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Review: ‘The Expendables’ is All Flex, No Muscle


Title: The Expendables
Studio: Millennium Films
Director: Sylvester Stallone
Actors: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture, Mickey Rourke

Make no mistake guys, if you have a penis (and even if you don’t) you need to go see the most bad-ass and manly movie of the year, The Expendables!

No seriously, don’t. It’s a piece of crap. I was just paraphrasing what most of the marketing surrounding this movie has been saying.

The Expendables: a film so macho, even implying it’s a sausage fest means having the Y chromosome beaten out of you.

Though I must admit, the promise of seeing all the classic action heroes from the last two decades was intriguing. I was curious who was going to be baddest ass in the room. I mean, would they each take a turn? Is there some sort of elaborate tough guy system set up? Maybe a flex-off or something?

But seriously, I was intrigued. However, that intrigue only lasted so long and then was obliterated by mind-numbing boredom. How does a movie with so many action stars end up being so boring and dialogue driven? Yeah, dialogue driven. A movie starring mumble-mouth Stallone, and they stress bad jokes and pointless dialogue. Normally I wouldn’t be complaining about trying to flesh out a character, but they should have just canned the half-assed attempts at giving these people personalities, and dedicated more time to blowing stuff up.

The plot involves a crew of mercenaries for hire (doesn’t it always?) who are offered a new mission on some remote island. Apparently, the general there is being a douche and needs to be taken out. Things get complicated, stuff blows up. Honestly, does anyone really care? Look at all the people in this movie!

My problem with The Expendables is not that Stallone wanted to make a campy, purposely cheesy, love letter to classic action movies. I get that, and I can appreciate the idea. My problem is that it was made so poorly. There was not enough action (if you can believe it). There were no inventive action scenes. There was the ridiculous use of obviously CGI blood and terrible CGI in general. I was bored.

The cruel irony is that The Expendables is currently kicking the crap out of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World at the box office. I say ‘irony’ because Scott Pilgrim offers up action scenes far cooler and more original than its muscley counterpart. I feel the need to repeat that: the action scenes in geek fest Scott Pilgrim vs. the World are better than those in testosterama, The Expendables. It’s like high school, only this time, the nerds wedgie the jocks.

Nostalgia alone will help The Expendables soldier on, and will draw people curious to see their favourites in one movie. However, if you’ll be one of these people, you should know that all the face time adds little to the overall experience, and the abundance of action super stars are wasted on a sub-par action movie, even by the 80s standards.

In the end, the best way to describe this movie is by a definition of the word ‘expendable’: of little significance when compared to an overall purpose, and therefore able to be abandoned. Literary burn!

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