The Expendables (2010)

Barney Ross leads the Expendables, a band of highly skilled mercenaries including knife enthusiast Lee Christmas, martial arts expert Yin Yang, heavy weapons specialist Hale Caesar, demolitionist Toll Road and loose-cannon sniper Gunner Jensen. When the group is commissioned by the mysterious Mr. Church to assassinate the merciless dictator of a small South American island, Barney and Lee head to the remote locale to scout out their opposition. Once there, they meet with local rebel Sandra and discover the true nature of the conflict engulfing the city. When they escape the island and Sandra stays behind, Ross must choose to either walk away and save his own life - or attempt a suicidal rescue mission that might just save his soul. - synopsis from IMDB

 Cast  - full listing

 Genres

action, crime

 Facts & Figures

Directed by Sylvester Stallone.

Rated 6.5 on IMDB from 282070 votes.

Runtime: 103 min.

 Review

This was a busy project for Stallone. Producing, directing, acting; he went all-out for The Expendables. A real shame then, that the end result doesn’t really shine. The only things shining are the blood sprays from exploded heads and the testosterone. No, you should probably not take your girlfriend to The Expendables. Mind you, you’ll still have a good time, as did I.

Maybe it was the busy schedule, but somehow Stallone seems to have forgotten a couple of things that make a good action movie into a great action movie. And because he’ll most definitely be reading this, I’ll list some of them here for reference when he starts working on the inevitable sequel, which has already been announced.

Epic. You need your story to rise above the simple acts that constitute it. A certain grandness and feeling of awe can be conveyed by sweeping across more than the story’s own boundaries. Which doesn’t mean bigger explosions. Anyway, this movie has plenty of that to get the splatter bonus. It means tying the story into the world around it by showing the impact all the action is having and how the people involved are dealing with the mayhem.

Real dudes. Action heroes are still just men or women. They can’t be ruthless all the time or timid and cool under all circumstances. We need to know them as well, so you need to tell us how they came to be the people they are now. Don’t dwell on it, just get us involved. And if you have a really big team, such as in this case, make it smaller. We don’t need ‘em all.

Limits. Action is action because it differs from non-action. Meaning, you can only get away with a certain amount of rounds fired and limbs flying across the screen before we need a breath and want to munch some popcorn while one of the astonishingly-still-not-dead-heroes says something tacky and completely inappropriate.

Humor. Lots of it. Provides a light-hearted atmosphere to improve the experience of viewing excessive amounts of violence.

Good music. The Matrix had it, xXx had it and Shaft had it. And that’s just off the top of my head. A couple of good rock songs or some tough-guy tunes. Keep it simple and turn up the volume.

Three-Dee. Why wasn’t this movie in 3D? That would have been the icing on the cake! OK, just taking the p*ss.

This movie fails on these counts because there’s too much being blown to bits, but apparently nobody is affected outside of the skirmish - this makes the storyline too cramped to be impressive. And it isn’t exactly made up for by an interesting note to make it unique. I can’t remember any music at all. The jokes earned a grin, but nothing more. The action scenes were action-packed, but too long and extreme. There were breaks, but none of the too-large cast managed to add some character insight during these intermezzos - no character development.

I really enjoyed The Expendables but unfortunately, it fails to add that little bit extra to make it special.

Seen: 25 Aug 2010

The Expendables

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