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The Expendables

2010 film directed by Sylvester Stallone

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Lives up to its name in big ways.

  • Sep 16, 2012
* out of ****

"The Expendables" is, simply put, a missed opportunity. I really do dig what Sylvester Stallone, operating from both ends of the camera as co-writer/director and star, is trying to do by bringing together a few of the action genre's biggest stars from now-and-then and putting them all in one movie; but his reach can't even be said to exceed his grasp, because there honestly isn't enough ambition in this picture for me to even admire it in such regards. While it did not require one, it does not have a good script, nor does it possess good plotting even for what it is. It also doesn't have good acting, although I suppose that's not required either. What it does have is some of the clumsiest action/stunt choreography, lamest explosions, most disappointing gore, and overall most awkward direction I've seen in a long time.

The title refers to the heroes; a group of biker mercenaries headed by Barney Ross (Stallone) who are first seen rescuing hostages from a boat-full of Somali pirates. The rest of the team consists of Lee Christmas (Jason Statham), martial arts expert Yin Yang (Jet Lee), hotheaded sniper Gunnar Jensen (Dolph Lundgren), Hale Caesar (Terry Crews), and bomberman Toll Road (Randy Couture). While they don't always get along, they're good at what they do; which is why an ominous man known only as Mr. Church (Bruce Willis, in what feels like a brief cameo appearance) hires Barney and his boys to bring the dictator General Garza (David Zayas) down from his throne on an island located within the Gulf of Mexico.

Only Christmas and Ross go at first. They meet their contact, a beautiful woman named Sandra (Gisele Itie); although it doesn't take long for their cover to be blown right from atop their pretty little heads. They do, however, discover that Garza is being manipulated by an ex-CIA officer by the name of James Munroe (Eric Roberts), who has a pair of henchmen played by Steve Austin and Gary Daniels. They escape the island but must return again to rescue Sandra after finding out that she is, in fact, Garza's daughter; although she's not endangered at the hands of her own father, but rather Munroe and his men.

From then on, it's all blood and explosions; neither being as impressive or epic as they obviously want to be. The film sets itself up to be the ultimate guy movie; a sort of throwback to 80's action with mostly male characters and an all-male sensibility to it. The jokes are cheap (and unfunny). The women are objects - nice looking ones too - although the paper-thin character writing is not just reserved for them alone. The men are essentially just as boring. "The Expendables" does not give a shit about characters; although some of the best, classic, purest action pictures don't either. The flick has its heart in the right place, but there's nothing exciting about the action that's occurring on-screen since it sits on the border between embracing silliness and taking itself too seriously.

In the end, it's an experience without any joy to be had from the audience (unless you're like super nostalgic, in which case I can understand you getting some enjoyment out of seeing these actors together like this). The only thing about it that I can honestly say I liked was a role filled by Mickey Rourke; a good performance amongst this black, soulless mass that sadly can't quite make up for the rest of it (actually, not even close). Arnold Schwarzenegger also appears in an un-credited cameo in the scene with Mr. Church, a small role that was highly anticipated by those who just wanted to see the Governator back on the big screen again. Unfortunately, the terrible timing of the dialogue does good to fuck up even his scene, among others. I hate puns, but from where I'm standing, "The Expendables" lives up to its name in big ways.

