How can you review a movie like The Expendables? One look at the poster and you already know if you’re going to love it or hate it. It’s seriously the equivalent of Twilight for hetero dudes. But review we must!
So the gist of the movie is simple: Sylvester Stallone leads a team of mercenaries with ridiculous names and one-note personalities against the bad guys of the world. Jet Li is the martial arts guy! Randy Couture is the violent redneck! Terry Crews is the huge Black guy! Mickey Rourke is the one that can act! They get their assignments from a mysterious CIA agent who sends them to a fictional tropical island to take out members of a corrupt banana republic government. Of course, since this is the 2K10, nothing is quite as simple as it seems, but The Expendables doesn’t ask you to think too hard about it. Just luxuriate in these paragons of testosterone snapping necks and cashing checks.
And snap and cash it does, most notably with the three younger turks in the cast – Statham, Crews and Couture – all looking great in comparison to the older warriors. Nothing in this movie is new, but that’s kind of the point – The Expendables is as much a homage to summer action blockbusters (a genre that’s doing nothing but grow) as it is a blockbuster itself. The fun comes from watching these men of violence inhabit roles that are both tributes and self-parodies – there’s no reason for Jet Li’s character to be named “Yin Yang” other than to snipe at the lazy naming of Asian protagonists in action flicks. And casting former WWE linchpin “Stone Cold” Steve Austin as the villain’s henchman is a stroke of genius.
And then, there’s the climax. The scene on which every action movie is judged, the final confrontation between Good (sort of) and Evil (basically). And this is by far the best 20 minutes of the flick, letting everybody get their licks in in grand style. An action movie is a lot like getting laid – a lot of foreplay and increasing tension, followed by an outrageous release. And this one’s ver much worth your eleven bucks.