Ripped Old Dudes and…Jet Li? A review of The Expendables

100% serious. This might be my favorite movie of 2010. I know it’s a manufactured cheesy throwback to cheesy 80’s action movies, but it was awesome anyway. I had more fun watching The Expendables than any of the big-name action movies of the last few years. Let me explain why. There’s a point where Stallone and Statham (who actually make a good pair in the film, not just because of alliteration) fly away from the bad guys, and for no apparent reason, fly right back to the evil island just to shoot people up with their airplane machine gun, then pour oil over the entire dock, and then light everyone on fire. It just seemed like the thing to do, I guess. Halfway through the movie I paused it, and then went down to the grocery store to buy beer. I watched the second half over 3 cans, and had a great time. It’s that kind of film.

The plot is as straight-forward as a one-way street. The eponymous heroes are 5 old dudes, who are mercenaries, and get hired to take out the dictator of a small perhaps Caribbean island by the mysterious Mr. Church. And that’s what they do, no plot twists or deeper subconscious realms, or dead ex-wives manifesting themselves as freight trains (copyright college humor). It’s a total throwback to movies like Commando, but times 10.

The movie does try to go deep and introspective on you on occasion, but it’s sort of laughable because the words are coming out of Mickey Rourke, who looks like an over-the-hill drag queen with and out-of-control drug habit. I thought he was just going for the weird dirty unkempt thing just in Iron Man 2, since he’s playing a poor Russian, but I guess it’s just his normal look since he’s the same thing in The Expendables. He probably just went from set to set filming the 2 movies without changing makeup or costume. And then went home…like that. Add in Stallone, who looks like he took a full-body botox injection, and it’s hard to watch them talk to each other while keeping a straight face.

The rest of the crew features Dolph Lundgren as a meth junkie Expendables dropout who wants revenge against his former gang, Jason Statham as a knife expert who is totally bad ass, Terry crews as the black guy (they didn’t bother giving him an actual character or personality so I can’t describe him any other way), Randy Couture as the guy who shouldn’t have been in the movie, and Jet Li as the punchline for innumerable “Asians are short”  jokes. Former WWE star Steve Austin plays a bad guy, and Eric Roberts is in the movie, too. The film also features 80’s action veterans Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger in smaller cameo roles. Don’t ask me where Chuck Norris and Van Damme went.

The Expendables actually features significantly less action than I anticipated, but it’s still fun. Good car chases, good explosions etc. Jet Li and Jason Statham’s fights are choreographed by Hong Kong product Cory Yuen (of The Transporter fame), and Statham’s fights especially are really sweet. Plus, other than Jet Li and Jason Statham, everyone else pro-wrestle fought. So the last 30 minutes are old, ripped white dudes suplexing and body slamming each other while shit blows up around them. What more could anyone ask for?

That wasn’t rhetorical. He/she could ask for tits and ass. The movie featured far too paltry an amount of  huge boobs and long legs. You’d think that would be a natural complement to shit blowing up and people getting knifed to death, but I guess Stallone didn’t want anything detracting from his own saggy old man tits. I hope they make a sequel, but also blend in more hot girls in revealing clothing. That would be a good 2 hours.

Anyway, see this move.

Later days,

Ser Sagremor

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