Review: The Expendables

With a script just one step up from grunting and spectacular fight scenes and explosions, this movie is a fun throw back to the actions movies of the ‘80s and ‘90s. Welcome to testosterone on film.

Sylvester Stallone gets the band back together (except they never were together) of some of the biggest names in action movies, either as stars or in cameos. This is as much about turn your brain off and enjoying as it is hanging out with old friends and remembering when “I’ll be back” and “I will end you” meant something.

Barney and his crew of Expendables (Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Terry Crewes, Dolph Lundgren and Randy Couture) have taken a long, soul-crushing road of mercenary work. When an evil businessman (Eric Roberts) and a local dictator take over a South American country, oppressing its people, the mercs see this as an opportunity to make some money but also finally do some good…and maybe save a bit of their souls as well.

Oh this was fun. Take a bunch of action stars that haven’t really done much in a long time, mix in stars from mixed martial arts and pro wrestling, add a couple of surprise big names that normally wouldn’t be caught dead doing this, spinkle over the top explosions and violence and you have a movie. My favourite comment on The Expendables came from

Is it a good movie? Not hardly. But is it a good movie? Absolutely.

I have to give Stallone credit for going with the R-rating. He could have wussed out and made it PG but that’s not the place most of these guys got famous. Sly stuck with what his audience wanted to see – blood, brutal action and swear words. You get them all here. (Though no inappropriate, gratuitous nudity which was surprising)

Every one of the actors gets a moment to shine. Whether it’s matchups you never thought you’d see or actual acting (I’m looking at you Mickey Rourke), it was great to see these guys do their thing.

What’s bad? The script. Like really bad. Painful, “nails on a chalkboard” bad. It was like Stallone turned his brain to 1983 and wrote from there. No really, it’s bad. But are you really going to see this by what Dolph Lundgren says? Or by what he does to people? Exactly.

3 stars – good movie, take a friend. It’s not Academy Award-worthy but it’s not intended to be. It’s a fun way to spend a couple hours, hanging out with old friends and watching things blow up “real good.” FYI – This was meant to be seen in the theatre, so if you’re going to see it…see it how it’s suppose to be.

Random Recommendations
Cobra (1986) – “You’re the disease. I’m the cure.” And we’re off! Stallone takes bad acting and crazy violence to an artform here. And did I mention the love interest is Bridgette Nielsen? There was even an homage to Cobra in the Expendables when Stallone is driving his truck. A guilty pleasure.

Commando (1985) – I like to think this is where it all began. Arnold Schwarzeneger has 8 hours to save his daughter from bad guys. What more do you want? Bad one-liners. Lots of guns. Lots of explosions.  Crazy violence. This movie set up the formula for the parade of testosterone that permeated the decades to follow.

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