Saturday, August 14, 2010

Movie Review: The Expendables

It doesn't take a genius to figure out why I had to see this movie. As a kid growing up in the 80's and 90's, I absolutely HAD TO.

Movie: The Expendables

Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture, Terry Crews, Mickey Rourke, Steve Austin, Bruce Willis, and Arnold Schwarzenegger

Directed By: Sylvester Stallone

No logical reason. No excuses. This movie had Stallone, Statham, Li, Rourke, Lundgren, Crews, Couture, Austin, and pretty much every other bad ass known to humanity that has ever contributed to the world of awesome and popculture. Gathered together like the superfriends and heroes they are courtesy of director Sly, all of these action movie guys converged in "The Expendables", which Stallone attributes as a tribute to the 80's and 90's action films of yesteryear gone by. Having seen Rambo raise hell and Arnold "Commando" his way off hapless wussies, I was surrounded by gung ho elements that I could literally lose my whole being to when it came down to a fist fight, and this movie proves you don't want to mess with these boys action-wise. I came watching this flick with a couple of my best buddies yesterday, and we weren't disappointed when we walked out of the theater after the two hour path of destruction story carved out by Stallone and crew. However, that's not to say the movie doesn't have its flaws, and there are several to point out in this review. Spoilers be abound if you are one of the weary ones, so I'd suggest turning away if you want to keep your mind fresh and enjoy this one like a virgin. Otherwise, read on and learn my take on things from a action movie guy's point of view.

First things first - The Expendables was intended to be a throwback to the old school action movie mentality, so don't expect any epic plot or story on this one. It's your typical "good guys going against the bad guys" scenario, and that's as simple as it gets. As mercenaries, they kill for a living and blow the living $@## out of their targets, so you can expect lots of explosions, gunfire, and bloodshed to be involved. As a Stallone project, it's very much in the same vein as his previous flick - John Rambo; Only you got an all star cast of other action guys backing him up and taking names... literally. Sly plays the leader of the group, Barney, who leads his team of Expendables on merc missions, namely Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture, and Terry Crews. These guys have no moral compulsions when it comes to killing, and when a job needs to be done, they're professional about it, right down to the end. It's only when the CIA get involved that things start to become messy, and when Barney and crew travel to South America for another job, things don't go according to plan and an innocent life is left hanging in the balance. Going against their M.O and making it a personal mission of redemption, Barney leads his Expendables on what looks like a real suicide mission. Then again, they're the best at what they do, and what they do isn't very nice.

The Expendables Trailer

Ok, plot-wise, this movie is your typical B-Movie action flick. It was a pretty weak and obvious story, and you could see what was going to happen a mile away, but frankly, all I cared about was the action, and that's all that mattered in my case at least. Again, there's no way a movie like this can compete to a plot that's as diverse as Inception, but it sure makes up for it with some serious action star power. I've mentioned the primary cast as it is, but there's more faces involved here than Sly and crew. Mr. Stallone was really aiming for the top bill with this flick, and so he went all out and invited two other major stars from the action movie era, namely Bruce Willis and The Governator himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger! Yes, two of his partners from Planet Hollywood make a cameo appearance in a scene that sets up the major plot of this movie, so this marks the first time in history where these three can be seen together in a big budget action flick such as this, and since he assumed office, Arnold hasn't been in any action flick... until now! Overall, that was one of the big draws and come ons The Expendables had, but let's not forget the action itself. Stallone, Statham, Li, and the gang dominate in so many ways by incapacitating and spilling the guts of their victims all around the place. From using CQC combat skills and martial arts prowess to delivering lead and metal heaven with heavy guns on the bodies of their victims, nothing is as glorious as pure testosterone driving into the minds of viewers watching senseless violence ensue. Of course, that may not appeal to audiences who expect intellectual activity on their films, and the way the film depicts itself in an over-the-top manner can be downright unbelievable to the average viewer. In fact, the fight scenes alone are almost one-sided and in The Expendables favor, and a certain match between two real life professional brawlers just ended in a manner I wouldn't have seen coming. Also, certain action scenes and key dialogue sequences were rather dull and were just there to give nods and poke fun at the actors and their background. True fans with a good eye will notice immediately what those references are, but then again, everything else matters little when you have guys beating and shooting the living crap out of each other, and that's probably the only thing you need here to draw excitement and appreciation for this movie.

Quite literally, you should enter The Expendables and expect what it set out to do - deliver no-brainer fun and action where it is required not to think at all. The sense of nostalgia fans of the action film genre feel for this film will generate some buzz around this movie, and that's all that matters when the product is all about tough guys shooting and blowing brains off their targets. Overall, it's all about the machismo fun, so just sit back, relax, and enjoy the movie for what it is - brainless action gone wild and alive!

Rating - 4/5

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