The Expendables Reviews
The film is trying too hard to be cool. From the biker gang mercenaries to a trench-coat wearing Schwarzenegger cameo.
The film is bogged down with average stunts, average dialogue and a cast that other than Stallone and Statham is average.
That being said Stallone and Statham are solid and Jet Li stands out from the crowd for his fight with the man-mountain that is Dolph.
Its watchable but certainly not the classic we were promised and most disappointing...it is not that fun.The film has a stop start feel and keeps going back and forth while trying to be taken seriously. Stallone, being a kind director or promising everyone screen time, tries to give his cast screen time in equal measure. This leads to a script written around the cast and what they can offer in a fight instead of round a story.
A perfect example of how to do this style of film better is the original Predator. The first 10-15 mins sets up a mission and we are introduced to the crew/gang very quickly. It gets the boring stuff out of the way and gets them all in the jungle quick as possible with a very straight forward plot and then it slowly cranks up the tension.
This film could have benefited from that approach. Pick a mission and have the characters introduced on the drop, then when something goes wrong we get to know the cast over the length of the movie and start to root for them.
Whilst I enjoyed the action scenes (they are very good set pieces and are endlessly enjoyable), the rest of the film just does not hold up. The plot is paper thin and almost non existent, the over-arching theme of comradery is forced and becomes of little interest, the dialogue is extremely cheesy and unfortunately the participating players don't have the acting skill to pull it off. It is awesome to see so many of the action greats of my childhood together in one place, but this also serves to highlight where their skills actually are (blowing things up and punching people). In particular the wrestlers on board are awful, neither of them lending anything to the film at all.
There are some exceptions... Mickey Rourke has a good go and I would've liked to see more from Bruce Willis (in here for a very quick cameo) but generally it is inexcusably poor. This is not say I didn't enjoy myself, but this film is definitely directed towards a select audience. I think Stallone took too much onto his plate and maybe should've loosened the reigns a bit and brought some other (writing/directing) talent in.
If you like a guy getting blown in half by a shotgun, tune in....otherwise, I wouldn't bother.
WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: There's no question however that what he's shoving down there is absolutely ridiculous, as this movie is honestly terrible. Yes forget fun summer action flick; the writing here is so atrocious that you'll be hard-pressed to avoid laughing as Statham and Stallone deliver the majority of their awful lines with a straight face. But then that's kind of the attitude of the whole movie, as it hammers everything home with a seriousness that - yes commands attention - but is also laughable when everything here is so rubbish. Seriously the action, character development (if you can call it that), plot and humour are so far off the mark that they'll likely produce laughs for all the wrong reasons.
VERDICT: 'The Expendables' certainly commands attention, but what it pushes home is so terrible that you'll probably be laughing your socks off. It might even take itself too seriously for the phrase "so bad it's good" to come in handy...