The Expendables is every single 80’s action movie ever made rolled up into one testosterone packed movie.
That’s it. I’m done. Review over. I can’t think of anything else that I could possibly say about this movie. The Expendables is the 80’s action movie personified. It is every scene where the hero outruns a hail of bullets, every cheesy catchphrase, every slow motion shot of manly men punching other manly men. It’s got explosions, bullets, explosions, knife fights, explosions, chop socky judo moves and, oh yeah, freaking explosions.
You can see where I am having a problem coming up with something substantial to say about this movie then, yes? We all remember what an 80’s action movie is like. It is 99% action, 1% the boring stuff in between the action. Plots are laughable, characters are paper thin and motivations consist mainly of, “How do I get to the point where I can shoot things again?” The same holds true for The Expendables. Sylvester Stallone leads a group of mercenaries known as, what else, The Expendables. You’ve got Sly, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Terry Crews, Randy Couture and Mickey Rourke making up this manliest of mercenary crews. Each one has their stereotype. Sly is the war weary leader, Statham is the one with the girlfriend, Li is Asian, Randy has a therapist and Crews is black. Don’t expect characterization to go beyond that. Actually, the only one that really gets any kind of character development is Mickey Rourke’s character as the Expendable’s tattoo artist. He has one scene where he recounts the horrors of war and I actually felt the tingle of emotion swelling within my breast. Then that scene ended and it was back to the action.
The plot, if you care to call it that, is also ripped from every 80’s action movie ever. A dictator in a vaguely Cuban looking country. He’s backed by a rich white guy. The good guys have to go kill them some of that. Then: EXPLOSIONS! A wafer would call this plot thin. It only exists to justify blowing things up in the jungle as opposed to the desert or the arctic.
Now it might seem like I’m ragging on this movie. I’m not. Paper thin plots, ridiculously shallow characters, meat headed logic in terms of virtually everything, these sound like bad things. But think about why we like the old action movies. We like them not because they were deep but because they were fun. This is something we seem to have lost in recent movies. The audience has become so jaded lately that they immediately pick apart the slightest flaws in a film. Think back to the movie Commando. Why does Arnold Schwarzenegger open a door by using a bulldozer? Because its there. That’s all the justification he needs. He does it because its awesome. Could Indiana Jones survive being dragged across a desert by a truck or using a raft as a parachute? Absolutely not. But weren’t those scenes cool? That’s the kind of thinking The Expendables goes with. Is it cool. That’s the only question it cares about. And yes, it is very, very cool.
Let me sum up this review in one short paragraph. Are you of the male gender? If yes, go see this movie. If no, do you enjoy action movies? If yes, go see this movie. If no, I really don’t know what you’re doing clicking on a review of The Expendables to begin with. Its loud, its sill, its stupid, its fun. Its got a scene with Sly Stallone, Arnie and Bruce Willis in it at the same time. That alone is worth the ticket price. Long story short, if you love the type of movie from back in the day when nuking a fridge would just be another cool action scene, this is your movie.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to start lifting weights while picking up three girls at once and growing an awesome beard. This movie just made me feel so damn inadequate in the testosterone department…