Movie Review

The Expendables

Heroes today. Legends forever...
The Expendables Movie Poster

US Release Date: 08-13-2010

Directed by: Sylvester Stallone


  • Sylvester Stallone
  • Barney Ross
  • Jason Statham
  • Lee Christmas
  • Jet Li
  • Ying Yang
  • Dolph Lundgren
  • Gunner Jensen
  • Eric Roberts
  • James Munroe
  • Randy Couture
  • Toll Road
  • Steve Austin
  • Paine
  • David Zayas
  • General Garza
  • Giselle Itie
  • Sandra
  • Charisma Carpenter
  • Lacy
  • Gary Daniels
  • The Brit
  • Terry Crews
  • Hale Caesar
  • Mickey Rourke
  • Tool
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger
  • Trench
  • Bruce Willis
  • Mr. Church
Average Stars:
Reviewed on: August 15th, 2010
Sylvester Stallone and Jason Statham in The Expendables.

Sylvester Stallone and Jason Statham in The Expendables.

The Expendables is an old-fashioned action movie that comes loaded with some major nostalgia by featuring several action stars of the 1980s. Sylvester Stallone directs, co-wrote and stars alongside Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren among others. Adding to the novelty (and heavily to the previews) Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger both make very small cameo appearances. The only people missing are Steven Seagal and Jean Claude Van Damme.

Stallone plays Barney, the leader of a group of mercenaries who travel the world taking care of problems that require a violent solution. (A plot, by the way, that seems to be very popular this year. We've already had The Losers and The A-Team.) His group is hired by the mysterious Mr. Church (Willis) to assassinate the leader of a small Hispanic island. While at first Barney is reluctant given the difficulty of the mission, his mind is changed when he meets a young idealistic woman who lives on the island and reminds him of a time when he used to believe in things.

Although there are some personal moments for several of the characters, the real point of the movie is the action. If you're watching this movie for the drama or the memorable dialogue, then you're probably in the wrong theater. This movie is about watching Jason Statham kick the shit out of a guy who was mean to his girlfriend. It's about watching Jet Li fight Dolph Lundgren and Sylvester Stallone fight Stone Cold Steve Austin. And it's about watching all of them finish the film with a climatic battle that involves more bullets and explosions than quite possibly have ever been put on film.

The previews have misleadingly played up the presence of Willis and Schwarzenegger, but both of them are only in one scene and aren't even given a screen credit. Obviously it makes good publicity to show them, but it would have been better to keep it a surprise rather than setting a false expectation. Stallone and Schwarzenegger get a few nice lines together with Schwarzenegger's political career getting poked fun of in a roundabout way. Willis' part is indistinctive and could have been played by anyone.

Although they try to give everyone a brief moment in the spotlight, Stallone and Statham are the stars. They make a good pair and Statham is one of the few actors working today who can hold his own with these action stars from yesteryear.

The Expendables is mindless action fun and a blast from the past. It's old-school, over-the-top action and good summer movie fun.

Reviewed on: August 18th, 2010
Stathan reminds him that basketball is a contact sport.

Stathan reminds him that basketball is a contact sport.

The Expendables is all about the over the top action, and that in and of itself is enough to keep you watching.  Several times I caught myself impressed with the action sequences.  Crews's loud gun and some of the bodies being dismembered are definitely whoa moments.   

The movie's weakness is in the plot.  These guys go into a small country to save a single girl, that Barney knew for a few hours.  They risk their lives and kill many people who only know that they are invaders in their country.  I never cared if they succeeded or not.  I found no joy in them killing the nation's army that is simply defending itself. 

With their goal being almost meaningless, I never got caught up in their struggle.  Sure I was wowed by the fights and explosions, but that is all window dressing on a very hollow plot.  The movie suggests that the leader is a drug lord.  The rogue CIA agent is up to something to do with the drugs, but again it never gives details.   

The movies best moment is the opening sequence in which they save some men from Somali pirates.  Having these guys kill this bunch of idiot Muslim criminals is the one time I cared if they succeeded.  The movie should have stayed closer to real events, it would have caused a greater emotional reaction from the audience. 

The Expendables is a decent testosterone rush, but it will only be remembered for the one scene that features Stallone, Willis and Schwarzenegger.  Whenever someone does a bio on any of them, they will surely mention that scene.    

Reviewed on: December 3rd, 2011
I hope Stallone isn't asking for Rourke's plastic surgeon's phone number.

I hope Stallone isn't asking for Rourke's plastic surgeon's phone number.

As my brothers wrote The Expendables is really just an excuse to cram as many aging action stars into one movie as possible. It is all about the gimmicky casting. The plot, or at least what passes for a plot, is just a means of enabling the stunt crew to blow up as much shit as they can. If you enjoy the scene where they intentionally spill some flammable liquid onto a huge dock full of soldiers, light it on fire and then cheer as dozens of men are literally burned alive, then this movie is for you. Personally, I was bored shitless.

The scene with Stallone, Schwarzenegger and Willis is the one bright spot and it lasts only a few minutes. It would have been cool if the three of them had teamed up in a different movie, one with a script worth filming. And one that is more age appropriate. These old codgers have no business making an action flick.

This script would have been put to better use if they had wiped their asses with it during the location shoots.

Yes The Expendables conjures some nostalgia for the 80s, but it is also a bit sad and pitiful watching Stallone attempting to run. Those hip and knee joints clearly aren’t what they used to be. And what is up with his face? There comes a point when you have to either just accept the fact that your physiognomy is getting old and wrinkly or else turn yourself into a freak show through plastic surgery. It is now eminently clear which option Stallone has chosen.

The action scenes are hopped up on testosterone and dripping with desperation. The story lacks heart. I wonder if they got the irony of the title in reference to the cast, all of whom (with the notable exception of Statham) have long since passed their sell by dates.

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