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|Index||747 reviews in total|
If your looking for any type of intelligence, do not watch this film, because it will just annoy you. The film's aim is to essentially pit every action star since the 80s against each other, with cast including Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Eric Roberts, Steve Austin, Randy Couture, Terry Crews and Mickey Rourke. Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger make very unhidden cameos, and are uncredited. Like Rambo 4, it is directed and co-written by Stallone. The story follows a bunch of super-tough mercenaries (Led by Stallone)who are hired by a powerful incorporator (Willis) to recapture an island from a military dictator (David Zayas). But Zayas has his own personal army, and is being supported by Ex-CIA Agentd (Roberts and Austin). I felt that the pace dragged in the middle, between the two major trips to the island. I also felt that the characters of the Expendables were either too prominent, e.g. Statham and Lundgren, or not prominent enough, e.g. Crews and Couture. While Stallone's directing isn't of the brilliance that some actor-directors are, he does know how to handle the pace and excitement of every action scene. Every actor does what they do best - very little talk, lots of punch, but for me the actor who stood out among the ensemble was Mickey Rourke, who takes a small supporting role as Tool, a character who simply hangs out with The other Expendables, and gives them tattoos and gives them the lowdown on missions.
I've never been a big fan of 80s actions movies. Rambo never interested
me, Demolition Man and Cliffhanger weren't even on my radar. I'd seen a
few of Schwarzenegger's movies but most of them in his appeal to kids
phase until I went back in the 90s and saw a few of his more popular
films. Die Hard with a Vengeance was probably the only of the series
that really spoke to me for a long time. So it's not as if I haven't
seen my fair share of movies from that era but they never really did
much for me as films. I never had that "Wow that was so cool I want to
do that moment." that a lot of filmmakers have with them. Maybe it's
because as a child of the 90s I spent a lot of my 80s years watching
John Hughes films and the huge swath of comedies from that era.
Yet when I heard about The Expendables, I was somewhat intrigued. Despite my lack of affinity for their heyday they had never really been in the same place all at once before and so I was very interested in seeing what would happen. Not as it turns out enough interest to actually go see the film in theatres. I had enough misgivings about the film to wait until it came out on DVD to see it, and in doing so I realize that I was right. The film, like many of the era these films harken back to, just doesn't have enough juice in it to sustain a whole hour much less the under 2 hours the film actually has. The characters are underdeveloped and some are basically useless plot devices, the villain is basically half-assed and under used, and the only decent story worth telling was given to a secondary character and not followed through on.
Charisma Carpenter and Giselle Itie had the best stories to tell and yet the majority of screen time went to Stallone and his rag tag band of mercenaries who basically spent all their time standing around looking old and shooting people. You gotta do more with your characters then complain and destroy things to keep modern audiences interested and the only two ladies of the bunch provided the depth and emotional honesty necessary to make the extended action scenes work. Unfortunately depth and emotional honesty are not the point of a film like this and so they get relegated to C plot devices when the A and B plots haven't been any more secured then the plan to liberate an island by blowing up a single part of it with barely any of the army which is holding it hostage inside.
What made most of the 80s action movies work was the buddy cop scenario or the damsel in distress scenario, both of which are present in The Expendables but neither of which are particularly well used. You would think with this many 80s action stars in one room who have played out the stories numerous times would know a thing or two about what works and what doesn't work about a film like this and insist on making it better. Stallone in particular given that he is one of the only of the group to win a Best Picture Oscar. But no, the film is a hap hazard attempt to give many of its stars who have been relegated to direct to DVD content a chance to shine on the big screen. Unfortunately they don't really shine all that brightly, if at all.
What do you need to turn a group of 80s action stars into Expendables? You put them in a movie together with a barely there plot and tell them to act like it's 20 years ago.
