Sylvester Stallone has been around for a while, and like older women that look like they have raided their daughters closet, maybe it’s time to let go of the past. I’m not saying curl up and die, just accept some things may not be for you anymore…
Expendables started decently, doing the things that could have made it successful had they continued down that road. There was comical banter in a tense, over the top situation that legitimately should have left them all dead. There were even several attempts to create backstory and give the characters depth. Statham had a love interest, Lacy (Charisma Carpenter), he was on the outs with, due to his questionable availability. Li kept saying he needed more money, but the reasons kept changing. Couture was in therapy dealing with issues. The biggest stretch was Lundgren being a drugged up, burnt out mercenary. At least they tried.
Let’s address the main selling point of this film, the cast allegedly consisting of some of our favorite action heroes from days gone by. Just because they make an appearance, does not an ensemble make. Remember the preview? That was pretty much the whole appearance by Willis and Schwarzenegger. The rest of the film was a Stallone vehicle, accompanied by Statham (he does have some of the best fight scenes). Some loose storylines involved Lundgren, Rourke and Li. And pretty much appearances by everyone else. I don’t remember Terry Crews even throwing a punch!
The basic plot is the team is hired to to free a small island from tyrannical leader General Garza (David Zayas) who is backed by rich Americans profiting from his drug trade (fronted by Eric Roberts with Steve Austin as the muscle). Their contact happens to be Sandra (Giselle Itié), the ridiculously attractive daughter of the dictator. After an inane confrontation that I imagine would NEVER happen if they were doing real reconnaissance, Stallone and Statham safely return home minus Sandra, as she will not leave her homeland. In the most touching scene and arguably the best acting of the movie, Rourke recants a tale of a previous mission. He had taken so many lives that day… He comes to a bridge where a woman was about to jump, she pleads to him with her eyes to save her, and he walks away. He hears the splash and knows that his humanity is gone.
Stallone decides to go back alone and help Sandra free her people. In true pack animal form, the guys go back with him, even though he says he is going alone and they are not getting paid. Right about now the shark gets jumped, the bowl gets circled, and crows are pecking at the dead flesh of The Expendables. It degrades into a stereotypical bad action flick that relies on explosions and gunfire to make a point. Or lack of a point. I wanted to see if our best action heroes still had what made them famous. I couldn’t tell, because I can’t see anything! The fight scenes are way too close and quick cutting. The General’s trained army is completely dismantled by six men. And why the hell is the helipad located outside the confines of the palace, along the most dangerous path available? Oh yeah, the palace has been reduced to a pile of rubble, and with no chase through the compound the movie would be shortened by 25 minutes.
The Expendables didn’t have potential, it was actually using what could have made it enjoyable and a movie to remember (in a good way.) It goes to some unnecessarily dark places, and includes story points that just don’t fit. Remember Rocky and First Blood? This is no where close. Darn that Hollywoody crap for getting in the way.