The Expendables has ’80s and ’90s action nostalgia written all over it. It brings together some of the best of the beefed-up action stars of yesterday and today, and it’s a chance for Sylvester Stallone to recreate all the best of the blood, bullets, brawn and bad guys on a level that we haven’t seen in many years. If your tired of all the techno-laden action films of recent years, then go see this without making judgments regarding the tremendous amount of carnage involved in it. This film is a pure adrenaline, fist-pumping response to all the badly done fight scenes and action sequences that have been brought to the screen in recent years. The action here is real and so are the muscles.
This movie brings together some of the true heavyweights of the action genre that must be mentioned: first there is Stallone as Barney Ross and Jason Statham as a knife-wielding Lee Christmas. Their Expendable commando buddies for hire include Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, former NFL’er Terry Crews, Randy Couture, and their ex-crew member Mickey Rourke as a tattooing, cowboy-hat wearing, tough guy. Also included are two of the meanest bad guys Eric Roberts (who practically steals the show) and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin as two evil dudes out to smuggle a serious amount of cocaine into the U.S. while working with a dictator of a small island, General Gaza. And man are these guys bad. Roberts delivers his lines with such glibness you wonder if he’s about to have the Generals head cut off when he insults him. And Austin is a human boulder and wrecking machine who you can’t wait to see what his demise will be….if at all! Yeah these guys remind us of the good old days when you could almost smell the sweat coming off the screen. And, yes, of course Stallone and his Expendables must infiltrate the island and blow it all to pieces while saving the Generals daughter in the process. For Ross, it becomes a personal mission.
The best thing about this movie is that Stallone, who directed and co-wrote it (not an easy task!!), manages to give us explosions, blood, brawls and knife fights all rolled into one big epic flick that brings us back to the action films of the past when brawn took precedence over gadgetry and technical wizardry. Here, there’s just big guns, big explosions and a big body count!! And there is lots of room left for witty dialogue. It’s fun and smart for a macho, quickly edited action movie. Stallone is intelligent enough to let each star get his fair share of brawling fight scenes. He knows when to step back and let his movie counterparts take over! And even though Eric Roberts ad Mickey Rourke don’t have a scene together, it’s good to see them in the same film again.
But the part of the movie that makes it all worth while is the very short but much talked about, super-fine scene between three of the biggest action stars ever put on screen; Stallone, Bruce Willis and yes, Arnold Schwarzenegger all get to exchange insults together, and in a church no less!! Three action gods together at last. The scene is short but funny and it makes one wonder why Stallone didn’t get Jean-Claude Van Damme and Steven Segal as well. Stallone definitely knows how to make a tense and thrilling film while keeping the fight scenes even an smooth. No jumping or erratic camera movements here. And Stallone is still ripped enough to take the lead and still look good at his age while giving his patriots equal character time. These guys all look their parts, they seem to be having fun and the film doesn’t take itself too seriously. The movie wants you to expect a sequel or possible a franchise out of this and it leaves you gasping and laughing for breath at the same time. Stallone is a pretty classy filmmaker who has finally gone back to his roots to deliver a sound action, adventure flick filled with guns, guts, fights, danger and excitement that’s not over complicated and scores big on maximum carnage!