"Just got my ass kicked!"
The Expendables is an astounding success in that it transcends the boundaries of a mere action movie and to become what I can only describe as "a glorious ballet of death!" The cast is absolutely perfect for this one and the action is sufficiently hammy to pay homage to the greatest of the 80's action flicks. Sure it only has a 40% over on RT, but did you really think this was going to win an Oscar?
The plot involves a group of hired guns (The Expendables) led by the fearless Barney Ross (Stallone). We're introduced to the group mid mission as they attempt to rescue some innocents from what appears to be Somali pirates. We immediately realize these guys know their shit and that one of team named Gunner Jensen (Lundgren) has become a liability. Fast forward, back in the U.S. the team enjoys some down time, Lee Christmas (Jason Statham) goes to visit his girlfriend (Charisma Carpenter) who moved on while he was out the country and is now living with a comically villainous boyfriend. Meanwhile, Ross goes to set up another job which apparently means working for the CIA. Cue a meeting with Bruce Willis as the shady CIA contact and the old 80's rival Schwarzenegger who, unsurprisingly, portrays a rival mercenary. After taking the job, Ross and Christmas check out a fairly nondescript island where their job is to knock off the evil dictator and free up the island for the CIA to swoop in and take control. Needless to say it all goes pear-shaped and the team have to basically demolish the place before the credits roll.
Boy, having written that it looks a lot more complicated than it actually is. This is an homage to the classic 80's action flick, light on plot, big on action and one liners.
Stallone was actually looking pretty good in this one, though apparently he actually suffered a broken neck during one of the stunts on set. Luckily, after some emergency surgery, he's fine and still walking around. Statham was pretty much just Statham, he does tend to play the same character over and over. Really though, does anybody care, at least he's always fun to watch, and the guy knows how to through a punch. Jet Li and Terry Crew added some nice comic banter to the team and Mickey Rourke was without doubt the 'heart'. It's not altogether unsurprising that one of the few tender moments in the movie was delivered by Rourke in a touching monologue. Hats off to Dolph Lundgren and Ray Park who were also on top form in the stunts department. There is a scene in this movie where Lundgren stomps on a guys face while driving a car in a high speed pursuit and avoiding incoming fire - that is the tone of this movie, lap it up folks. One final shout out to Eric Robers who once again is portrays the ultimate bastard, and does it with style - nice work Eric, nice work indeed.
Personally I had a blast watching this one. From start to finish the pacing was perfect, not once did I feel the need to glance at my watch. Granted the plot is pretty thin, but you really ought to know what you're getting into here. It doesn't claim to be a serious movie, and it delivers exactly what it set out to - that being a hell of a good time. If you're looking for something a little more cerebral, this aint it!
Overall I know I'll be getting this on DVD as soon as it's released, terrific action flick and if I'm brutally honest, probably better than both The A Team and The Losers combined.