The Expendables

Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Studio: Millenium Films

MPAA Rating: R

Director: Sylvester Stallone

Review Rating: 8

A band of psychotic misfit mercenaries head to South America to take on a warlord General, a coke plant, and their American backer.

This is insane. How many nods to former glories, be they movies, UFC, WWE, NFL or any other manly pursuits, can we have in a single movie? The silly thing is produced, co-written, and even directed by the ever buff and manly Sylvester Stallone, and yes, his character is the leader of The Expendables. But well, dear Sly is beginning to show his age – he apparently broke his neck filming the showdown fight scene with Stone Cold Steve Austin, and sadly, Sly’s character doesn’t even get to finish the fight, that comes later from Randy Couture. There’s Jet Li, who’s character is always complaining he needs more money for bogus reasons, but whose mad fighting skillz are never in doubt. Dolph Lungren stars in as Gunner, the junkie turned traitor of the team, who sounds like he’s trying to chew his own accent when he yells during the fight scenes. Mickey Rourke lends a hand to the cast as Tool, the philosophical knife-wielding tattoo artist. Randy Couture, yes that guy, kicks major butt in the movie, even though his character gets little in the way of backstory, and his main shtick is apparently going to a therapist to work on his issues. Jason Statham gets the most screen time, along with Sly, apparently being the second in command of the team or whatever. Which is hey, great by me, I love Statham – his quirky sense of the ridiculous, so readily evident in Crank, shows up here too! Terry Crews is the inevitable black guy in there somewheres, although he doesn’t get a whole lot of actual face-time. The lady who plays the inevitable love interest, Giselle Itie’ or Sandra in this case, is noone I’ve ever heard of, but she does just fine at the bosom-heaving wide-eyed hot Latin lady look.

On the bad guy side, we have Eric Roberts as the corrupt American businessman trying to egg on the Latin dictator out there in the coke fields. Roberts often does a fine job for creepy, this latest role is no exception. David Zayas of Dexter fame brings a very passionate response to his role of General Garza. Then we have Stone Cold Steve Austin, with that famous voice and that huge upper body, as one of the businessman’s main henchmen. And yes, yes of course there’s still yet more cameos. Bruce Willis stars oh so briefly as the man who hires The Expendables team, and what’s more, during their meeting there’s another Terminator-style cameo from you guessed it, Arnold Sh-I can’t spell it.

The action and chase scenes are great. Every bone-breaking, eye-gouging, snap-your-neck-ing moment is a rip-roaring riot of over the top. So why then, bother with a plot? The only time each and every character gets their own moment to shine, is during the fight scenes anyway. Jason Statham and of course Sly have backstories and whole scenes all their own, but hey, they’re the 2nd and 1st in command, respectively. It just seems kind of unfair. Still, a great movie, with more testosterone than I thought possible, and I’m willing to bet, a higher body count than even Rambo!

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