The Expendables Review
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When Sly Stallone decides to get the guys together, he doesn’t mess around. He doesn’t throw a barbeque in his backyard. He doesn’t host a poker game. He gets everyone together to make a movie. And the result is The Expendables—an action hero party that no self-respecting action movie fan would dream of missing.

In this massive action cavalcade, Stallone writes, directs, and heads up the film’s unbelievable ensemble cast as Barney Ross, the leader of a ruthless gang of mercenaries.

When a man calling himself Mr. Church (Bruce Willis) hires them to take down a dictator on the tiny South American island of Vilena, Barney and his right-hand man, Christmas (Jason Statham), head down on a recon mission. Aided by a fearless young woman named Sandra (Giselle Itié), Barney and Christmas learn that there’s more to the job than Church let on. They manage to escape the island, but Sandra chooses to stay behind.

Convinced that the CIA is trying to use them to take down a former operative, Barney realizes that returning to Vilena would be a suicide mission—but he knows that Sandra’s life is in danger, and he just can’t seem to forget about her.

Obviously, the main attraction of The Expendables is its remarkable ensemble cast of action stars from the last four decades. It’s an appropriately testosterone-fueled adrenaline junkie’s dream, loaded with motorcycles, booze, cigars, and explosives. And, really, it’s worth the ten bucks just to see Stallone (who’s still pretty badass at 64) team up with tough guys like Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, and Mickey Rourke (who doesn’t get to fight, but he sure looks cool).

After the novelty of the cast wears off, though, you’ll realize that there isn’t all that much to it. The dialogue is corny, and the story is weak. Most of the time, in fact, it’s pretty much incoherent. It’s hard to follow—and, at times, you’ll have no idea what’s going on. But let’s be honest here: the story doesn’t really matter. What matters is that there are a bunch of old action heroes on the screen—and there’s a bunch of stuff blowing up around them.

Though The Expendables offers plenty of action and explosions, however, the action scenes aren’t as spectacular as they could have been. With so many veteran stars in one place, you’d think that Stallone would have taken advantage of their various abilities—to impress the audience with their collective action prowess. Instead, the action scenes are often dark and disorienting—just a blur of arms, legs, and weapons, with the occasional burst of gore (usually in the form of random exploding heads). Li, especially, is shamefully underused; he’s given just one blurred fight scene.

Despite its flaws, though, The Expendables is still an explosive guilty pleasure. So if you’re a fan of old-school action flicks, you won’t want to miss this over-the-top action star reunion.

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