The Expendables

Finally I was able to see “The Expendables”.  I’d say it was worth the wait.  There’s more manliness in this one movie than there has probably been in the last 5 years of all the other Hollywood movies.  No “metrosexual” shoegazing here.  Of course there’s a few emotions here and there just to show the characters as “human”, and yes, even a tear from one character as he recounts a troubling incident from years past, but he’s not the kind of guy who you’d laugh at for doing so.

It seems to me that Statham gets the most screen time and story time, which is fine with me.  I think if he’d made a little more cunning decisions in which movies to take and which not to take, he’d be box office “bank” in the action genre; but as it is now, his films are either great, or they’re just downright ridiculous.

Probably my favorite character here is the Lundgren character.  Don’t know why, and can’t really articulate it at the moment, but even though he’s not in the film as much as the others, he gets quality screen time.  Overall, worth the price of admission.  Action fans will be pleased.

Ok, SPOILERS BELOW, so be warned:

Overall, I give this film an 85 out of 100.  I’ll break that down a little later, but here’s the pros and cons as I see them:

Pro- Badass, badass, badass.  Definitely a throwback to 80’s action films in almost all ways.  Do you remember a time when even an action film took a little time to set up a story?  This one does.  After an initial action sequence involving Somali pirates, the film slows for about 15 minutes to set up the story and a little background on the characters.

Pro– A few good 80’s style “one liners” like the old days.

Con– Only a “few”one liners, could’ve been more.

Pro– Great action sequences that make you feel you’re in the scenes with the characters.

Con– “shaky cam” is still with us.  Use a tripod please so we can tell what the heck is going on!  I think one reason they use the shaky cam so much nowadays is that it’s easier to “cheat” in the action sequences.  They don’t have to be as close to each other to make the punches look like they’re landing because it’s so hard to keep up with what’s going on anyway.

Pr0– A South American “Chavez” like dictator is one of the villains.

Con– Cliched Hollywood American Ex CIA agent is the REAL villain pulling the strings of the dictator. Feeding Hollywood (and the WORLD’S) impression that Americans are bad guys.  Why would the rest of the world think differently when Americans make movies portraying THEMSELVES as villains all the time?  In an effort to appeal overseas, they are perpetuating the overseas anti-american sentiment that already exists and enforcing that belief. Not sure why Stallone did that with the story line.  Perhaps he was afraid of backlash if he was only killing foreign bad guys, or perhaps he’s had that Hollywood mind-set rub off on him over the years and he believes it himself, I just don’t know. (the Dictator even has a sort of “change of heart” at the end to imply maybe he’s not all THAT bad, but the ex CIA guy is rotten to the core of course!)

Pro– A good amount of humor.

Con– The dialog audio track is a little muddled at times so lots of things that were said which were humorous I missed because I couldn’t understand what they were saying.


Pro– Dolf doesn’t die!  Also a nice redemptive theme is played out with his character.

Ok, so I said I’d give it an 85 out of 100.

I deducted 5 points for the use of the “shaky cam”.  And I took 10 points away for the tired liberal Hollywood cliche of the evil EX CIA agent being the villain….AGAIN!

But overall I recommend this one highly.  It’s a breath of fresh air.  And these guys you actually BELIEVE can kick butt, unlike that “..what’s his name against the world..” crap. (I can’t even remember the name of it, I just know it looked like it would suck big time)


5 Responses to “The Expendables”

  1. You do realize that the evil ex-CIA agent is as much part of the genre that “The Expendables” belongs to do as explosions and fisticuffs, right? He NEEDS to be there, given what Stallone was trying to accomplish.

    I do agree with you about Dolph Lundgren’s character being there in the final scene. That was a great touch… perhaps even one of the best things about the movie.

    • While it may be integral to the story Sly wanted to tell, from Hollywood’s obsession over the years with always having an American bad guy, it has become quite overused and cliche. One reason “From Paris With Love” was so refreshing to me, all the U.S. agents were loyal and quite capable.

      • Silentmoviefan Says:

        To knownote — that was why “From Paris With Love” was so likeable to me…you had American heroes that were “secret” agents, and that was such a change from most of the movies we get these days. And it was also one of the few times that the words “I’d love to see these two in a sequel” crossed my lips! LOL

  2. Silentmoviefan Says:

    Well, the movie may be filled with enough testosterone to choke a horse, but that’s good enough for this reader. Sometimes, the thought of me being relagated to the latest chick flick because I’m a woman is enough to make me puke, and I like a bit of a variety in my movie viewing (hey — of my top 5 favorite movies, two might be considered “manly man” flicks and that’s Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World and Gladiator. Even The Godfather and Raiders of the Lost Ark can’t be categorized as ‘chick flicks’). I don’t get to the movies that often, but The Expendables is definitely going on my Netflix queue! (I’m just sorry that Road House Patrick Swayze wasn’t around for this one).

    • Glad to hear other women liked it. My wife requested this one and she wasn’t disappointed. Did I mention that she really really dislikes action films with metro boys?

      I was a bit disappointed at the CIA thing and the shaky cam fast cutting
      for the action scenes. Also, the camera work left a lot to be desired – often getting too close to even see what was going on.

      I’d say this is the worst Stallone movie since “Cobra” – which it reminded me of a bit, but it still stands out as the non blockbuster action genre is pretty dead it is well worth the price of admission.

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