Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Expendables. Rambo, Commando, Die Hard vs. ERIC ROBERTS!?!

Oh, man.  You got to feel sorry for poor Eric Roberts.  You know its going to end very badly for that poor bastard.  It is a surreal experience to watch some of the best action stars from the eighties interacting with one another in the same film.  This movie has just about everybody. Rambo is the main star with Commando and Die Hard making a cameo near the beginning.  Rambo has the Transporter, Danny the Dog, and Red Scorpion working on his team of mercenaries with some UFC fighter and the big black guy that likes to beat up wetness and odor to the extreme in those Old Spice commercials.  Lets just say that he blows the crap-ola out of wetness and odor in this film along with a lot of body parts that have been known to cause such.  I do wish Steven Seagal and Van Damme were in it too but you can't have everything in life.

This movie never gets dull.  The Expendables is a simple men on a mission story.  Stallone is given a mission that even Commando would not accept.  But the movie focuses more on the characters than the mission itself.  Its full of car chases and explosions to keep everyone interested for the entire film.  Everyone puts in a great performance with a lot of great lines that aren't necessarily one liners.  I don't remember too many "I'll be back" or "Stick around" moments. Its just funny, clever dialogue.  Not all the lines are good though. Die Hard has one moment where he threatens Rambo by telling him he is going to "chop him up into little doggy treats."  Not a very intimidating to the guy whose mom will shoot you if you don't stop.  I'm just saying

I know a lot of critics will dismiss this film as nothing more than a big, dumb, action movie. There will be a lot of talk about testosterone and no brains but.they are so wrong. I know movies like this where men are men intimidate the hell out of critics.  They can not relate to such characters.  There is nothing dumb about men with no cause realizing there is something to fight and die for. That is what this story is about.  I know that is what happens in all these movies, but so what?  Its better than some movie about walking and talking that wins the Academy Award for Best Picture.  I'm looking at you American Beauty!  Some of Stallone's partners are different stages of the psyche of men who fight in wars all their life.  Mickey Rourke is part of the Expendables as the guy who sets up work for Stallone's men.  He was once a fighter too but he stopped because he was losing his human compassion.  Now he paints, tattoos and bangs chicks all day long.  Dolph is losing his sanity.  He enjoys killing too much.  The Expendables have a respect for the dead.  Crazy ol' Dolph likes blowing people in half and desecrating the dead for fun.  Yeah, they kick him off the team.  He is actually the most interesting character in my opinion.  Especially his relationship with Stallone.  Everyone on the team seems to be close friends.  They aren't just a bunch of pricks with guns who bicker to show they are pricks and determine in what order each one of them are going to die in just like in any other low grade wannabe action film.  These guys are likable. So it is interesting to see that when Dolph's character goes rogue and tries to kill everybody that Stallone is trying to save him.  Stallone doesn't want to end up like that.  After scouting out the target at the island of Vilenna Stallone decides it is too dangerous.  His woman guide is put in danger but instead of leaving when she has the chance she stays.  This affects Stallone's character. He doesn't understand why she did that. She is more courageous than he.  He and his team go back to start all kinds of hell just because it is the right thing to do.  I think that Eric Roberts represents the kind of villain Stallone's character could have become if he stayed in his "only for the money" kind of ways. Or maybe I just think I am really smart and read too much into things. You decide.

Jet Li kind of gets his butt kicked some in this movie.  He doesn't do so well against Crazy Ol' Dolph.  He wants a bigger share because he is so little.  Bullet holes are bigger on him because he is so little. Hilarious.  But there is one moment where he is with Stallone talking about his problems when a bunch of bad dudes show up in cars and try to kill them.  I kind of think this is the most badass moment in the film.  There is a quick shot of Jet Li shooting at his attackers with this stone cold killer stare. I know he is just and actor and he is really small but based on that stare I wouldn't mess with the guy.  Lets just say I am convinced he could kill somebody in real life with no problem.  Now that's what I call great acting.

I do have one gripe though. (Oh, here it comes)  While there is tons of fighting and blood in this movie (you know the good stuff you go to see a movie like this for)  its all filmed frantically with more  close ups and shaky cams than you can shake a cam at.  Its like The Expendables is paying homage to the Transformers movies.  This is so ironic to me.  Here we have the great eighties action stars in a great eighties style action flick but with modern effects to show a bunch of blood and heads exploding filmed like a Michael Bay film.  Stallone decides to film most of it with close-ups, shaky-cam, quick cuts and camera jerks.  This can't be.  Good luck telling what is going on half the time.  This isn't a freakin music video.  If it wasn't for that crazy zippity-doo-da style of filming action I would have said this is a perfect film. But I just can't.

Other than that I love this movie.  I think it maybe the best film of the year for me.  The Expendables is not as predictable as you would think  There are a few surprises in this movie.  I actually expected the middle to be kind of slow. Can you believe that! How stupid am I?  But instead there is a very impressive escape in the middle of the film which could easily be the climax of any other action movie. But it isn't.  There is still more kick-butt destruction still to come.  Its great to see everyone kill in their own style.  Statham and Li like stabbing and kicking people.  If they stab or shoot anybody you know they are going to kick them too for no reason.  Did they really need to double team Gary Daniels (He is kind of a taller Ray Parks)? The UFC guy likes to do his UFC  grabs and slams.  The rest just like to shoot people.  There is a lot of shooting in this movie so watch out.  Every now and then you may have to duck under your seat to avoid the stray bullets coming off the screen. 

Go see it so we can get a sequel fast tracked!



  1. I agree, this movie had everything I was hoping for.

  2. First, putting Jet Li into any movie automatically gets you cool points. Same for Bruce Willis. Crazy spastic Asians with comedic attitudes will always beat out the hilariously crazy white guy with an edge. Though my favorite action movie of all-time is Fifth Element. But The One was once my fave. Ok, so this logic no longer works. Forget it. Bottom line, they both rock!

    Second, I would've whole-heartedly agreed with you until you said it was the best film of the year. I'd have to say Inception is the winner. Just a better plotline.

    Third, even though this has nothing to do with the movie, I would also have to give cool points to any movie with Will Smith and Brad Pitt. Great actors make great movies. I would just like to see more action flicks from Smith. He's really gotten into those dramas.

    Last but not least, I expected more from the Terminator. You'd think with his role as the "Govona" he'd be better practiced. But I think he actually seemed cheesier. It's no True Lies.