Movie Review – The Expendables

Plot: A group of mercenaries led by Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) are hired to bring down a drug lord General (David Zayas) in South America.  They soon discover the real target is a corrupt ex-CIA operator, James Munroe (Eric Roberts), who’s controlling the General.  Barney’s real motivation turns personal after the initial scouting mission.

After watching the Expendables, one thing is clear:  I need a damn hearing aid.  I don’t mean to sound like an 80 year old man, but my goodness, this is a loud film.  It’s also obnoxious.  The cameos are pathetic.  And I feel like this movie is getting a free pass because its main selling point is that it contains all these high level action stars kicking ass.  No.  Screw that.  I expect better from Stallone, the man who brought us the Rambo movies.  He is capable of making much better action flicks than this, but I get the sense he felt like he had a free pass to do whatever he wanted because the stars of the movie will sell itself.  In fact, in the first five minutes, Stallone makes the credits more interesting than the actual first scene.  He wants you to watch the names come across the screen rather than pay attention to what’s happening.

I’ll give you that there are some entertaining and fun scenes, but it’s nothing we haven’t seen before.  I didn’t hate this movie, but I’ll remember nothing from it.  In fact writing this review is hard because once the credits came on, my mind instinctively hit the erase button before I was even out of the theater.

The characters are a complete waste of time.  There is absolutely nothing interesting about any of these people.  Sylvester Stallone.  Jason Statham.  Jet Li.  They are all interchangeable characters.    Surprisingly, the most interesting character was Gunner, played by Dolph Lundgren, who actually gives a solid performance.  He kind of drifts away from the Expendable group and turns against them.  Also, Mickey Rourke had a couple nice scenes.  But that’s about it.

As good as the action is I was reminded of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen quite a bit.  The climactic scene is so cluttered with explosions and fights that I just became numb to it all.  Oh, and did I mention this movie is loud.  I’m dead serious, my ears were in pain.  You have explosions going on in one ear, awful dialogue being yelled at in the other, and the score sounds like a bunch of fat people running through a glass room making as much pointless noise as humanly possible.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Sylvester Stallone as much as the next guy, but he mailed it in here, both in acting and directing.  The worst part about this movie are the cameos.  I got an Ocean’s 12/Funny People vibe.  They were making it to entertain themselves and not the audience.  And let me give a little SPOILER warning for the rest of this paragraph.  The trailers and ads try to sell you on Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis being in this movie.  Well, they are in it…for one scene.  And they don’t even fight or shoot anyone!!!  It’s just a quick dialogue scene!!  Yeah, that’s what I like about Schwarzenegger and Willis: Talking scenes.  Unbelievable.  And I get they only had Arnold for a limited time, but you shouldn’t even have him in the movie for just a quick talking scene.  And he’s just there so Stallone can make a couple bad jokes about him.  Give me a break.

Well, that’s The Expendables.  There is no reason for this movie to exist.  The action is pretty good, but it’s nothing special.  I think you’ll be mildly entertained.  But like I said, I forgot about this entire movie approximately three seconds after it ended.

Rating: 5 out of 10 (Passable Entertainment)   

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