IanTheCool's Reviews
Short Reviews of Movies, Board Games, and Other Stuff

The Expendables

First off, I want to say that I admire Stallone’s vision with The Expendables. He made this movie for a specific group of people (those who enjoy violent, gritty action a la the 80s) without really giving a damn about the other facets of the wider movie-going audience. He set out to film a throwback to those macho films which made action stars like himself massive celebrities.

So did he succeed? I have no doubt that many people out there who have been wishing for a return to form for action films will enjoy this immensely. Why? Because the action here is everything you hope it to be. It is hard-edged and unforgiving and really does feel like and old Schwarzenegger or Rambo movie.

There is a lot of innovation in the action scenes (aside from one run-of-the-mill, choppy car chase) where small additions are made which make the fights stand out, such as a gory kick to the head and a comedic use of a ‘low clearance’ sign. Stallone recognizes that these small touches can really add to the excitement.

I appreciate the stunt work and non-CG effects work that goes into this movie. Its a naturalistic approach which is quite refreshing in this computer-obsessed industry. I also like how each character brings their own personality tot he way their character fights; Stallone is as more old-school get it done attitude, Statham is more slick, Jet Li uses quick acrobatics, Austin and Coulture fight with their wrestling backgrounds.

So the action is good but the story, well, that’s a whole other ball game. The writing in this movie is poor at best with some really cringe-inducing dialogue, such as an out-of-the-blue explanation for an ear injury. There’s also some pretty stiff acting here which makes it worse. Granted they are action stars, but one needs only yo look over at Jason Statham in the same frame to realize that action stars really can have acting chops as well. But I must say that the scene I was really looking forward to with Stallone, Willis and Schwarzenegger ended up being really disappointing. These three are the best of the best when it comes to action stars; its too bad the writing wasn’t equal to the moment.

The story is also quite jumbled including a subplot with Statham comprised of two-scenes which adds nothing to the overall story whatsoever except perhaps to show that Statham’s character is a good guy, but that’s never really touch upon later anyways. The motive of Stallone’s character is also really forced as he tried to tack on some sort of idea about “saving this girl will save his soul”, and idea contrived through an incredibly out-of-place, contrived (though well-acted) monologue by Mickey Rourke.

Now I know what you’re thinking; anyone who argues about writing and story in a film liked this missed the point. That’s not what this movie was about. Fair enough, and I agree with that mentality to a point. If the story is paper thin and is really just used to showcase kick-ass actions scenes or if the writing is just bland and doesn’t stand out, that’s one thing. But when they try for a meaningful story and fail or if the writing is just really bland, then it detracts from the entertainment value plain and simple.
A 6/10, and that’s generous.  Its probably more like a 5.

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4 Responses to “The Expendables”

  1. Hey, you review, i thought was good. I would agree with the story and the writing for the dialog between everyone. I think a well written story to the movie/action sense are needed. How ever, there is a point i believe that you just have to say…….”ok, this is about action and action stars, most of who won’t pull of the acting role of the century”, but they do what they do really well and that is action and cheesy tough guy lines/one liners. It is good to get a good critique of the movie as far as overall (big picture) performance, directing, producing, etc…..which of course this film lacked. But, delivered the action just like it was suppose to, and i think a little more. So, if you had to just break it down for action would you still give it a 6/5? Really enjoyed your review, just curious. Thanks, AdAm.

    • You know, Stallone has won an Oscar for writing, so its not as if he doesn’t have the capability. All this needed was a little more effort with those tough guy one-liners you mentioned in order to make them good tough guy one-liners.
      You are asking me to rate this based on only the action, but this isn’t just a series of action scenes (despite what some people argue), this is trying to be a real movie which showcases those action scenes, and as such it falls flat.

      • Good point. I see where you are coming from. Good to hear others opinions and views. Your review blog is really good. I am looking forward to seeing more from you. Thanks. AdAm

  2. This is just a poor movie all together. It is supposed to be about the action, but what really brings this movie down is its poor editing and lack of a coherent story. If it were cut together better, if the transitions between scenes were done in a way that didn’t just kill the flow of the movie, then the action could have been the star here. But what you get is what feels like a bunch of separate movies all bunched together, going from action scene to action scene. This movie is frustrating because I want it to be so good, and it is just almost good. This movie reminds me a lot of “In the Name of the King” starring Statham, almost good.

    Joe


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