent with plot and purpose is pointless. There is nothing amusing, exciting or tense about this film. If it wasn't for all of these names (not the performances, simply the names) it would be a straight-to-DVD flick. In fact, even just one of these names would not be enough to get butts in the theater. So, we sit, get excited for some nostalgia and then wait for the action. Once the action hits, we can only see parts because it's dark and shaky. Stallone proved he can still make himself larger than life with Rocky Balboa. He failed to show he can do it for others.
FINAL SCORE: 4/10