To check out more of my reviews, go here: http://andrew-heard.blogspot.ca/
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I don't get what everyone was expecting from this film. Stallone said
multiple times before the release of this film that this is a tribute
to the hard R action movies of the 1980's. Hence the ensemble of some
of the most iconic action stars of the 80s and 90s being in this movie.
Does it have hammy acting? Yes (Although Dolph Lundgren gives a
surprisingly good performance and steals the show in the few scenes he
is in). Does it have a cliché plot? Yes. But that is what action movies
of the 1980s had.
Although I love this movie, there were 2 things that bothered me. One is the Arnold Schwarzenegger cameo. This would've been awesome, but it's ruined by the fact that it was spoiled in the trailers and the dialog in the scene is just awful! Another thing is that a lot of the cast doesn't get a lot of screen time. Everyone except for Stallone and Statham get like only 20 to 30 minutes of screen time. I hope in the sequel they fix this problem because that really annoyed me.
Overall, if you go in with an open mind, you might like this movie. It has its flaws, but overall, it's a very entertaining movie. Let's hope the sequel can fix some of the problems this one had.
I saw this when it came out in the theater, and i now own it on bluray DVD. this is Stallone's 3rd awesome hit hes made in recent years. he went away for a while, but he came back as strong as ever with Rocky Balboa, which was surprisingly great and touching. then he brought Rambo back as hard hitting (and as violent) as ever. now comes Stallone's 3rd hit, Expendables. and let me tell you, its got everything you could want: loads of action upon action, a cast of Grade A action stars, hot female lead, great dialog and some truly funny humor. this was Stallone trying to recapture the energy and explosiveness of those infamous 80's action films he used to make (heck, still does) and it does not disappoint. the chases are done very well, the acting is top notch for a film like this, and the hand to hand combat is pretty spectacular, especially considering Stallone's age. he really is a legend, and hes still got it! this was better then many of the other so-called "action" movies that are flooding theaters lately, like those terrible Bourne movies, all those TV show remakes, the new Batman's, etc. this beats them all, because it doesn't pretend to be something more then it is: a really bad ass action movie. no silly pretentious rambling monologues, no sappy love stories, no soap opera drama. just plain and simple ass kicking, balls to the wall action, but not without connecting you with the characters. the other great thing is that this is an ORIGINAL. not a remake, not a sequel, not a "reboot", a totally original film with stallone. the team mentality is cool here, WAY better then the new A team movie. these guys are the real deal. words i suppose cannot describe how just plain cool this movie is. action stars from this generation as well as the last are all here, all the big names, even a cameo from ARNIE and Bruce! jet Li is hilarious, SO awesome to see Ivan drago back fighting rocky...ER i mean Dolph lundren fighting Stallone once again! Eric Roberts plays the typical skeevy sleaze bag hes so good at, stone cold.....what a MONSTER. this guy is scary, and plays a formidable foe to sly and his gang of freedom fighters. mickey Rourke provides the heart and soul and the movie, with one truly amazing scene where he talks about how he could have saved his soul by saving another's. almost brought tears to my eyes. in short, this is probably one of THE best most fulfilling action experiences in recent years. in a time filled with CGI overload and everything seems to take itself so seriously, here comes a movie that doesn't try to be anything other then a simple giant blockbuster filled to the brim with brutal fist fights and explosions. i hope Hollywood is taking notes here: THIS is how to make an proper action movie, the way they USED to make them. the movie has it all, and i am really hoping the sequel will be just as good, if not better.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I grew up on '80s action movies, still love them to bits and love
watching ass-kicking on film. When I heard Stallone was making this
film, featuring an ensemble cast of ageing action stars and
deliberately harking back to '80s cinema, I was excited. I consider the
2008 RAMBO to be his best movie as star and director and I was hoping
this would be somewhere nearly as good. It isn't, but it's still a fun
movie. First off, the problems. The plot is all over the place. Long
scenes are wasted introducing Jason Statham's ex-girlfriend character
and then nothing happens with her she just disappears and you don't
see her again. The story, about overthrowing the dictator of a small
island in South America and tackling his nefarious businessman
colleague, feels like a half-baked reprise of COMMANDO. But let's be
fair here nobody goes to see THE EXPENDABLES for the plot.
