The Expendables

2010-10-29 16:26
The Expendables

What it's about:

A team of mercenaries is hired to take out a ruthless South American dictator. They soon realise that the situation on the ground is a little more complicated than their employer would have had them believe, involving a drug kingpin, US intelligence, and the daughter of the ruler in question.

What we thought:

Never mind the plot. The basic idea of The Expendables is overpowering. Get some of the toughest guys from the action movie world together, build a plot that will involve lots of explosions – of both stuff and of people – and have some fun. 

That it does, as everyone from Sly, through Willis, Rourke, Li and even Eric Roberts seem to really love being B-movie badasses. There's no need for them to act in this movie, because it essentially collides all their respective action movie roles into a flattened collage of popcorn and Coke.

But there's an unexpected flag in what should have been a straight sprint to the box office. The key fumble in the mix is that the subplot involving the big, tortured lug played by Dolph Lundgren is more intriguing than the main thrust of the story.

A pity that it's treated as an aside, because a lot more might have been done with the movie had we spent the time watching a 6'5" Swede wringing his hands over questions of loyalty, pride, and so forth. Then blowing things up. Instead, Dolph's appearances feel a bit like those gambling ads he's in – random and oblique.

Another incomplete pass is the criminal under-use of Steve Austin, who has already proven himself a charismatic screen dude in The Condemned. Austin's script notes must have read something like "Look menacing". Which he does... until the end when he gets in on the hand-to-hand snot-klapping.

But these fumbles don't really matter in the end. Like we said, the premise of the movie project is overwhelming, because who doesn't want to see these guys get together for one more round on the big screen? And a special mention must go to Eric Roberts, who seems an unnatural choice, at first, for a villain, but is delivering well in these roles lately (remember The Dark Knight?).

The highlight of the film is without doubt the big cameo scene most readers will already know about (no spoilers if you don't). It's hilarious, shove-shove, wink-wink, and even a little acerbic. Basically, everything the sequel will want to be, as long as they get Tarantino to direct it.

Exploding people? Yes, Stallone has opted to continue where John Rambo left off, thankfully not to the same gut-churning degree, but there's more than a suggestion of bloodlust-for-laughs in the psyche of the genre.

To paraphrase, in one scene, a bit of dialogue goes: "What's (Lundgren) doing?"
"He's hanging a pirate"
"No, really what's he doing?"
"No really, he's... hanging a pirate."

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Stallone, Willis, Li, Statham and Lundgren put their considerable box office muscle together for an explosive action epic.

preshen govender 2010/09/17 7:23 AM
  • Rating:
it is the Twilight for guys
bored_stiff 2010/10/06 3:12 PM
dude, im a girl and its at the top of my viewing list. action fanatic.
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