So what's next? He'd already jumped on trends and resurrected his action franchises from the past.
Well, in 2010 we get The Expendables which doesn't resurrect one of Stallone's older franchises, but attempts to launch a new one. What's the Gimmick? Oh just about every single Action Hero he could think of that can legally work in the United States and had the time to appear (or owed him a favor, or was guilted into it). And yes, folks, this does include his old buddies and former business associates Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger in a brief cameo (that won't interfere with the latter's duties as Governator, we understand).
You see, Willis' Mr. Church and his unnamed (but clearly CIA) buddies have a bit of a problem with this South American dictator named General Garza (David Zayas). So Church has to hire a team to take him out. Since Schwarzenegger's "Mister Trench" thinks this is a Job for an IDIOT and his team, Church realizes it's high time to SEND IN THE EXPENDABLES!
Need I say that this gang of tough guys might not always get along, especially when their personalities are as strong as their biceps? Might I add... do bears bear, do bees be? Yep, you may be able to count on some in-fighting, no matter how much the ostensible "Alpha Males" (plural... Barney and Christmas) might want to keep their powder cool. Rest assured, though... there's a huge-ass fight to be had, especially once the extensible Expendables find out that General Garza has a meddling American puppet master James Munroe (Eric Roberts) and the Enforcer he rode in with named Paine (Steve Austin) pulling some strings. That's not even mentioning the mysterious Brit (Gary Daniels) and Garza's entire Cocaine funded army. Fuck BALLS is the Shit ever gonna hit the proverbial fan, man!
The script by Dave Callaham and Stallone (who also directed) is all about fighting and the general state of ensuing mayhem that went into each and every film that blasted onto silver screens when some of these guys ruled the box office. Advertisements might point to some sort of wannabe comeback for the Sly Guy that amounts to something of a Clip Show or semi-satire of the genre that made him a huge star. The Expendables certainly did look quite a lot like an obvious gimmick that might well result in big hype but small returns. However, with its big opening weekend and bigger hype, this is looking more like the hit the Italian Stallion was looking for. Further, this is far from the spoof it might seem like from the advertisements. Sure its gimmick laded, but kids, this is the real deal from the old school of action with loud, laughing quips, indiscriminant shooting, bodies exploding and macho male bonding. It's most certainly mindless action over story for better or for worse.
However, said script might make for a twenty-three and one half minute flick without a little padding to fill it out. To that end, Stallone and his buddy Dave naturally throw in a couple of interesting women like Sandra (Giselle Itié) and the still super hot and welcome Lacy (Charisma Carpenter). They don't get naked, but... anyway. To the same end, we get a few expository scenes featuring Rourke regaling Stallone with horror stories to show that he's still that guy who was recently nominated for an Oscar. While it's true that Mickey Rourke is A GENIUS and Charisma Carpenter is still super-hot, it's hard not to feel that these moments are little more than tools for padding out the film and at least making a couple of characters more than paper-thin.
I wonder if I were to be cast in a TV show if I'd be cast as the Nerd, man. I hope not. I'm really good looking, man. Maybe I'm just not TV Good Looking. Okay, after I finish writing this I'm going to the Gym. Does anybody know when "24 Hour Fitness" closes?
Anyway... what was I... Oh, The Expendables! Right.
The thing is... at times, as mindlessly stuck in the 1980s as this film can be with its constant machismo and prerequisite gunfights, car chases, explosions and nonstop bravado, all of this somehow amounts to just what the doctor ordered. Oh, at times the mark is missed and we delve right on back into the dumb and you're best leaving your brain on auto-pilot, but once in a while it's kind of cool to just let go and say "BLAST AWAY, MOTHERFUCKERS!" The thing is that obviously this becomes just a bit too much now and again and the unnecessary killing and bloodletting feels a lot less like a heroic adventure than an excuse to blow shit up and bark like Tim the Tool Man!
Further, it's hard not to feel that there was a time and place for this kind of movie and that time and place was a quarter-century ago. Still... no matter when the prime was, it is great to see a lot of these bad ass dudes again, whether we've seen them recently like Statham, Li, Rourke and Crews or we've been wondering where the hell they've been like Lundgren and... Lundgren.
All told there are many worse ways to waste your time than by spending it with The Expendables, even if many of their stars have gone from Dependable to wearing "Depends". Planet Hollywood fans will love seeing Bruce, Sly and Arnold together and Action Fans should love it, especially noting that 64 year old Stallone is now bigger and harder than ever... no matter what "Supplements" he may be taking. All told, this isn't a great film and it might leave a lot of you cold with its mercenary attitudes and its sanctimonious dialogue. Still, taken for all with all, The Expendables isn't QUITE 100% expendable and manages to earn Twop and One Half Stars out of Five! BLAST IT MOTHERFUCKERS, BLAST IT ALL! Now, if you'll excuse me, watching this movie has just caused an enormous amount of hair to grow all over my chest and I need to shave again... for the seventh time today. See you in the next big, fat, hairy reel! Now if only I could find out what Stallone is on, man!
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