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More The Expendables reviews
review by . August 13, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
A Glowing TRIBUTE To ACTION Heroes And Action Movies!!
Remember the good ol’ 80’s and the 90’s when action movies that channeled unreasonable amounts of male testosterone ran rampant in the Multiplexes? Well, if you’re a fan of those movies, you will definitely DIG writer/director Sylvester Stallone’s “THE EXPENDABLES”. It is a film that boasts of a cast made of several action stars and pays homage to the action heroes and movies that gave us the entertainment that seemed all but forgotten in this age of remakes, …
review by . August 13, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
For a while I've gotten tired of the "new" guard of action movies.  Usually too stylized with little guys running around.  Too much bullet time and taking themselves so seriously.  Stallone knew what worked in the 80s of headbanging, gun barrel melting fun and he transplants that here perfectly.  The fact that these guys have a name like "Expendable" somehow meaning that they could be thrown away is a crime to waste such gusto and cool.      …
review by . November 14, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
There was a time when you could rely on a bad action film to at least supply you with action. "The Expendables," which is said to be an homage to the guy films of the 1980s and 1990s, doesn't give you action so much as a blur of images chopped together so badly, you can barely revel in the violence they're meant to depict. What's the point in creating scene after scene of shootings and stabbings and explosions when the camera doesn't linger long enough on the aftermath? …
review by . November 15, 2010
This movie is exactly what I wanted it to be. A bunch of out dated eighties stars killing brown and black people. The worst thing that could have happened to this movie is if it became a social commentary. That is probably the only bullet that gets dodged in this one.      Sly Stallone co-wrote, directs, and stars in a movie about mercenaries for hire. Their newest mission is to stop a South American dictator with a connection to drugs and the CIA, holy god even the headline …
review by . September 27, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
   Stop me if you’ve  heard this joke. Stone Cold Steve Austin, Mickey Rourke, Sylvester Stallone, Jet Li, Jason Statham, Terry Crews, Randy Couture, Dolph Lundgren, Eric Roberts, Bruce Willis, and Arnold Schwarzenegger all walked into a bar, and they decided to make a movie about it. The bloody, testosterone-fueled macho child of a film is the punchline. To test and see if you would like this film, examine this piece of dialogue, directly quoted from the film. Steve Austin-”How …
Quick Tip by . August 16, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
My son saw it and said it was real good. Looking forward to finding some time to get to this. Haven't seen a really good action flick like this since Inglorius Basterds.
Quick Tip by . August 15, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Packed with some of the best action stars, The Expendables runs on explosions, fight scenes and the pure thrill of action. If you want a good time with a wonderful cast, action and humor, then this one is for you.
Quick Tip by . August 13, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Rip roaring action adventure in the old 80's sense. Keeps going, rarely lets up and takes everyones names.
About the reviewer
Ryan J. Marshall ()
Ranked #11
It's very likely that the only kind of reviews I'll ever post here are movie reviews. I'm very passionate about film; and at this point, it pretty much controls my life. Film gives us a purpose; … more
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  • The Expendables is a 2010 American ensemble action film written by David Callaham and Sylvester Stallone, and directed by Stallone. The film follows a group of elite mercenaries, charged with a mission to overthrow a Latin American dictator. The film is an homage to the blockbuster action films of the 1980s and early 1990s, and stars an array of action veterans from those decades, including Stallone, Dolph Lundgren, Mickey Rourke, Jet Li, Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger (the latter two in cameo roles), as well as more recent stars such as Jason Statham, Terry Crews, Randy Couture, and Steve Austin.
  • They might be expendable, but they sure are durable:The Expendablesis crammed with well-traveled action heroes, called to a summit meeting here to capture some of that good old ultraviolent '80s-movie feel. Star-director Sylvester Stallone rides herd as the leader of this mercenary band, which includes Jason Statham, Jet Li, and Stallone's oldRocky Vnemesis Dolph Lundgren. Mickey Rourke, looking like a car wreck on Highway 61, plays the tattoo artist who communicates the gang's assignments to Stallone; throw in Terry Crews and Ultimate Fighting champ Randy Couture, and you've got a badass crew indeed. The specifics here involve a Latin American island where US interests have mucked up the local politics beyond repair--but when Sly's eye is caught by the feisty ...
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    Movies, Action Movies, Action, Jet Li, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis, Mickey Rourke, Jason Statham, Randy Couture, Dolph Lundgren, Eric Roberts, David Zayas, Gary Daniels, Steve Austin, Amin Joseph, Terry Crews, Senyo Amoaku


    Director: Sylvester Stallone
    Genre: Action, Adventure
    Release Date: August 13th, 2010
    MPAA Rating: R
    Runtime: 103 mins
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