No, my biggest problem is with Stallone's direction, which previously has been fine. Here, he decides to adopt a shaky-cam style for every action scene in the film, be it the explosive climax, a car chase or even a martial arts bout with star Jet Li. Paul Greengrass added heaps to his Bourne movies by utilising the shaky-cam, but it's a big detraction (not to mention distraction) here. Stallone's camera seems to be all over the place, to the extent that you can barely make out what's going on in any of the fight scenes. Moments like the 'tunnel fight', which variously sees Statham, Li, Stallone, Gary Daniels, and Steve Austin engaged in all manner of frenetic physical combat become just okay. Maybe I was just sitting too near to the front of the cinema, but I fear not.
Otherwise, this film works just fine. The script adopts the right tone with plenty of referential humour for the fans. Stallone is still at his physical peak, and Statham the usual smooth-shaven action man we're used to from TRANSPORTER and CRANK. Dolph Lundgren has a ball as a slightly deranged fighter and Jet Li is the brunt of many jokes as the token Asian. I'm not a big fan of wrestlers or sportsmen, but Randy Couture, Steve Austin and Terry Crews are all sufficiently hulking to add to the film's look, and Eric Roberts entertains as the deliciously sleazy bad guy. Mickey Rourke's in this for little more than a cameo, but he has an oddly touching moment, while one of my biggest joys was seeing British fighter Gary Daniels as one of the bad guy henchmen. Looks like he's going up in the world. Much publicity surrounded the five-minute scene in this in which Stallone meets up with the guest stars - it's as funny as you could hope for. As for the action, it's over the top and extremely loud, involving our heroes flying planes and shooting or blowing up the bad guys, taking them down in hand-to-hand fights and smashing up some vehicles in frenetic car chases. The ending is as noisy and destructive as anything I've seen, and the best part of the film. A twenty minute sequence of chaos, calamity and kick-ass moves. My favourite part? Terry Crews and his hang cannon, which makes short work of the enemy.
Addendum: I've recently watched the director's cut of THE EXPENDABLES for the first time and I can report that it makes a BIG difference. Not only is an extra ten minutes of characterisation added - thus giving the film more heart and soul - but the whole thing has been re-edited to lost a lot of the choppiness the film suffered from originally. I have a feeling that Stallone was forced to rush the editing in the run-up to the film's cinema release, so he used the first opportunity he had to come back and tidy it up and the result is this: slicker, better paced, and much smoother. The action scenes have also been tightened up nicely so that they flow much better. The director's cut is definitely the version to watch.
The Expendables...A humorous action flick, little better than expected!
I guess you only need to look at the poster to know what you're in for. A bunch of tough guys with tougher names who've most been able to carry major action flicks on their sole backs before. In "The Expendables" they all come together within an entertaining story about a line-up of mercenaries led by mighty Stallone, who go on a rather rough mission in Latin America; to find a little more than their common day to day action waiting for them.
Despite the long list of big guys, their contribution to the story varies greatly. While the Statham, Stallone duo eats up most of the action, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis make their mere guest appearances. You still, however, get a little bit of humor from Jet Li, some wise man talk from Mickey Rourke and some bad guy acting from Oscar nominee Eric Roberts.
In "The Expendables" two time Oscar nominee Sylvester Stallone takes his eighth shot at directing and his twenty second at writing a screenplay. Having the experience in combining both, together with acting, in titles like "Rambo" and four of the "Rocky" series, Stallone successfully employs each of his players' charismatic characters in their best fit. It reaches a point where if you try to reverse roles in your head you'd think it's impossible.
