Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Expendables

Originally uploaded by @my_cine
If you’ve been missing action movies the likes of Running Man, Commando and Rambo, then The Expendables is right up your alley. Helmed by a cast of the most widely known action stars of now and the past twenty years, and anchored by Sylvester Stallone both in front of and behind the camera, The Expendables is a series of action scenes and explosions thinly veiled by a plot that substitutes a military dictatorship on a small island for Castro and the CIA.

Now, when I tell you The Expendables is thin on plot, I mean it. The actors move around and interact as if there is a plot, but in fact all there is to this is one script page after the next that must be played out in order for the action sequences to evolve in grandeur and eventually reach their denouement. I don’t mean this as an insult, in fact this is probably why the film works in the manner it intends – it’s a fun romp of gunfire, fist fights and explosions provided by people that the audience wants to see do what they do best.

What doesn’t work so well is the random bits Stallone throws in there to try and give these action stars a chance to act…most of them are action stars for a reason… The most legit actor of the bunch, Mickey Rourke, even has a scene where he manages to squeeze out some tears, despite the ham handed dialogue that accompanies it. Perhaps, I’d see more merit in the acting segments if the dialogue were given another pass – but again that’s not what you see a movie like this for.

The Expendables really settles into its groove in the final act of the film. Why? You guessed, because the last act is nothing but car chases, fights and explosions –one exhilarating romp after another. It’s so fun to watch you cease to care that the coup Eric Roberts character helped fun was apparently for profits from cocoa beans, or that the General/Dictator has made all of his soldiers wear face paint to show loyalty (seriously?), or that Stallone and Li manage to survive and Bonnie & Clyde style ambush in their car – it looks good on film and so begins a sequence of activities where every one of the stars gets their moment.

If you’re looking for an action movie that has it all from this past summer then you should see Inception. However, if you’re looking for a throw-back from the good old days when explosions ruled action films, see The Expendables.

Director: Sylvester Stallone
Writers: Dave Callaham & Sylvester Stallone
Barney Ross: Sylvester Stallone
Lee Christmas: Jason Statham
Ying Yang: Jet Li
Gunner: Dolph Lundgren
James Munroe: Eric Roberts
Toll Road: Randy Coture
Paine: Steve Austin
Gen. Garza: David Zayas
Sandra: Giselle Itie
Lacy: Charisma Carpenter
Hale Caesar: Terry Crews
Tool: Mickey Rourke
Church: Bruce Willis

Lee: What's he sayin'?
Hale: He said we're dead, with an accent!

1 comment:

Adam said...

BIG thumbs down on The Expendables from moi. Ug. Of course, the folks I was with quite enjoyed it. Figures.