The Expendables

The Dogs of War


13 August 2010| No Comments on The Expendables     by Sean Chavel


The Expendables gives you more or less what you would expect from it, nothing more. But with that lineup roster that may be enough for action movie die hards. The hulking dialogue is as meathead processed as any script since “Con Air,” and when we get to those comparisons, we know we should be talking guilty pleasure here. Big laughs and lots of firepower – it delivers with a bang. Who cares about logistical holes?

Sylvester Stallone has contrived a scene where both Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger can share a cameo, and the three of them bop around the worst dialogue known to man. Yet the scene latches on how each actor takes one consecutive worst line after the next and twists it into a delivery of manly badass cool (Bruce, I think, wins this contest). Later, Mickey Rourke, as a tattoo artist and biker, takes his boilerplate dialogue and yet approaches something like Brando doing “Reservoir Dogs.” As Eric Roberts says later in the film, it sounds like “bad Shakespeare.”

Mostly Stallone’s outfit are mercenaries who travel the world, doing violent jobs for hire. Among them are Jason Statham, Jet Li, Terry Crews, Randy Couture and Dolph Lundgren who can’t be bothered with being solely good. There is a new assassination job in Baja where the bad guys are involved somehow in drug trafficking, but if you’re looking for complex revelations in illegal trade, then pick another movie. The Expendables go head to head with Roberts, David Zayas and former Royal Rumble champion Steve Austin who is nearly the giant that Lundgren happens to be.

For awhile, it’s the Sly Stallone / Jason Statham show, and their repartee certainly has a mentor warrior / protégé warrior relationship. The peak action scene, midway, has Stallone flying a plane while Statham climbs onto the nose of the plane to engage in close-sight machine gun annihilation of dozens of baddies lined up on the docks. Awesomely ridiculous heroics, that’s for sure. But the glaring oversight is that Stallone doesn’t put enough of the headline cast in the same room often enough. It’s not until the second trip to Baja does the rest of Stallone’s crew really get involved.

The second half of the movie is about saving the girl, who is played by Giselle Itie. She would be Stallone’s interest. Charisma Carpenter is Statham’s interest, a bumpy relationship that needs a new kick start. But the movie is lunkhead in the romance department. There is no final love scene as the girls are missing from it, as it all boils down to macho dudes hanging out and drinking too much – the merriment of testosterone.

“The Expendables” is a throwback to ’80’s style run and gun action, bone-crunching fistfights, and muscles-in-motion stunts. And it gets the big guys going blow to blow to each other, and Jet Li – why not – in a brawl going up against the biggest guy. The whiplash editing is a little rough, but it’s still easier to follow – and more fun – than “The A-Team” and “Knight and Day” and whatever other computerized chunky-junk action the rest of summer movies have offered.

103 Minutes. Rated R.


Film Cousins: “Predator” (1987); “Con Air” (1997); “Grindhouse” (2007); “The A-Team” (2010).

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Sean Chavel

About The Author / Sean Chavel

Sean Chavel is a Hollywood based author and movie reviewer. He is the Executive Director of, a new website that has adapted the movie review site genre by introducing moodbased and movie experience based reviews.


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