Movie Lover

The Expendables: Heavyweight cast, lightweight story

By Movie LoverMovies - 16 August 2010 11:00 AM | Updated 17 August 2010

The Expendables: Heavyweight cast, lightweight story

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Rating: 1 out of 5

When The Losers first came out, I suggested waiting until The Expendables or The A-Team if you wanted your fix of mercenaries and mayhem. Well I take that back. The Losers ended up being much better than these creaking clunkers in hindsight.

Boasting a who’s who of action superstars and legit real-life tough men, could this Stallone written and directed vehicle go wrong? It’s almost as if this could have been another Grindhouse, just sans the irony.

Stallone is actually a pretty great auteur. Despite the inherent bloodlust of his films, Rambo was an insightful bit of anti-war cinema and Rocky was arguably the greatest inspirational underdog story ever told.  The Expendables however is of an entirely different breed. It’s just a loud, bloody, unashamed throwback to late 20th century action movies - and not even the good ones.

The sole objective of this hackneyed testosterone-dripping nostalgia trip is to see Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren (yes Stallone and Lundgren do engage in fisticuffs, and no, Ivan Drago will never come out on top), (UFC fighter) Randy Couture and ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin hobnob, kick copious ass and leave behind a body count that could befuddle mathematicians.

Once the initial thrill of seeing these action greats onscreen together (Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger even cameo for good measure), mass murdering bad guys, the novelty quickly wears off and you come to realise that no thought was put in to little things like ‘story’ and ‘acting’ whatsoever. Things happens, things blow-up, damsels are in distress, The Expendables wipe-out a small army and overthrow a dictatorship, you know the usual.

I fully recognise these guys are legends and rightfully so, but acting isn’t how they made their names. Without real actors to work off, this ensemble’s weaknesses are laid bare as much as their muscles are. Dialogue consists of alpha male #1 grunting one-liners to alpha male #2 with painfully unfunny delivery.

Action movie staple lines such as, “Drop the weapons!”, “Let her go!” and “We’ve got company!” are spouted multiple times without a trace of self-awareness. The only actor who seems to capably pull off this drivel with panache is the villainous big-boss Eric Roberts, but that’s only because it’s Eric Roberts being Eric Roberts.

Whether it’s The Dark Knight or a Mariah Carey music video, you can always count on Eric Roberts to be the best smarmy suit-and-tie clad crime boss Hollywood can offer. Mickey Rourke doesn’t get to do any wet-work but he does get to tearfully emote as he recounts a Bosnian war story that I got bored of mid-anecdote. Those two offer up the only tolerably decent bits of acting throughout the dull brutality. 

Steven Seagal reportedly turned down the chance to also star in The Expendables last year. When Seagal turns down your movie for artistic reasons, you know you’ve got problems.


About Hidzir Junaini

Hidzir Junaini, is 23-years-old and a wealthy playboy billionaire by day and a caped crusader by night. Only one of those is true. He’s actually a freelance writer, blogger, full-time film buff and some-time socially awkward nerd. He also writes about music, restaurants and nightlife for MetroWize Asia.

Hidzir was the winner of the inaugural inSing Movie Lover contest that garnered over 1,000 participants. The Movie Lover contest is a search for a candidate who possesses outstanding passion for movies and a talent for writing engaging movie reviews.