The Expendables (Sylvester Stallone, 2010)

From the perspective of 80s action movie buff, The Expendables is the most anticipated blow-them-up vehicle in recent times; a seemingly ultimate action movie to end all action movies. It is a truly throwback to the 80s action movies. The plot focuses on a group of experienced mercenaries who called themselves The Expendables. They were hired to overthrow a dictator, who rules over a small South American island. As a pet project of the veteran Sylvester Stallone, he co-wrote and directed it. He also starred as one of the Expendables crew alongside with other action movie stars, Dolph Lundgren, Jet Lee, Jason Statham, ex-football player Terry Crew, real life martial artist Randy Couture (too bad Jean-Claude Van Damme and Steve Seagal passed on this project). Joining the line up is the wrestling star Steve "Stone Cold" Austin and the B-movie regular Eric Roberts as the villains.

Ironically, one of the highlight and also my favourite scene is not from any cool battle scene. It is actually where the former bosses of Planet Hollywood, Sly, Willis and Arnie (the latter two in cameo appearances) in a uproarious church scene, their tongue-in-cheek exchange have me chuckled. The recent career-revived Mickey Rourke also appeared as an ex-Expendables but he never get to hurt anyone onscreen unless you consider penetration of stallone’s skin using a tattoo needle as such. I also love the reconnaissance mission where Statham and Stallone used their bomber to take out whole crew at the dock. Oh yeah who can forget the over the top violence where torso being blasted into two halves by Terry Crews's AA-12 auto shotgun.

The recent TV series adaptation of The A-Team (Carnahan, 2010) brings back the nostalgic fun without too dumb. Frankly, I expect more or less here in The Expendables. I did not hope for any kind of Shakespearean character complexity, heck I would be satisfied if I was served with half cooked script. Instead I was treated with this yawning bore fest. I may not be a hardcore 80s action movie aficionado, but I am sure the 80s was not as dumb as this movie depicted. In spite of all the loud explosions, car chasing, fist fighting, the in-your-face gore-nography, I felt restlessly bored. Towards the so-called climax of the movie, I can't wait for Stallone, Statham et al to save the girl, defeat the dictator's army and ride off into sunset with the mannish choppers.

For all the huge funding invested on the movie, It sure look and smell like a very B-grade-feel movie, I wonder Sly did it deliberately as homage. For example you won't be seeing a more stereotyped villain characters as Eric Roberts as the rogue ex-CIA agent and puppet dictator played by David Zayas. What The Expendables managed to do is turn up the volume, heat up the fights, blow up the body count and invite the movie critics to screw themselves. You know what, If not because of the action star-studded casting, this schlocky actioner would be a direct-to-DVD material.

Michael Bay, come back please, all is forgiven.

1 star = Pathetic, SowYau feel ashamed of watching it
2 stars = Off the mark material, approach with caution
3 stars = Generally good, you should watch it if it's your favourite genre
4 stars = excellent, strongly recommended
5 stars = A classic status? only time will tell. But it is definitely in SowYau's Hall of Fame List

1 comment:

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