The movie is excellent for what it is – putting together a dream cast of action stars in one over-the-top, balls-to-the-wall action flick with explosions, killing, guns, and knives. Whether or not the story makes sense is up to the viewer, but we’ll get to that. Let’s talk about that cast.
With a poster boasting the majority of the stars last names with them standing underneath it, The Expendables is not short of any of the classic action stars that many action movie lovers love. Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture, Steve Austin, Terry Crews, Mickey Rourke, Bruce Willis, and even a cameo from Arnold Schwarzenegger. Whenever I heard the list of all the big name stars that were going to be within the film, I was completely concerned with whether some of the parts would be just a waste.
That was certainly the case.
It seemed that some parts were just put in there to have the name attached to it. Unlike another, similar movie that released earlier this year (The Losers), The Expendables has one waste of a human being after another. Of course Stallone – as Barney Ross, had a large role that he actually shared with Statham as the solider Lee Christmas and Li as martial artist Yin Yang (very cliché and stereotypical name) a great deal of the time, which was surprising. Rourke proved himself to be an amazing actor just like he did earlier this summer in Iron Man 2. Couture, Crews, and Austin – however – seemed to get lost in the film. Neither three can be consider an “action movie star” like the rest of the cast, but this movie could have catapulted them to hold that standard…It did not, however. Couture is very forgettable – I did not even remember his character‘s name (it was “Toll Road“). Crews as”Hale Caesar” is a bit more memorable, but still a waste. Austin, who is not even an “Expendable”, barely has any lines or good scenes.
Willis and Schwarzenegger are mere cameos, only appearing in one scene. There seemed no need for Schwarzenegger to be in the movie at all whereas Willis’ role could have easily been given to some no name actor for what it was worth.
Even with the casting problems (that could have just been a ploy to get all these action stars into one movie), the story itself was a bit simple and not very believable. With little spoilers, the story is about a group of mercenaries who go on a mission to the fictional country of Vilena to overthrow a dictator. That’s pretty much it…nothing really complex about it. Since I do not write spoilers, you’ll have to see for yourself why it does not seem believable for the Expendables to accept that mission.
The number of women in the film is at a whopping two, and they are both seemingly weak and underdeveloped characters. Lacy is Christmas’ girlfriend whom we see twice in a very unnecessary subplot and Sandra is the dictator’s daughter who, although stands up for her country in a powerful way, still seems out of place. In an action movie with a heap of male action stars, it seems rather odd to not include any female action stars as there are plenty of them. Of course females have been kicking much ass in movies this year, such as Kick Ass, Iron Man 2, and Salt, so many The Expendables were just aiming at a male-centered audience.
The movie has it’s problems, but what movie does not. The Expendables was certainly an edge-of-your seat thrill ride that kept the audience interested in the film. I do not think it will join the many action movie classics that the stars within the film have starred in – which is far too many to name but consists of the likes of Rambo, Crank, Die Hard, One, etc – it was still quite enjoyable for what it was.