It’s been a long time since I last did a movie review, so I feel that I’m due. Today’s movie du jour is the Lionsgate film The Expendables. This movie stars Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Terry Crews, Dolph Lundgren, Randy Coture, Steve Austin, Eric Roberts, Mickey Rourke, Bruce Willis, and Arnold Schwarzenegger. The movie is directed by Stallone, and it is basically a love story from Sly to all of his fellow 80s action movie stars. The movie is rated R, and I’d go as far as to consider it a “hard” R…just as a movie of its ilk should be. I went into this movie with absolutely no expectations, and that basically sums up the expectation level of anyone who’d go to see this movie. If you’re expecting a long drawn exposition, you’re in the wrong theater.
The story – such as it were – is about a group of mercenaries that call themselves “The Expendables”. They take jobs no one else would want, especially if the risk for returning are slim to none. We first see this merry group of mercs (Stallone, Li, Crews, Lundgren, Statham) as they infiltrate a pirate ship and rescue some hostages. I would say that the standoff is handled amicably, but then I’d be lying. People get shot, stabbed, kicked, punched, and blowed up real good. Later, Barney Ross (Stallone) is met by a shadowy character named Mr. Church (Bruce Willis) and a rival leader named Trench (Schwarzenegger), and they are offered a job: stop a dictator and save a small island town. One refuses, the other accepts, and off we go.
This cast is too large to expound on, and they’re basically caricatures of themselves at this point, so I don’t think a character essay is necessary. Stallone leads, Statham is #2, Coture is a bit more stable, Crews is nuts, Lundgren is jacked in the head, and Li is…well…Li.
The movie is directed by Stallone and written – such as it were – by Stallone and David Callaham. There is sort of a minor side story between Statham and a character played by Charisma Carpenter, but it’s really filler. There’s also a hint of a story with Stallone and a female lead played by Gisele Itié, but it’s more fluff. The bombastic score by Brian Tyler is almost instantly forgettable.
Like I said in the first paragraph, you don’t go to a movie like this to see Shakespeare; you see a movie like this because you want to see stuff get blown up. I think it’s safe to say that this movie has that in spades. Buildings, cars, and people get obliterated. Jet Li has his happy feet. There is a fight for the ages in this film, and I refuse to say who it’s between. This film is a cacophony of death, destruction, and mayhem, and any child of the 80s who grew up watching Commando, Rambo, and Die Hard will love it. I’ll give it three out of five dragon heads and say catch a matinee.
Enjoy the big guns and the big booms from the masters of the game.