Mr. Church reunites the Expendables for what should be an easy paycheck, but when one of their men is murdered on the job, their quest for revenge puts them deep in enemy territory and up against an unexpected threat.
Barney augments his team with new blood for a personal battle: to take down Conrad Stonebanks, the Expendables co-founder and notorious arms trader who is hell bent on wiping out Barney and every single one of his associates.
Frank Martin puts the driving gloves on to deliver Valentina, the kidnapped daughter of a Ukranian government official, from Marseilles to Odessa on the Black Sea. En route, he has to contend with thugs who want to intercept Valentina's safe delivery and not let his personal feelings get in the way of his dangerous objective.
Ex-con Jensen Ames is forced by the warden of a notorious prison to compete in our post-industrial world's most popular sport: a car race in which inmates must brutalize and kill one another on the road to victory.
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. Written by
The Massie Twins
Solid boys-own action but could have done with a few more thrills and a bit more in the way of comic relief
With the cast it had it was no surprise that The Expendables was being hyped long before it arrived in cinemas anywhere. "Could it be the greatest action movie ever?" some magazines breathlessly asked themselves, assuming perhaps that the cast could somehow just produce a good film by virtue of all just being in it. The answer of course is "no" and I doubt anyone expected it to be any other answer. However the real question was can the film produce the boys-only, 1980's action movie fun that the 2010 summer season needed. The answer to this question turned out to be "sort of" because The Expendables has plenty to enjoy about it but yet somehow falls short of what it could have been.
The plot is essentially a small group of mercenaries heading into a tropical island in order to take out the dictator and his ex-CIA puppet-master: so far, so "one man against endless ethnic army" 80's style plotting. And indeed so it is, complete with unnecessary violence and overblown physical actions and seemingly indestructible heroes. It plays out just the way you expect it to do and those looking for action sequences will enjoy the many fights and scenes where everything blows up (Terry Crews in particular demonstrating to the world why Infinity Ward were out of their minds to make the AA-12 a "secondary" weapon in Modern Warfare 2!). The downside of the action is that, while it is enjoyable, it doesn't deliver enough of two key things.
The first of these is genuine thrills. It comes close and there are good moments but generally you find yourself sitting back watching the mayhem for the sake of mayhem, whereas I would prefer to be sucked into and really gripped by the action - I wasn't really here; instead most of the action is of the video game style where the enemy just keeps spawning in front of you and getting chopped down by powerful weaponry. The second thing that isn't as prevalent as I wanted was comedy. We get the odd bit here and there, but really Jet Li's "because I'm small" speech is probably the high point. What was needed was more comedy mixed in with the action. There were a few kiss-off lines but nothing memorable or even "good". These are important because it makes the excess easier to enjoy as just part of a fun package the film not having enough suspense or thrills makes the lack of this "fun" all the more obvious and notable of a gap.
The cast do help though and not just in terms of having big names in there. They do have an easy charisma between them and they all play off each other well whether it be Stallone and Statham or the brief cameos from Willis and Swarzenegger. Crews isn't used particularly well but otherwise I liked everyone else in it, even if there were probably too many of them to really do much with I thought it was a good move, despite appearing to be an ensemble piece, to put most of the focus on two of them rather than spreading it evenly around. Of course looking at it fairly, the film is not great the plot is obvious and full of "groan" moments that we have to have simply because of the genre plus it is hard to shake the feeling that the film is more for the stars benefit than it is about the viewers, like perhaps they enjoyed it more than I did? Overall though The Expendables is a solid enough 80's style action movie that does everything you expect it to do but nothing more. Personally I preferred The Losers to this simply because it delivered action and comedy blended well to make for an enjoyably silly actioner, whereas this doesn't really do that and perhaps takes itself a little too seriously for its own good. A solid genre film and enjoyable as that, but it doesn't do enough to justify the sheer volume of big names in it.
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