Monday, August 16, 2010

The Expendables was Awesome! No, not really

I don't usually review things I don't like. It's not because I was raised to believe if you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all. It's simply because I don't know what to say other than this thing sucks. However, I have received a special request to review The Expendables and I always try to give the people what they want. So here goes. [Minor spoilers ahead (although the plot is so predictable, I'm not sure anything I write could spoil it)]

The Expendables are a group of mercenaries who do the jobs no one else can handle. There's the leader, Barney Ross (Stallone), the aging veteran who has seen it all, his lieutenant, Lee Christmas (Statham), knifefighter, advisor and the only guy with any apparent life outside of the unit, Yin Yang (Li), martial artist who is always lobbying for a bigger take (why? who knows?), Gunner Jensen (Lundgren), badass with a drug problem (gets cut from the group and turns on them, never saw that coming), Toll Road (Couture), the muscle (and a true thespian) and Hale Caesar (Crews), the large black man with a really big gun (a little something for the ladies, wink-wink). There is one additional member of the team, of course. It wouldn't be complete without the retired guy who gives out sage advice, has lots of contacts and runs the business (in this case, a tattoo parlour) where the guys all hang out between jobs. The old wise man is Tool (Rourke).

Now, I won't go into detail on the story itself, as it is pretty typical '80s-era action movie fare. A corrupt ex-CIA agent and a Latin American generalissimo are in cahoots to grow and smuggle cocaine into the US. There's a girl, in this case, the fiery daughter of the generalissimo, who is working against her father. At first, the mercs want nothing to do with the situation, but Ross has feelings for the girl (kind of a father-daughter thing, we hope) and after hearing Tool tell a story of a life he could have saved, but didn't, and the guilt he's lived with ever since, Ross decides he's going to do the right thing. Of course, he intends to do it alone and, of course, his team will have none of that. What follows is a lot of explosions, gunplay and martial arts, all of it awesome. All the bad guys get their comeuppance, all the good guys walk away with barely a scratch and the turncoat is redeemed. Yay for us!

Now for the bad part, the acting and the dialogue in this movie was atrocious. Sure, when we go to a Stallone movie, we don't expect to see Brando or Olivier. But even by the low standards we've come to expect from such films, this was awful. Listening to Randy Couture talk about his therapy and his obvious neurosis about his cauliflower ear was literally painful. It felt like a junior high school public-speaking assignment when the most introverted girl in the class gets up to present her talk on the parallels between Romeo and Juliet and Twilight. Even the brief scene with Stallone, Schwarzenegger and Willis, three giants of my adolescence and early adulthood, was clunky and forced, although I will say, it ended on a high note with the best line of the movie. Basically, every minute of the movie in which somebody is getting beaten up or shot at was cool. Every minute in between was dreadful. If you can overlook the wooden acting and clunky dialogue, go see it, but first be sure to declare 12 bucks and two hours of your time expendable.


Update: After a big opening weekend, Stallone is talking sequel. My advice, lose Couture and hire some real writers.


A Paladin In Citadel said...

Ouch. Well, thanks for saving me 12 bucks. I had high hopes for this movie, alas, it seems they are not to be.

Rognar said...

Wait for the DVD release. That way, you can skip over the worst parts (basically, any time Randy Couture is speaking).

Thugkhtt said...

Off the top of my head, I can't think of a movie in which anyone does a worse acting job than Couture's performance in this film. Let's hope that his movie career "taps out."

Jay said...

Yikes, I was hoping to catch a matinee, but this looks like a Netflixer for sure. We saw Scott Pilgrim on Friday and loved it--so if you're looking to reverse your cinematic luck, I highly recommend it!

Derobane-bane said...

Damn, Rog, you should write movie reviews for money. If the world of science ever rubs you the wrong way, you have a future next to Roper, Ebert and Maltin.

The whole basketball court scene was a bit contrived, I thought. The whole, 'you bruised my girl and now you're gonna pay' bit was embarrassing to watch.

Please, Sly, I beg of you, hire Lucas to write for you. Sadly, that would have improved the film 100 fold.

The Expedables said...

If you have a kickass Televison and some loud speakers you can definetly skip the movies and rent it to the comfort of your home. On the other hand i still think it's a great movie

Anonymous said...

hahahahahah... all you guys who said the movie "sucked" or the acting was terrible or there was no plot... blah blah blah. This movie delivered exactly what it intended, and that was action action action... yes ridiculous at many points, but still we action men love that kind of stuff... i mean what are you guys expecting? an oscar winner??? a best performance winner? best supporting actor? of course it wont have that, but it does have everything us "action guys" want in a action movie... gratuitous violence. plus we get to see all of our favorite 80's actors kick major ass in a fun way. Sylvester did not intend to make this movie a "best picture" kind of movie. Clearly he had an amazing idea, as to bring back to the big screen "everybodies" favorite action stars, and put them in one film... and he did just that. This movie is by far the most manly man movie that has come out in a loooooong time. And super kudos the sly for making it. And i am stoked as shite that part 2 is coming out. I will for sure be first in line to see it.