DVD Review – The Expendables

With the exception of Gulliver’s Travels and Big Tits Zombie 3D it’s hard to think of a more high-concept film that Sylvester Stallone’s The Expendables. Famous action figures band together and blow **** up. Classic.

But levity aside, this has actually been a very smart move from Stallone, who has put together a balls to the wall action movie that harks back to the 80s heyday.

– Big Explosions? Check
– Plot involving drugs? Check
– Corrupt CIA agent? Check
– Utterly ridiculous yet riotously good fun? Check check check.

The plot, such as it is; Stallone plays Barney Ross, the head of a team of mercenaries which also includes Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren and Jet Li. Their mission co-ordinator, Tool (Mickey Rourke) arranges all their contracts, and introduces Barney to Mr Church (Bruce Willis). Church wants the team to overthrow a Latin American dictator General Garza (David Zayas) a contract Ross takes on. Not surprisingly things are more complicated than they first appear when it transpires that Garza is backed by a rogue CIA agent (Eric Roberts) who has his own team of mercenaries (including Steve Austin and Gary Daniels).

This is pretty schoolboy stuff, but is done with great flair and humour. Indeed the only thing that could elevate this would probably be a better script. This kind of event cries out for a Shane Black script rather than one penned by Stallone and… er Dave Callaham (Doom, Horsemen).

That’s not to say that the script hasn’t got some heart. There’s one particular moment, a conversation between Tool and Ross that is exceptionally well shot and surprisingly honest. Apparently big boys do cry.

It’s all very testosterone-y of course. Charisma Carpenter as Statham’s ex-girlfriend is there solely to prove that Statham, while a mercenary is not a bastard. Giselle Itie is a little more lucky, but it’s noticeable that the only torture scene involves her, rather than any of the hard men on set.

But these are minor niggles, because the film knows its audience pretty well. With some frankly ridiculous gun damage very early on, the film sets out its stall neatly. There are moments of utter lunacy, which somehow manage not to grate in the way that for example the A-Team did.

With a sequel already on the cards for 2012, it’s to be hoped that this new action franchise doesn’t wear out its welcome and become a parody of itself. It’s clear that The Expendables wants to do for action movies what Scream did for horror flicks. To be honest it’s not quite there, but damn it’s close.

The Expendables is available to buy on DVD now.

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~ by moviegrrlreviews on January 1, 2011.

2 Responses to “DVD Review – The Expendables”

  1. Watched this last night and thought it was pretty dull, and I’d had a few drinks. Stallone seems to have gone to Mickey’s plastic surgeon and what plot there was had been ripped from Dogs of War. Arnie looked pretty scary in his cameo appearance – I think he might be shriveling up into a beefcake size prune.

    • Heh. Each to their own I guess. I just thought it was a hoot, plain and simple. I agree with you though, Stallone does look *very* weird. Not quite as weird as Rourke (but then few people look that bizarre).

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