So, I’ve just got out of the cinema after watching The Expendables. As I am not a film auteur by a long shot, I don’t have much of a reputation to protect by saying that its not such a bad film – if you like that kind of thing.
The Expendables was billed as every action fan’s dream – somehow managing to wedge every action star of the last twenty years into a single film. Some of the wedging is in passing, but I doubt any particular one had their balls put in a vice to make them do it. Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger make the most passing appearances, but as its not either one of them serving behind a bar or some other hackneyed shoo-in at least some effort was made.
The main characters are Stallone, Statham, Li and Lundgren, with Mickey Rourke taking the must-be-written-for-him role of the wise tattooist. It’s not a push for any of the actors, mainly taking roles that pretty much fit their past resumes, but anyone going to see this film is not looking for a challenging piece of cinema which pushes the actors to the limit.
People going to see this film are looking for a couple of laughs at some silly one liners and a shit ton of explosions, and they won’t be disappointed. The stunts are well done, the one liners did have me and my mum laughing – the part with the cauliflower ears in the first half of the film I genuinely laughed at. Stallone, who produces and directed and probably had more than a hand in writing The Expendables, delivers his mission of a non too serious send up of all the action films which made the stars, and The Expendables itself, possible.
The plot is pretty flimsy – take down dictator of cocaine-related banana republic – but once again, it’s not really the point: the fact that this was the plot to a shit ton and one action films is part of the humour. In the interests of assessing the stunts, I did not know Steve Austin was meant to be as flammable as a Russian forest in July, so they should probably warn all the other wrestling stars about that. Dwayne Johnson combusting on the set of his next leap for the family market isn’t going to go down well.
Between it and Piranha 3D (Speculatively, as I’m not paying to watch that), The Expendables wins by a country mile. It’s a good use of two hours just to tune out from whatever is bothering you at the time and be dazzled by good stunts, cool martial arts and listen to Jason Statham being “wittily English” as every English actor in a film thats marginally fast paced has to be nowadays (see Tom Hardy in Inception). Just remember to put your sense of reality on standby and your silliness tolerance on extra high.
- Humour – 6/10
- Action – 10/10
- Depth – are you pulling my leg