Saturday, August 14, 2010


Director Sylvester Stallone attempts to whip up a Granddaddy of an Action Milkshake in THE EXPENDABLES, a film chock full of guns, knives, choppers, tattoos, rock music, macho one-liners, explosions, and every action-star seen on the silver screen over the past 20 years. Despite the sausage-fest mentality, Stallone forgets to pack any meat into the recipe, along with any sort of heart, wit, or intelligence.

Barney (Stallone) and his team of mercenaries (Jason Statham, Jet Li, Randy Coutre, Terry Crews, Mickey Rourke) take on a job from the mysterious Mr. Church (Bruce Willis), involving the overthrowing of a dictator in a little country/island in the Gulf. The mission gets screwy with the involvement of the dictators daughter (Giselle Itie), an American drug runner (Eric Roberts), and one of Barney’s former men (Dolph Lundgren).

EXPENDABLES is a men-on-a-mission flick laced with buddy-buddy chemistry, devoid of any serious character or plot development. Where it does shine in loudness and flash, it falls miserably flat beyond that. The characters and plot are written as thin as paper, and are really not that interesting. No tears can be shed for any tragedy our massive group of heroes may endure, as no time is spent going beyond the surface of anything. The film spends all of its time and efforts blowing shit up and flexing muscle, which relegates it to a 13-year old boy flick.

The action scenes nearly make for things. They are unfortunately un-inspired and un-imaginative, with little dread to be seen. The weak structure of the battles is made up for by inserting a LOT of noise, flash, and explosions blowing bodies all over the place.

Stallone does manage to assemble one hell of a cast, and that alone is nearly worth the price of admission. What he does with this ensemble pays off as well in a few fight scenes: Jet Li vs. Dolph Lundgren, Stallone vs. Steve Austin, for example. The big cameo by Arnold Schwarzenegger is amusing, and serves as a wink-wink moment. An expected, and long-awaited showdown between Stallone and Lundgren never takes place, which nearly takes the air out of the entire thing.

The finale is as loud and booming than anything ever put on screen, and is followed up by an epilogue that is as cliché as it is head-scratching. Overall too much time is spent on muscle and flame, and not enough on the characters or story. EXPENDABLES (a very misleading title, by the way) is worth a look for the mega-casting and booms, but is forgettable right away.