The Expendables (2010)

DVD Cover (Lions Gate)
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Overall Rating 65%
Overall Rating
Ranked #382
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Connections: The Expendables

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. --IMDb
Sylvester Stallone
Sylvester Stallone
Jason Statham
Jason Statham
Jet Li
Jet Li
Dolph Lundgren
Dolph Lundgren
Eric Roberts
Eric Roberts
Review by Chad
Added: December 08, 2010
Honestly, I love action movies. I love mindless violence and random explosions tied together with nonsensical plots and delivered to us by buffed-out actors who can't do much more than spout out a couple of one-liners without looking out of place in front of the camera. Granted, these movies aren't high art, but I'll be damned if they aren't fun. Unfortunately for my love of the genre, they just don't make 'em like they used to, and that is a damned shame. Rambo was a step in the right direction, but other than that... well, as I said, they just don't make 'em like they used to. So, when I heard that the stars of those beloved action flicks from the eighties were getting together to show these young actors how the men do it, I was pumped and counting down the days. The movie did not disappoint.

The film centers around the namesake Expendables, a mercenaries-for-hire group of badasses consisting of Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone), Lee Christmas (Jason Statham), Yin Yang (Jet Li), Gunner Jensen (Dolph Lundgren), Hale Caesar (Terry Crews), and Toll Road (Randy Couture). The boys travel around the world to do the dirty work that nobody else will take, mainly work that consists of "blow shit up and kill anything that moves." They are eventually contacted by a mysterious man named Mr. Church (Bruce Willis), who comes to them after being declined by another mercenary (I won't ruin it, but it's an awesome cameo).

The story goes like this: there's a military man by the name of General Garza (David Zayas) on an island down in South America who is running things into the ground with the help of his American partner James Munroe (Eric Roberts) and his hired goons in the form of Paine (Steve Austin) and The Brit (Gary Daniels)... oh, and about half a million soldiers armed with all sorts of nasty weaponry. The mission for our heroes? Move in and, well, kill everything that moves.

Ross and Christmas go in alone at first to get a feel for the place, and there, they meet Sandra (Giselle Itiť), the daughter of Mr. Garza. She fills them in more on the situation, and it is there that our boys realize something: they're in way over their heads here. They decide to abort the mission and take Sandra with them, but Sandra is having none of that: this is her home, by God, and she ain't leaving it. They let her have it her way, but when Ross has a surprisingly deep conversation with local tattoo artist Tool (Mickey Rourke), he realizes that he simply has to go back and save that girl. The boys all hop on a plane and prepare to kick some ass.

As you may have noticed from reading that synopsis, the storyline is a little weak. That's fine in a movie like this - after all, can you point to any eighties action flick that has achieved "classic" status amongst fans and also featured an amazing storyline? I thought not. These movies are for guys who want to see the leading man kill some bad guys and blow some shit up, and with The Expendables, Sylvester Stallone wanted to give that formula another try while also giving action fans another dosage of the men who made the genre so memorable. With that in mind, the film was a huge success in my household. We go to an action flick to see, well, action, and The Expendables delivers that in the over-the-top way that modern films just don't go for anymore.

I will say that by action flick standards alone, The Expendables is an average movie. It's a fun movie, yes, and there are plenty of moments to cheer for, but judging it based strictly on the plot and the action sequences results in an average flick. What makes the movie is the ensemble cast. Seeing all of those stars in one flick elevates this to another level, and seeing the boys get another chance on the big screen doing what they do best is something that I personally loved (Dolph Lundgren in particular is someone who has been missed, and he shows why here). Take the aforementioned cameo appearance: it was a surprise to me since I skipped the spoilers and discussions before popping the disc in, so seeing that man walk onto the set was a moment of pure badass. Watching a scene where three men discuss a business opportunity is nothing to write home about, but when those three men are Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis, and the mystery man, well... that changes things. The Expendables is an average action flick, but it's targeted to the fans who grew up on eighties action fare and those fans will love it.

Some of the action sequences rely a little too heavily on the rapid-fire music video style of editing, but truthfully, that's the only negative thing that I can say about the movie. Is the storyline deep and original? No, but we didn't come for that: we came to see explosions and violence, and the film delivers that. Did we receive loads of award-winning acting? No, but we didn't come for that either: we came to see some of the biggest action stars do what they do best, and they did that for our viewing pleasure. With that in mind, I think that a 9/10 is justified.
Lucid Dreams #1: Lucid Dreams - added 12/08/2010, 02:32 PM
Violence was fun, but like you said the story was average. I still enjoyed myself though. 8/10
steveoutr #2: steveoutr - added 12/08/2010, 11:40 PM
i found the CGI to be absolutely terrible. The final kill looked like someone took a paint programs and just scattered red lines everywhere. none the less great movie thoroughly enjoyed it. 8/10
Nirrad #3: Nirrad - added 12/09/2010, 07:50 PM
I too hated the CGI. Don't know why it was even used. Great film, but not as good as I hoped it to be. 8/10 as well.
bluemeanie #4: bluemeanie - added 12/10/2010, 06:26 PM
I cannot say I was not disappointed by this film. From the people involved I was really hoping this would be a phenomenal action film. It turned out to be just okay. It was nice seeing all these guys together and I especially enjoyed Eric Roberts. 7/10. Could have been SO much better.
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