By Sean Harris ’11
“The Expendables”-a film directed, written and starring the action star from back in the day, Sylvester Stallone-serves as a tribute to the machismo, testosterone-filled action movies of yesterday and today.
Stallone has accomplished this feat by bringing in the recognizable faces of action: Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, and adding to his tribute to action stars are Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger who surprise fans with cameos.
This is an ensemble movie honoring the genre of action; odds are that most people already know if this idea completely turns them off or if they are rushing out to the theater.
For me, “The Expendables” was a very entertaining movie. It never pretended like it was high art. Instead it accomplished its goal of providing cheesy one-liners, explosions and guns and that’s all it was supposed to be.
In the opening scene, the film introduces us to the expendables, a mercenary group led by Barney Ross (Stallone).
This group is used to taking tough jobs but when a mysterious man known only as Mr. Church (Willis) offers them the chance to liberate an island from a ruthless dictator (David Zayas), they have second thoughts about going up against an army.
Despite this job having “suicide” written all over it, Ross decides to take it, being inspired to save a freedom fighter (Giselle Itie) who lives on the island.
From there, it’s just scene after scene of five guys laying waste to an entire army through the use of explosions, knives and guns. And it is as awesome as it sounds.
The film is far from perfect. Just by seeing the characters I could guess what their purpose in the plot would be, and the various twists can be seen coming from a mile away.
The script, if you want to call it that, is chock full of clichés. The banter between the expendables is decent, but outside of that a lot of things stand out as incredibly cheesy.
Eric Roberts as James Munroe, the greedy corrupt FBI agent is the biggest example, delivering all of his lines with a sneer. I was just waiting for him to grow a mustache and buy a black hat.
Despite the film being non-stop action, by the second act it was definitely losing some steam and for a while, I was worried that it wouldn’t go out in a blaze of glory.
When it does, it won me back, but not to the point where I forgave the second act.
Another minor gripe is the effects. Sure, the effects team put a lot of effort into the explosions. Just don’t ask them to make blood or fire look convincing.
Despite these problems, “The Expendables” was a lot of fun, and everything I expected it to be. If you love action movies, give this one a shot; it’s basically a swan song to all fans of the genre.
3 out of 5 horseshoes