Thursday, August 26, 2010

Review - The Expendables

A team of mercenaries plan and carry out a mission to over throw a brutal dictator in a South American country.

If I told any action fan that Sylvester Stallone, Dolph Lundgren, Bruce Willis, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Randy Couture, Steve Austin and Terry Crews were all going to be in one action movie kicking all kinds of ass, they would flip out. Action fans would get crazy and hyped, just like we all actually did. Certainly they'd rush to the theater to see all these favorite icons together, but then something unexplainable happens, the movie has barely any action. "The Expendables" is a action that questions where all the action is?

It is a travesty that this many action stars are in one movie and the film isn't actually wall-to-wall action. Literally, 90 minutes of the Expendables taking down a brutal dictator. One giant mission from opening to close. No needless backstories, no cliched hero-tropes, just action stars we've known for countless movies kicking all kinds of ass. Drop them off in the island at the beginning of the movie and roll credits after they've killed everyone. The bad news is that Sylvester Stallone sold the movie as exactly that, but it ends up being a film that could easily put you to sleep.

Writer and director Sylvester Stallone drastically missed the mark with his touted all star action extravaganza. For all the potential that the film has, it is easily the biggest let down of the year. Its a film I honestly wished wasn't made. It only tarnishes the body of work Sly Stallone was trying to resurrect. Stallone had really impressed me recently with both Rocky Balboa and Rambo, but this script and film makes we wonder what the hell was he thinking. Why take such potential and bog it down with never ending exposition and needless backstory? If Stallone really wanted to resurrect the 80's and 90's genre of action film, why not go all out? There's a good movie in there waiting to happen, Stallone just didn't know how to pull it off.

"The Expendables" has only about four action sequences and the rest of the film just feels like wasted potential. Seriously, listening to Randy Couture talk about how he has cauliflower ear is pertinent dialogue Stallone? Another aspect that feels a bit like a knife to the back is the addition of Arnold Schwarzenegger. The scene is one epic waste of time. Stallone and Schwarzenegger banter back and forth for nothing. It is a moment that action fans have endlessly longed for and it ends up being, well a knife to the back.

The brief action throughout the 103 minute thriller is good. Nothing as extreme as I was expecting though. In Stallone's 2008 "Rambo," we got a far more hair-raising experience and body count than compared to this year's 'Expendables.' On it's own two feet, "The Expendables" only skims the surface in thrill and brutality. You spend nearly 70 minutes before you finally get to the real meat and excitement. Then it's over. It's like having the grand finale of a fireworks show be a dud. All sizzle, no pop.

Simply, it is too hard to get behind a film that wastes 80% of its potential on needless backstory. "The Expendables" is huge disappointment. Having an all-star cast in the movie ended up being a curse. Sylvester Stallone couldn't figure out how to just give the fans what they paid for. Instead he spent way too much time on character backstory and exposition no one cares about. We wanted bloody action and he gave us a yarn. It's a shame and a major let down.