Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Expendables

The Expendables:
Action Hero Fanfiction

In Grindhouse circles we have a saying, "just because the film has more stars then you can keep track of, doesn't make it good." And well, as much as I hate to admit it, though there are a staggeringly large amount of A, B and C-list action movie stars in The Expendables, that just doesn't make it good, it does infact make it almost painful to watch at times, and it makes me wonder if the film just got made on the fact that it had every single action movie star from 1980 or so onward except for Chuck Norris and Charles Bronson, but really, no one cares about Charles Bronson anymore and Chuck Norris is to busy trying to make a movie out of Chuck Norris' Karate Komandos to bother answering a call from Sylvester Stallone anyway. Though that might have actually been a good thing in the long run, because seriously this film had no chance at all of being saved. And before you ask, yes, I do like action movies, and am not saying as such simply for that reason. Its just that there is so much wrong with this film, so many things that are just wrong from start to finish, that its almost impossible to ignore them all.

What jumps out the most to me is that the cast is almost 80% unneeded and just pure unadulterated action movie fanwank. There are only seven characters needed for the actual plot; Sylvester Stallone as Barney Ross, Jason Statham as Lee Christmas, Dolph Lundgren as Gunner Jensen, Eric Roberts as James Munroe, David Zayas as General Garza, Gisele Itié as Sandra Garza and Steve Austin as Paine, they are the only characters that are needed or even have any form of development at all as the film goes on. You could have done this entire film with out Jet Li, Randy Couture, Terry Crews, Mickey Rourke, Gary Daniels, Charisma Carpenter, as well as the cameos by Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Infact Crews, Daniels, and Couture are in the film a total of less then 25 minutes, and you find yourself wondering why they even bothered to sign on for the film in the first place, Carpenter is on the screen for about 10 minutes for a seemingly useless and unneeded subplot that only stands to allow Jason Statham to do a solo fight scene where he beats up 6 random douchebags much to the shock and fear of Carpenter's character, who's never seen again after the first act. And with both Willis and Arnold in the film for one scene, one scene where Willis swears alot for three minutes and Arnold shows up for 4 lines, and then walks out you are left wondering what the point of them being there at all really was, other then to just say "hey we done a movie together".

The film could also have completely deleted Jet Li and Micky Rourke and have been exactly the same, there would have been absolutely no change at all to the film with out them, they are completely unneeded, though with out Micky Rourke you would have missed the only well acted scene in the entire film, where his character talks about his time in Bosnia as a Mercenary, but as we all know, 5 minutes of well acted scene by a character thats not at all needed for the film and looks like he was put together by a keebler elf from extra cookie dough, does not save it from being a steaming pile, nor does Jet Li's only really worthwhile scene where he mostly beats the hell out of Dolph Lundgren, thus living out a life long dream of mine that I've harbored and nurtured like a child ever sense seeing Das Dolphinstien in Masters Of The Universe in 1987 and became pure beautiful white hot hate by the time he stank up the screen in 1990 ruining The Punisher. And yes, all 9 of you Dolph Lundgren fans out there in the world, I know he's Swedish, not German, but hey, it was better then making a reference to him playing The Russian in Rocky 3, so deal with it.

the plot to this film, well what little plot there is, is your basic badly written film about a group of Mercenaries calling themselves "The Expendables", I guess it was Stallone's attempt to sort of mix The Dirty Dozen with The A-Team or something, they never really go into the history of the group much, or why they're even together, you're just expected to believe that this mercenary group has been operating together for years on american soil and there has been nothing done about it. You first see them together saving a group of hostages from Somali pirates, an incident which after they have to release Gunner Jenson (Dolph Lundgren), they half ass imply that he's using drugs and was high at the time and after some infighting he's released from the group, yeah this all happens in the span of about 6 minutes, so its kind of confusing. After this is a meeting in a church which is the cameo scene for Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger, Willis hires The Expendables to liberate a small tropical country from a dictatorship, and when Stallone how Willis found him, Willis says "an old friend of yours" and for some reason in walks Schwarzenegger and basically him and Stallone kiss each others asses for 2 minutes and then Schwarzenegger leaves again, never to be seen again. You find yourself wondering why he was even there at all in the first place, it seemed wasteful. After this Stallone agrees to "check out the mission" before saying yes, thus him and Jason Statham's character head down to the island country of Vilena, and from there the movie just becomes a giant mess that just becomes a dizzying load of action movie tropes and hacked up confusing muddled story that is typical of every film that Stallone has ever written, and except for the fight scenes, really drags and feels like the people that starred in it even knew it wasn't a good film, and didn't really put their hearts into it, and well it shows, it shows really bad, almost painful to watch at points really.

I found myself wishing for the end to come really, it was just so painful and embarrassing that these people would even connect themselves to such a film, I understand the idea behind it, the idea was to make the ultimate action film and hope that each generation's action stars would do the same, but my god was this painful to watch. So unless you're like super hardcore into the whole stuff exploding genre, seriously avoid this film, it'll leave you hollower inside then an Uwe Boll film, and thats really saying something.

But if you are up for it, here is the trailer... Ironically the trailer gives you more of a plot then there is to the film...




  1. Well holy fuck! I am not the only one to say it sucked! Awesome sauce!

  2. You warned me, you so warned me, but still I watched it, I watched it all the way through and I regret that I did.

    But what I'm saying is true, you could totally extract half the cast of the film, and its still the very same film, just less convoluted and contrived. Ok well less contrived, cuz well, Stallone sucks at writing films.. The last Rambo movie and Fastlane should have taught me that.

  3. Yup, total waste of 2 hours of your time. And of course every guy I know besides you freaking loved it- I think it was all the guns and stuff.

  4. You know Chris you'll flame me for this, but I liked it. I liked it because it made me feel like I was 10 again watching those idiots do what they do. I watched it and the A-Team together and I guess I was in a nostalgic mood because I enjoyed them both. No they weren't Oscar written scripts but they filled the void of any decent action movie. We don't get silly mindless bloodfests anymore from action movies ad it at least filled the bill.

  5. It might surprise you Eric, but I liked The A-Team alot more, though to be fair, that guy from District 9 that played Murdoch is what sold that film for me, the sheer insanity, the strangeness, the constantly funny one liners, I still laugh about the bullets in 3D bit.

    My thing with The Expendables was, had they slimmed it down, or maybe had someone thats not Stallone writing it, because his writing sucks worse then his mumbling acting, then I'd have been fine with it, it just seemed like a slapped together mess with a cast of people that were only there simply because Stallone felt they were worthy of being in an action movie with him.