Posts Tagged ‘Expendables’

In 2006 Sylvester Stallone  released Rocky Balboa, which was about the idea that you can still have something to offer no matter what your age. Stallone lives out this idea by adding a potential third franchise to his career in the Expendables. The Expendables is the all star action fest, written, directed and starring Sylvester Stallone. The cast includes Jason Stathem, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture, Steve Austin, Terry Crews, Mickey Rourke, and Bruce Willis, a virtual whose who of action stars. Arnold Schwarzenegger also has a cameo, marking the first time Sly and Arnold ever appeared on screen together.

The Expendables are a group of mercenaries recruited by the CIA via Bruce Willis’s character to take out a dictator of a banana republic. After Sly and Stathem run a reconnaissance mission on the island they turn down the job, but then have a change of heart. Sandra, their contact on the island, (conveniently a hot island girl) could have escaped with them but wanted to stay with her people. So the band gets together and goes to the island for reasons of justice.

We get a tiny bit of characterization for some of the characters. Lundgren developed a drug problem as the mercenary life is getting to him. Couture seems to have some mental issues. Jet Li wants more money for unknown reasons. Stathem has an estranged ex girlfriend. Stallone’s character is laid back, cocksure, an opposite to his more brooding, dark character of Rambo. Mickey Rourke carries the emotional weight of the movie. He has a great speech about redemption and how dark his soul is, which is the high point of the movie.

The scene with Arnold is funny where he and Sly trade one liners. Their characters in the movie don’t like each other, and hopefully will go at it in a sequel. The scene is for exposition, where Bruce Willis explains the mission. Arnold passes on the job, and the only reason he’s in the scene is because he’s Arnold and we finally get to see him on screen with Sly and Willis.

Needless to say the action is furious. Lots of gun fights, knife fights, brawls, car chases, etc. The problem is as fun as it is to watch there’s little to no tension. Anyone watching this kind of movie has grown up watching movies like Rambo and Commando, where one guy takes on an army. If Rambo can take on an army all by himself, what chance does the army have against five Rambos?


This brings me to another problem, that none of the heroes die (Or even get hurt that much). Half way through you think Dolph Lundgren dies, but he survives. Mickey Rourke doesn’t see any action, but there was one part of the story where he should have been killed. That would have further cemented his emotional weight of the film.  The only big name actor that gets killed is Austin, who is one of the villains. I thought maybe Coutre would die at least because his character was developed the least. They needed two or three other big name actors to play villains to add some tension.

It is simply amazing to see Sly still in action at 62. (He easily passes for a man in his 40s) If this indeed turns into a franchise, he may be the only actor star in three major franchises. (Rocky, Rambo, and Expendables) Again the action is fun, but the end result felt disappointing. Some of the special effects were real bad, like the opening scene with the laser sighting and the guy getting blown apart by a shotgun. Also in the end Austin’s death looked real bad, as did some of the building explosions. Fun but disappointing, 6/10.