Like any action flick, you'll get the crazy gun shooting, the wild fist fighting and the anything but real moves from the guys with the big arms. If you're not planning on swallowing ideas like someone grabbing a taking off plane by his hand a hopping on it, then this is not for you. On the other hand, the film is overall quite entertaining whether you're into this kind of things or not; like Terry Crews said in an interview about the making of "The Expendables", that it is going to impress everyone that's a fan of genre and even the ones new to it.
In a nutshell, The Expendables is more than just your average action flick; it has an ensemble of Hollywood's most prominent action stars. It's got the eye candy alright and it's got a little laughing to offer as well. It is not a waste of time!
Sylvester Stallone has written and directed the most
testosterone-loaded film in years. He has brought together action film
icons, both young and old, into one big exploding mess, and that's the
main draw of the whole film. The story itself is nothing special that
we haven't seen before: a team of mercenaries are hired by a mysterious
"Agency" to infiltrate a Central American island nation and remove a
general and his American benefactor from power. Cue the Expendables
into action: Barney Ross (Stallone), Lee Christmas (Jason Statham), Yin
Yang (Jet Li), Hale Caesar (Terry Crews), and Toll Road (Randy
Couture). With names like that, you know the focus of this film isn't
the characters...it's the explosions.
This isn't necessarily a problem. Some movies are just the type where you don't feel like following a story and want to watch Stallone take off a guy's head with one swipe of his knife. The action in this film is pretty wicked, particularly a scene where Ross and Christmas are escaping the island in their cargo plane and Christmas pops out through a front hatch to gun down soldiers from the air. Still, even with creative action moments like this, I don't think this movie pushed the limits enough for me. Sure, it was rated R but it didn't always feel like it. It might've been because the majority of the blood spatter in the film was CGI. Whatever happened to practical effects and blood squibs? It helps give an action film a little extra realism rather than using CGI to create blood that just does not look right in any case. There is some graphic violence in the film, but it's never too crazy (with the exception of Dolph Lundgren's warning shot to a group of Somali pirates in the opening).
No worries though because the CG blood isn't enough to ruin the film. It's still a blast, with the mercs trading one-liners while gunning through hundreds of soldiers. The dialogue is cheesy but the action keeps coming and doesn't stop until the Expendables have done their job. I do wish Mickey Rourke had been given a meatier role in the film. I thought he awesome in IRON MAN 2 and was looking forward to seeing him kick some butt here, but he's only given a handful of scenes away from the action. His character, Tool, is one of the most interesting and I hope he has a bigger role in the inevitable sequel (because, let's face it...with $100+ million box office, we're getting another). If Bruce Willis (who has a short, but sweet cameo with Arnold Schwarzenegger in the film) has a clear enough schedule, I'm hoping he returns to further inflate the awesomeness of the cast.
Stallone had a moment of genius when he decided to bring all of these action icons together and with some minor fixes, he could have a real action masterpiece. He's off to a good start here and I'm hoping the eventual sequel will be even stronger. If you're in the mood for some mindless explosions at the hands of some of the best action heroes to grace the screen, this is it. Just don't look too deep, or you'll see just how shallow the whole ordeal really is.
Remember back in the day when action movies were all the rage? Back
when Ahnold could flip a car over, spit in a Predator's face, and utter
a monotone one-liner to hapless victims before ripping their hearts
out. When Sylvester Stallone could sputter some really macho words
before blowing away cannibals and punching the crud out of pro boxers.
What do we have these days? The action genre is still alive and well
with Jet Li and Jason Statham both pulling mad Kung-Fu moves, with
wrestlers like Stone Cold Steve Austin smashing their way to the big
screens, and with Mickey Rourke taking on Iron Man.
Much like any number of big action films, "The Expendables" offers a massive dose of wicked attitude and heart-throbbing action, complete with big explosions, wild gunfights, super-fast martial arts, gnarly knife-fights, careening vehicles, and loads of fake blood. Whether looking at it as a touch of classic action-movie nostalgia or an exercise in modern action choreography, the film entertains all the way.
