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'The Expendables': Too much muscle, not enough tussle

by jmaloni
Mon, Aug 23rd 2010 12:00 pm
Photo of Sylvester Stallone courtesy of: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sylvester_Stallone_66%C3%A8me_Festival_de_Venise_%28Mostra%29.jpg
Photo of Sylvester Stallone courtesy of: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sylvester_Stallone_66%C3%A8me_Festival_de_Venise_%28Mostra%29.jpg

Review by Matt Crouch

*What you are about to read is a cinematic review. Each movie is critiqued based on its rating-pending (PG or R), Genre (Comedy or Thriller), the acting, the score, the plot, and the overall quality of the movie. Hence, just because there are explosions, blood, or you think George Clooney/Megan Fox is "hot" does not mean it's a good film. Or does it. ... You be the judge.*


‘The Expendables' (2010)



Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Eric Roberts, Randy Couture, Steve Austin, David Zayas, Giselle Itie, Charisma Carpenter, Gary Daniels, Terry Crews and Mickey Rourke

Director:  Sylvester Stallone -- "Rocky 2-4," "Staying Alive," "Rambo (2008)"

Written by: Dave Callaham -- "Horsemen," "Doom"


Rogue CIA agent James Munroe (Roberts) muscles his way into a South American dictatorship to control the drug trade with dictator General Garza (Zayas). So, CIA agent "Mr. Church" (Willis) hires Barney Ross (Stallone) and his "Expendables," a band of highly skilled mercenaries including knife enthusiast Lee Christmas (Statham), martial arts expert Yin Yang (Austin, j/k, Li), heavy weapons specialist Hale Caesar (Crews), demolitionist Toll Road (Couture) and loose-cannon sniper Gunner Jensen (Lundgren), to take out the evil rulers of the small province. When Ross and Christmas fly out to scout the territory, they meet a local who is willing to help them rid the corrupt government. But they soon realize if they take on this mission, it'll become a small war.


Ok. ... Before half of you agree with me, and the other half of you want to rip my head off, know that as a movie critic I have to CRITIQUE every movie I watch. ... No matter how many "OMG!!!" moments there might be in the film.

Within the first five minutes, all of your guessing and excitement is ruined because you know exactly what kind of movie this is going to be. (Actually, you should have known when the movie trailer said, "Directed by Sylvester Stallone").

This is your typical "run and gun" movie. There are too many deaths, explosions, knives to the throat, drop kicks to face, WWF (yes, I said WWF) body slams, and buildings destroyed to count. However, there are just about as many ridiculous acting scenes. I will admit, that a lot of the martial arts shooting rampages are exciting and extremely fun. And each one of them has a KD Ratio that I've never seen before (COD reference). But these stars didn't have enough to hold this galactic blockbuster.

Some of you may argue, "That's how every '80s and '90s good action movie is like!" And because of who's in it, it'll make tons and tons of money. But there are much older classic movies that I not only prefer more than this film, but I feel are genuinely more original during their time, and with much better writing than this film (think "The Terminator," "Commando," "Rocky," "Top Gun," "Beverly Hills Cop," "Rambo," "Lethal Weapon," "Raiders of the Lost Ark," "Die Hard," "True Lies," "The Rock," "Tango & Cash," "Bloodsport," "The Matrix," "Predator," and, yes, I'll even say "Conan the Barbarian").

Listen, my point isn't to say these movies are far greater in action and acting than "The Expendables." But it was that movie that every guy born after 1980 dreamt about, or at least it was supposed to be.

But the film was dry and boring.

When Sly wanted you to get emotional about Rourke no longer having his "soul," and himself trying to save his ... I honestly laughed because of how terrible the scene was. They did absolutely nothing to get you to fall in love with the superstars. And that's not how the "Greats" were done back in the day. You understood, or almost related, in certain cases, to the action star before they started destroying the world and kicking its butt.

In the end, the plot was terrible, and the fighting was awesome. Those of you who liked and hated it will agree. And maybe I was expecting more with this cast. Either way, your mind is made up if you like this movie before you even sit down.



If you liked "Escape from LA," "Invasion USA," "Street Fighter," "Universal Soldier," "The Marine," "Ultra Warrior" or "Demolition Man."

3 out of 5 stars

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