Watching Sylvester Stallone’s new movie The Expendables is like attending a high school reunion — it’s lovely to see everyone again but they’ve all filled out a bit and become a bit old and past it. Having said that, the action stars of yesteryear are still believable when it comes to pulling off the stunts in the film, as considering their respective ages they’re in very good shape indeed.
The Expendables are a group of mercenaries led by Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone). His team is made up of Lee Christmas (Jason Statham), Yin Yang (Jet Li), Gunner Jensen (Dolph Lungren), Hale Caesar (Terry Crews) and Toll Road (Randy Couture). Arnold Schwarzenegger also makes a brief appearance as Ross’s rival mercenary leader Trench when both him and Ross go to see Mr. Church (Bruce Willis). Mr. Church offers Trench and Ross a mission to overthrow the dictator General Garza (David Zayas) in Mexico but Trench is too busy to take it and he gives the contract to Ross.
Ross and Christmas (Statham) head to Mexico to investigate. Once there they discover that Garza is in cahoots with an ex-CIA agent, James Munroe (Eric Roberts) and that together they are terrorizing the island they inhabit. Ross and Christmas meet Sandra (Gisele Itie) and try unsuccessfully to get her to come with them when they leave the island under attack. Once Ross and Christmas are back, the team regroups and heads back to Mexico to undertake their mission and to get the girl.
Unfortunately, the majority of the cast mumbled their way through what little dialogue there was. This had the adverse effect of making Jason Statham seem like a good actor for once (he was the only person I could understand). Jet Li seemed ill fitting and lost in amongst the brawn of the others. The great Mickey Rourke did the best performance he could with the poor lines he was given, but unfortunately the phrase, “You can’t polish a turd” has never been more aptly applied than to this film’s script.
Of course none of this really matters, as no doubt the only expectations of potential viewers of The Expendables will be to see their favorite action movie stars on the screen again involving themselves with some outrageous and wholly unnecessary violence. In that respect The Expendables more than delivers — it’s impressive with its violence in places with scenes such as someone punching a man that’s already completely on fire to the Expendables blowing up an entire building with themselves in it, in order to escape from it (and it works!). For this reason The Expendables can most definitely not be viewed as a flop (despite its obvious failings) as it does exactly what it says on the tin.