Saturday, December 18, 2010

Expendables is a Bloody Mess, But Still Entertaining

Sylvester Stallone has absolutely nothing to prove. He is a bonafide star. He created one of the most inspirational roles of all time. You could even call his Rocky the epitome of inspiration. So when he makes a film like this one, I can only close my eyes and invision his pitch to the studio...(in Stallone's voice) "Alright, so what I'm thinkin' is we're gonna get every action hero togetha from the last 10 years, and just blow s**t up." Well, it the execs went for it. And here it is, in all it's bloody splendor.

Stallone, who also wrote and directed, stars as Barney Ross. He and his group of mercenaries (Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren...etal) are given a job to stop the reign of a ruthless South American dictator, General Garza. Along the way, they encounter a rogue ex-FBI agent, James Munroe, played by Eric Roberts. He too wants to stop Garza, but only at a time that is most convenient for him, and his wallet. It seems formulaic, and it is, but there was something about this movie that felt original. I just couldn't put my finger on it.

I felt conflicted on this one. On one hand, the whole story is kind of ludicris when you get right down to it. We have a group of mercenaries who operate out of an auto/tattoo shop, run by a guy named Tool (Mickey Rourke, who was one of the best parts of the film) and their job is so clandestine, that none of them have private lives, and those that do choose to ignore them. On the other hand, there's some great action sequences in the film. Just not as many as I'd hoped. Jason Statham astounds me every time I see him. His soft spoken English accent makes the manner in which he delivers his dialogue more diabolical. He his also an amazing stuntman and athlete. He's famous for performing most of his own stunts, having had extensive martial arts training prior to his acting career. He, along with Rourke, is also one of the bright spots in the film. There are some good moments between the actors, some cool (and often bloody) action sequences, and even an appearance by an action hero turned politician, but overall, as the viewer, I just felt kind of overwhelmed by trying to like the movie, but realizing that I really didn't.

For the action lover, this delivers. But if you're looking for the whole package; action, smart dialogue...etc, you'll want to look elsewhere. This was a good action movie, but nothing more substantial than that.

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