Thursday, 30 December 2010

The Expendables are sent to explode a small country

Or at least, that's what they end up doing. They're a bunch of mercenaries hired to overthrow the island's dictator. Stallone's character, who seems to be in charge of The Expendables, goes there once to kill the baddies, but then goes back to rescue a woman he met briefly. He also brings his friends along, who all have very big muscles and very big guns and very big knives. The baddies also include a rogue CIA agent, and Stone Cold Steve Austin. The film was marketed as a nostalgic throwback to eighties action films, although I'm not sure these films ever went away. Jason Statham is proof enough of that. He turns up here with his usual 'muscular head', as Mickey Rourke says. At times it's more of a guest list than a film, hiring old muscley men and new ones that might be out of work. Van Damme turned down a role because of the lack of substance or character development. This doesn't seem to worry anybody else. It's a film that knows what it is and isn't ashamed of it. Unfortunately, this honesty doesn't stop it being rubbish. For all the violence and carnage to be interesting, you have to vaguely care about what's going on. Or it at least has be stylish. Here the explosions last forever but don't have any impact. Your mind begins to wander, and you wonder if Stallone has dyed his moustache, or why his eyebrows are permanently raised. There's sudden decapitation every few seconds, which is entertaining enough, but it only happens to the poor foreign army. Mown down in their hundreds. I bet some of them weren't even baddies. Just nice men who didn't really want to be in the army, but all the fishing jobs had been taken and they needed to make a living somehow. They are the real expendables.

There'll probably be a sequel with an even larger cast list. That's not necessarily a bad thing. It's still sort of fun to see these people making something so honestly stupid. That fun doesn't last for the whole film. About a minute of thinking 'look it's Arnold Schwarzenegger' and wondering who Dolph Lundgren is. A good minute though.


  1. "Van Damme turned down a role because of the lack of substance or character development."

    Holy crap, Van Damme said that?! He's been in some of the shallowest action movies, so when he says the movie lacks substance, you know you're in trouble!

  2. Well, the internet says he said that. So, you know, he might have done.