1 hour, 43 minutes
Lee Christmas (Jason Statham, The Transporter), Ying Yang (Jet Li, The One), Gunner Jensen (Dolph Lundgren, Universal Solider), Toll Road (Randy Couture, Redbelt) and Hale Ceasar (Terry Crews, Idiocracy) are a band of highly skilled mercenaries led by Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone, Rambo). Barney's group, the Expendables, is tapped by a mysterious man known only as Mr. Church (Bruce Willis, Die Hard) to overthrow the dictator of a South American island. After a recon gone wrong, Barney and Christmas must leave their rebel contact, Sandra (Giselle Itié), behind. Though a suicide mission, Barney, haunted by Sandra's compassion and most ample bosom, decides to unseat General Garza (David Zayas, TV: Dexter) and the island's true threat, James Munroe (Eric Roberts, The Dark Knight).
For action movies, a single, simple premise can spawn a wealth of carnage, and The Expendables, by writer-director Sylvester Stallone (Rocky Balboa) and writer Dave Callaham (The Horsemen), does exactly that. Sly's Barney is a mercenary with a good heart; his men know this, and will follow him to the bitter end. A speech by the now retired Tool (Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler) adds just enough emotional heft to legitimize the ensuing insanity. The camaraderie between the fellas feels authentic and plays well, even if you can't always hear the witty jibes above the hail of gunfire.
And, oh yes, how the bullets do fly. And knives. And grenades. And bodies. Oh, the bodies. Just during their recon, Barney and Christmas manage to annihilate forty or so of the general's soldiers and they were barely even trying. You can only imagine how much bloodshed there was when the entire team returned, armed to the teeth. It's not all a blur of gunfire and splatter; audiences get to relish at least five mano-a-mano confrontations featuring the various team members.
Dolph Lundgren chews up the scenery as the off-his-rocker Gunner almost as much as Eric Roberts does as the evil mastermind. It's amazing there was any film stock left to shoot the scenes they shared together! On the flip side, the Barney and Christmas rivalry felt like Stallone, the Godfather of action, passing along the torch to the younger Statham. From the ass-whooping scenes Statham was given in The Expendables, he is definitely up to the task.
If you're looking for pure unadulterated action, look no further than The Expendables. Stallone and the crew deliver everything the trailers promised and more. I for one can't wait to see what other great action legends are included in the next edition of the mercenaries' saga.
Thursday, September 9, 2010