Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Expendables (2010) Revised Review

What better way to kick off the new version of the blog than with a redux of one of the first reviews I ever posted here.  The Expendables is an amazingly fun throwback to the glory days of action films where the macho nonsense was laid on thick, the violence was excessive to the point of hilarity and by the end pretty much anything that could be blown up real good met with that fate.

Sly plays Barney Ross, a mercenary who heads a team that includes Lee Christmas (Jason Statham), Hale Caesar (Terry Crews) Yin Yang (Jet Li), Toll Road (Randy Couture) and Gunnar Jensen (Dolph Lundgren).

The plot is a favorite of mine when it comes to cheesy action movies, the good guys have to overthrow a sadistic Central American dictator.  Here, the dictator, one General Garza (David Zayas) is being funded by Munroe (Eric Roberts), a former CIA operative who is assisted by Dan Paine (Stone Cold Steve Austin) and The Brit (Gary Daniels).

Ross and company are put onto the job by a shadowy man named Mr. Church (Bruce Willis) and in a wonderfully amusing scene; Ross takes the job after it’s rejected by a fellow mercenary played by Arnold Schwarzenegger.  Yep, the three big names from 80’s action are in one scene together and it’s great!  Hell, even with the three teaming in the sequel and the recent Escape Plan with Sly and Arnie, it's still a fun scene.

The movie kicks off with a nice action scene with the team taking down some pirates that ends with Jensen being kicked out of the group for being an unstable nut job.  Other action highlights include a hilariously over the top scene Stallone and Statham in a plane that sees Statham getting into a gun turret mounted on the nose of the plane and the wonderfully excessive climax that has enough gunfire, flames, blood and carnage for two movies.  How can you not love a movie that ends with a huge bomb (as in the type usually dropped from planes) is thrown (Terry Crews may actually be from Krypton) at an escaping helicopter and shot at in order to create a massive explosion?

We also get some fun hand-to hand stuff during the climax as Statham and Li fight The Brit (the double team move they use to kill the guy is great); a nicely brutal punch-up between Stallone and Stone Cold and another good one with Austin and Randy Couture that ends rather badly for The Texas Rattlesnake.

There are simply not enough words to describe how much I love this movie.  The performances are great across the board (Eric Roberts is especially good as his usual slimy villain) and I should give a special mention to Mickey Rourke at this point.  He has a supporting role as a former member of Stallone’s team and serves as the team’s weapons supplier.  In a rather neat, inspired moment, he is given time to reminisce about a mission he was on that stuck with him.  It’s a wonderfully done moment that is great because it is so out of place.  Sure, Stallone tries to tie it in with his character’s psychology but come on... You come to a movie like this for loads of action, not psychological complexity.

Plus, it sort of fits with old school Stallone as he usually tries to put stuff like this in most of his scripts, usually to mixed results.

About the only real gripe I have is the rather dodgy CGI used in place of blood squibs and the editing is a little too frenetic considering the era the movie is trying to replicate.  Great flick though and Rourke is great in his scenes.  I highly recommend this movie for anyone who either was around for this type of movie when it was the norm or wants to know just how great action movies used to be.  Watching this in the theater was like going back in time and the sequels are even better... Well, the second one is at any rate.

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About Me

I've been a huge fan of action, horror and comedy for as long as I can remember.