I remember seeing a test screening of The Expendables a couple years back, and was blown away (pun intended). But it was so entertaining that I wanted to watch it again and see the final finished/polished version of the movie.
The short of it, a mercenary team is sent to hostile territories to kill who ever the government wants, because the government doesn’t want their hands dirty. This veritable dream team comprises of Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Terry Crews, Randy Couture and Mickey Rourke (kinda). The bad guys who are sort of a dictatorship in a South American location are; Eric Roberts, David Zayas, Gary Daniels and Stone Cold Steve Austin.
The cast alone guarantees my seat in the theatre. So the bad guys are running a dictatorship in South America, Stallone gets the call to put a stop to this in a scene with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis. They fly there to discover that it’s out of their league, but then are convinced to come back because of the General’s Daughter. From then on… the movie it pretty much a set up for non-stop action, things blow up, and they blow up well.
The good; Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Sylvester Stallone are finally in one scene, in one movie, TOGETHER. The scene is filled with one liners from these action star staples. The cast is awesome. The opening really sets the tone, from the first shot fired you know what you’re going to get. Stallone manages to assemble a dream team of action stars and at the same time craft a not to terrible story. It’s all about the gratuitous violence and action in this movie.
The bad; there are some action scene that were covered in the all too familiar hand held shakey-ness that reeks of Michael Bay. Examples of this are the car chase sequence and some of the action scene. One in particular is the scene where Jet Li and Jason Statham take on Gary Daniels, you get confused when Steve Austin and Randy Couture are fighting, like who’s who? is Couture with Daniels and Li with Austin? It could be because of the spec ops uniform, but whatever.
With the third movie being released last week, I feel the first film is decent, but they didn’t have the tone quite right yet.
Overall, if you see this movie and don’t like it, then this movie is not for you. Watching this movie you have to know what you’re going to get, and when you get it you cheer. The audience erupted in all the same places when I saw it in the test screening and when it was released. There’s definitely an added bonus watching The Expendables in a large group. The Expendables manages to take comic book cut out characters, a simple plot, almost cartoon violence, and create a decent flick. The 80s are back!