USA, 2010: The Expendables
Genre: Action, War
Sylvester Stallone leads an eclectic band of fearsome mercenaries contracted to take down a Latin American dictator, and end up finding themselves along the way.
For better or worse, The Expendables is everything you expect it to be in spades. Sold exactly how it is, itís a predictable piece with buckets of violence and only sprinklings of story and creativity. For all the fun and camp that the movie brings to the table, I canít help feeling like they could have done more. Itís really more of a buddy film between Stallone and Jason Statham than an ensemble cast, and most of the other characters on the team are severely underused. Instead of a super-group of real characters, the other four members of the Expendables are undeveloped caricatures. Jet Li in particular is given third billing, but is hardly used to the best of his potential. Dolph Lundgren, another famous figure from the 80s, gives an absolutely terrible performance on-screen, chewing up lines like so many pieces of tree bark. Surprisingly, the filmís only saving performance comes from Mickey Rourke, who plays a mentor figure to Stalloneís troubled leader. The rest of the cast give similarly quirky but one-dimensional readings, which doesnít totally detract from the experience, but itís definitely noticeable throughout.
Itís surprising how straight he shoots the movie, but it adds to the hilarity of every exchange. The editing seemed a little unpolished, and it isnít helped by the awkward moments between actors that litter the film. Statham and Stallone have the best chemistry during the movie, and the other characters are limited to a couple choice moments. Randy Couture, former UFC champion, has a surprisingly high number of lines, but unfortunately makes his scenes more awkward than humorous. Still, if you love cheesy one-liners, expect the Expendables deliver with every punchline. The writing isnít Shakespeare, but the sheer ridiculousness of the dialogue will have you in stitches.
Itís fairly apparent from the start of the film that the budget went into the special effects department, and rightly so. Every explosion fills the screen, and every action scene is over the top. Itís intentionally excessive and every sequence one-ups the last. The camp is obvious, but it feels completely self-aware. Stallone knows his audience well, and plays up each stunt to the biggest spectacle it can be. The fight scenes are fantastic, fast paced and high energy. The choreography wasnít the most sophisticated ever, but it worked well for the subject matter. Switching quickly between hand-to-hand combat and blazing gun battles, the action is completely satisfying in every hot-blooded aspect. It takes a while to get the payoff for what you pay to see, but I believe that in the end, The Expendables is well worth the price of admission.
Hmmm... I found the last 20 minutes or so to be a near incomprehensible mess of explosions, fisticuffs, blades and bullets. But I did love the glorious mess.
The action scenes are a different mix of hand-to-hand, knife-fighting, and shoot'em up all at the same time. I thought it was pretty creative choreography; however, the camera jerked around so much that I was unable to appreciate any single move or combination executed by the characters. But there is plenty of pugilism in the movie.
I was somewhat surprised by the rather sudden moments of intense gore laced throughout the movie. Nothing that would bother most readers of Bullshido, I imagine, but I found it somewhat jarring when it occurred. Mostly because so many of the bad guys kind of fall over in a generic spurt of blood most of the time, then -- suddenly! -- a dramatic dismemberment (or worse).
Thankfully, when he cast cameos, Stallone left the hogs from the last Rambo movie in Burma... I didn't need a return appearnace of those brutes...
I thought many of the one-liners were groaners, but I expected that. No biggee.
It was fun seeing all the "old" men do their thing again. They obviously enjoyed themselves. You walk into a movie like this with certain expectations, and this met them all. If you're at all interested in going, you'll enjoy this movie.
And much like I appreciated how Predators suggested the sequel could go in new directions, I look forward to seeing the Expendables 2, in which I fully expect to see Stallone's all-stars take on Former Governor Schwarzenneggar's reunited team of Ventura, Weathers, Bill Duke, and the rest... "Long Tall Sally, she's built for speed. She got everything that Uncle John needs..."
Last edited by Styygens; 8/15/2010 11:20am at .
Reason: Fixin' typos
This review pretty much sums the movie up for me. I'd wished it was just a little bit better, but they tried to pour so much into the film that a lot of what could have made it awesome, spilled over the sides.
This. I enjoyed it better than the other so called action movies like The Losers and the A-Team. It got right what they messed up but, it still was lacking polish. Oh and Sylvester needs to chill with the CGI. The knife throwing by Statham in some scenes.
Originally Posted by Phrost
Oh and the fight choreography was better in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.
I found the jerky camera work kinda ruined most of the fight scenes for me. We want to SEE the fighting not just glimpse it. Thats why hong kong kung fu films kick ass. They show case the fighting.
maybe i'm just used to it, but i didn't have a problem following the camera work in the fight scenes. it's not as clear as HK-style fights, but it's not as bad as Batman Begins.
Actually, at times, I felt it was about as choppy as Batman Begins but not as frequent. Some were really good like the close blade fighthing.
Originally Posted by Conde Koma
Others were bad like BB specifically the Randy vs Steve fight at the end. It reminded me off a 70's Godzilla fight. Face close ups, a few punches, and a bunch of cut in slams.
It alternated from really good to really bad. No, I do not expect HK choreography in American Films.
Last edited by It is Fake; 8/15/2010 12:55pm at .
did anyone else appreciate "captain america" throwing superman punches?