Stallone, Statham, Li? Together with some of the brawniest macho men of the 80s and 90s? Sounds like a rip roaring, ass whooping fest, ready to pump some testosterone into a veiny bicep… But can there really be too much of a good thing? Absolutely, and in this case it’s become a bad thing, a big lumbering dinosaur of monotonous exposition and zero ingenuity.
So Sly plays Barney Ross the leader of The Expendables, a group of mercenaries for hire. Why do they do what they do? I don’t know they just like it. So they get hired by Bruce Willis in a scene that only exists to put three of the biggest names in action movie history on screen at the same time (They also own a Planet Hollywood together in real life.) Suprisngly it’s probably the best scene in the movie. Who doesn’t like seeing AHNULD and Sly rag on each other? So The Expendables get hired to take down some latin dictator (David Zayas with a bad accent) who is also being manipulated by Eric Roberts, who I don’t know, wants money or something. It may sound cool but everything leading up to that final battle is a bore and even the climax is as forgettable as a Fox sitcom.
If this movie should have aspired to be anything it should of been a non-stop, action packed, tribute to 80s action. A campy but thrilling roller coaster of one liners and “back to basics” effects but no, this movie is in fact the exact opposite. Instead what we get is countless scenes of Stallone slurring out commands intercut with painfully tedious plot and very few if any laughs. I laughed at a couple one liners but it’s more of a laugh of embarrassment followed by a cringe and these characters don’t do much to bring the material alive. Stallone is dry, Statham is okay, Li is hard to understand, Terry Crewes is practically non-existent, Randy Couture has a gross ear, and Rourke shouldn’t be wasting his talent on bull plop like this. Who am I forgetting? Oh yeah Dolph Lundgren, what a freak, I can’t believe he’s an actor. I could barely even tell if he was speaking with an accent or even English for that matter. I liked him in Rocky IV but giving him lines is probably the worst decision a filmmaker can make.
Usually in action movies, (at least in one’s worth watching) you got a beef-headed star usually surrounded by at least one sane or level headed person. Unfortunately this is a whole movie of beef-headed characters, so don’t expect much in the way of compelling dialogue. It didn’t help that there was little to no character development, they just needed to fill us in on the backstory of some who gives a shit, made up island and it’s who gives a shit dictator. I DON’T CARE! I JUST WANT TO SEE SYLVESTER STALLONE SHOOT PEOPLE!
So then the action must of been good right? Well some if it was, the parts that I could see that is. This is just another one of those slick and quick edited action movies that completely leaves you in the dark, unless you have some sort of superhuman keen sense of sight. I remember seeing this fight between Sly and Stone Cold Steve Austin and I couldn’t even tell how it ended between all the speedy mayhem. The gore is worth a chuckle here and there but they really should of ditched all the digital blood. Looked like they had a lot of fun in After Effects with this one.
So yeah, what a disappointment, what a missed opportunity, what a bore. I can’t believe a movie advertising itself as the ultimate action star vehicle could be so devoid of action. Don’t spend your time on this expendable seizure go watch Commando instead, that’s what dreams are made of.