I have to admit that I went into The Expendables with low expectations and came out scratching my head a little. Clearly, it’s classic Hollywood shoot ’em up, but has some sick Jet Li fight scenes and some Cory Yuen martial arts choreography thrown in. Even if the film didn’t make much sense, Sylvester Stallone’s The Expendables is a symphony of extreme violence and relentless action and I loved it. Maybe there are some complaints about how all the actors don’t get a huge amount of screen time. Yeah, Stallone and Statham definitely get the most time, but I think that every single actor included in the film has at least one stand out moment. No need to throw up an essay for this type of flick, it just was damn fun and the perfect flick to see in theaters, and even more perfect for old school action movie fans.
Basically, the plot goes like this, Sylvester Stallone and his crew of mercenaries, which include Jason Statham, Jet Li, Randy Couture, and Terry Crews, are hired by a shadowy figure to take down a general and end his authoritarian rule over the fictional country of Vilena. The generic plot is expected but man oh man, most of the dialogue in the movie is completely inane and ridiculous. That nitpick on the surface is pretty irrelevant given the material but I still can’t get past it. It was so surreal to see Rambo, John McClain, and The Terminator all on screen together at the same time though. It’s not art, and it doesn’t take itself seriously — and, honestly, that’s sort of a relief.
Ultimately, you just have to embrace the ridiculousness, sit back, relax, and enjoy what is essentially straight male pornography. At my midnight showing, there were about 3 females in the audience. It’s a man’s movie, period. This was really good, but also really different than Rambo in style and tone. At times it gets pretty violent, but never as intense and sustained as the Rambo finale, which was shell shock inducing. The main star who is able for me to even get this review up on the site, Jet Li, is extremely underused but does a good job with his fight scenes. Stallone busts out the shaky cam and gets his money’s worth. Some parts of the Jet Li fight I could hardly make out, unfortunately.
The finale of this movie is mind blowing. I mean, it’s just one jaw dropping scene after another. I won’t give away what happens, but the best part of the movie, by far, is the hallway battle. Every knife used was used for a reason or in lieu of reloading. Gun battles were fierce and wild but actually not too over-the-top. I must confess that I am not a particularly big fan of the 80’s action movie and I am fairly sure that everything I hated about this movie is the reason why so many others will love it. Given my high marks already on this film, if that sounds like you, then you’ll overlook my critism and absolutely love this movie. This is one of the last explosion filled blockbusters of the summer and I urge everyone to go out and see it.