The film has probably the biggest manliest cast since "The Magnificent Seven," with the likes of Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Steve Austin, Mickey Rourke, and Dolph Lundgren joining forces to kick butt. Also look out for a few action-star cameos! I can't say that the chemistry between all these characters really works, but one can't help but to appreciate the loosely hobbled together teamwork they strive for. Collectively, they embody a style and spirit that seems like a form of distinctively all-American heroism.
All that being said, it's still not a great film by any means. The good news is that the photography is generally solid and satisfying; action scenes do look good. The production value is stylish and slick, with decent set-pieces and entire arsenals of cool weaponry. But the film does fall short with its writing and its story/character development. It's as brainless and irreverent as one can expect from an action film (after all, it's not like the stories for "Under Siege," "Bloodsport," "The Specialist," "The Condemned," "The Transporter," etc etc etc were ever top-notch either). You can also expect plenty of absurd and unrealistic moments.
Recommended for action junkies only.
3.5/5 (entertainment: 4/5, story: 2.5/5, film: 3.5/5)
Even for those who are fatigued by the loud, bloody, pyrotechnical
messes, and absurd cloned plots of the past few years' thriller movies,
THE EXPENDABLES is bound to please. Why? Simply because it is a parody
of this genre, with a hilarious script of puns written by director and
star Sylvester Stallone (with David Callaham, probably the one
responsible fro sticking the story line together). No one really takes
this action flick seriously because of the fun the actors are having.
It is reunion time for the likes of Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone), knife pro Lee Christmas (Jason Statham), martial arts pro Ying Yang (Jet Li), rasty renegade Gunner Jensen (Dolph Lundgren), Toll Road (Randy Couture), and Tool (Mickey Rourke) - collectively called The Expendables, biking through another impossible adventure. The 'other side" (villains who are destroying a Gulf island include Eric Roberts, Paine (the impossibly huge Steve Austin), the good/bad puppet General Garza (David Zayas form 'Dexter'), and the general's rebel daughter Sandra (Giselle Itié). There is a lot of body destruction, firebombing, and breathless chases, and for an action drama it is very well paced. But the pleasure of the film comes form seeing all the famous guys of yesteryear having such a great camaraderie. There are even small cameos for Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger! It is a fun ride with a lot of unexpected laughs as these men make fun of their past films and stereotypes!
Has anyone noticed Stallone's face these days ? It's not just his age
he looks like a shapeshifter that shapeshifts but not exactly. His face
is like melting down on him and that strange looking ears are really
disgusting to look at.
Stallone looks very bored and drunk as hell in every scene of this ghastly production and he gives us the impression that he shot this film during happy hours or something. No face expressions what so ever and he is far from average acting, he just stands there with his melted face and draws his guns.
Jet Li takes the cake by looking extremely bored throughout the whole movie, this film could be Li's worst ever. His face seems to tell us "please get on with it I have to go and do something else...." even during his stupid fight scenes.
What the hell does Crews have to do with this film I just don't get it. He is great fun in his own feutures but in this one I guess Sly hired him just to say that single famous line after the shotgun massacre and thats about it for him.
Statham looks pretty cool with his hoop tricks and seems he is the only one acting out his bad ass role in some way.
Arnold looks like a burned out Christmas tree from the 80's, it's very impressive that he can open his mouth and speak out two words in all.
The whole new marketing image with the brand new computer graphics posters does not mix with the old pack playing in the movie, I wish Sly could promote his movie in old fashioned themes and posters, that would be interesting. Instead the posters look very 21st century with 20th century action heroes and that really sucks.
Scenario was written on a coffe table watching cartoons or something.
As a huge Sly fan I'm very disappointed that he tries to look very tough but he doesn't get it right anymore. There's no single line he sais that could take me inside his head and movie theme. Fail.
That's All Folks !!
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