By: Henry J. Fromage (Four Beers) –
A team of mercenaries undertakes one last job- taking down a South American dictator and the shadowy organization supporting his regime. This team of mercenaries is composed of every action star, past and present, who would say yes to Sly Stallone (most of them).
The Expendables is ridiculous, and everyone involved knows and embraces it. The airplane strafing scene with Stallone and Statham makes Rambo III look like a BBC documentary about the lives of chimney sweeps, and this is awesome.
Not even remotely possible
As we knew going in, you have to love the cast here, but a few deserve special mention. Mickey Rourke appears to suddenly have decided to never phone in another performance, and while the necessity of his inclusion is questionable, he goes and throws an Oscar moment in there where you never expected to find it. Dolph Lundgren, who most people probably thought was dead, actually attempts to act, which is surprisingly legit. Also, he’s huge, which always makes for some pretty sweet fight scenes.
But nobody cares about that acting stuff in a film like this. We want big guns, plenty of gore, and snappy one-liners in true 80s action style. With all of the actors who’ve done this before, it’s a surprise that Terry Crews steals the show. His little toy and quick quips are the highlight of the movie, and I would be excited to see what he could do with an action film on his own.
The rest of the acting is about what you’d expect. Randy Couture makes you want to shotgun a beer through your nose so it gets to your brain faster. Couture has about five lines in the movie, and they all make your head hurt. It’s like they tried to give him his lines on cue cards, but they forgot that he didn’t know how to read. Just because you’re an excellent fighter doesn’t mean you belong in a movie. WWE guys have an easier time because half of their job is acting anyway, and Steve Austin does just what he’s supposed to- look menacing, grumble out a few threats, and beat up stuff. Couture, unfortunately, is clearly confused, and makes even Lundgren look like Daniel Day-Lewis.
What’s them lines n squiggles?
O.k., this beer might be a little nitpicky, but I have to drink one for the dialogue and editing. The dialogue is cheesy, of course. However, and this might be editing’s fault as well, it often seemed like the actors weren’t even in the same room during conversations. Judging by the fact that almost all dialogue is delivered in facial close-ups, I guess that’s possible, but they could have at least edited out the lag.
The editing of fight scenes is probably the worst problem with the movie. It’s cut together using the Pokemon school of trying to induce seizures without actually showing anything happening. The editing makes you spend half the fight wondering what’s happening and the other half hoping it’s over soon. That’s a cardinal sin in any action movie.
Mickey Rourke? Someone exploding? Frylock?
This final beer will have to be drunk to what this movie could have been. I applaud the concept and the attempt to do a throwback 80s-style bloodbath flick. Movies like Rambo II & III, Predator, Commando, and even most of Chuck Norris’s filmography are some of the most enjoyable mindless flicks out there, and it’s pretty hard to screw that formula up. I wouldn’t say that The Expendables does this, but all we need to do is see Stallone’s newest Rambo flick to see that he can do this type of film better. I hope that Stallone and company deliver on the pretty much promised sequel, and that they can get Norris, Steven Seagal, and Jean-Claude Van Damme on board. If they can even get one of those guys (please, please Chuck Norris), write a script that is 99% violence, and maybe use Willis and Schwarzenegger in more than a token scene (the villains of Expendables II?) then we can maybe have another 80s classic on our hands.
Please, Please, Please!
Watch it. It’s plenty violent and brainless and a few beers will help you forget what a movie with this cast could have been.
Bonus Drinking Game
Take a Drink: for every death, obviously
Take a Drink: for each awesome cast member as they first appear
Drink a Shot: when Hale Caesar brings out his “toy”