The Expendables is Sylvester Stallone‘s vanity project, starring Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Mickey Rourke, Eric Roberts, Charisma Carpenter, Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The Expendables are a group of mercenaries, most notably Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone), Lee Christmas (Jason Statham), Ying Yang (Jet Li) and Gunner Jensen (Dolph Lundgren). They mostly go around blowing up bad guys and getting tattoos from Tool (Mickey Rourke), who always throws some wisdom into the mix. When Barney gets the job to get rid of the General, a tyrant on a small Latin-American Island, he has to face is own humanity. And he has to blow a lot of shit up.
The Expendables should have been great cinema: that cast and a bunch of fights and explosions, whatever could go wrong? The answer is simple: Sylvester Stallone. He should have never directed it, and neither he nor any of the other writers should be allowed to get within 200 meters of a script ever again. Also, everyone in this project should grow a sense of humor (except for Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger, who seem to have one already).
It was fascinating, really. This movie achieved levels of boredom usually reserved for Clint Eastwood movies – and that inspite of the many, many explosions [I seriously had troubles staying awake during the last 30 minutes of the film] and the frantic cutting [once you don’t know anymore who’s hitting who in an action scene, things are very, very wrong]. But not only the cutting sucked, it was the whole direction. After 15 minutes I just wanted to grab the camera to stop it from moving and zooming. After 30 minutes, I was starting to feel seasick. After 45 minutes, I actually started praying for a stationary shot.
And yet, I’m not sure if the script wasn’t worse than that. I mean, it actually gave us the line
Now you know what I do for a living. I’m not perfect. You should have waited. I’m worth it.
Which is so much WTF that I hardly know where to begin. And let’s not even get into the whole plot or Mickey Rourke’s wisdom-spewing.
The acting was pretty bad – which was to be expected. Still, it’s a bad day for actors all around, when Dolph Lundgren is, hands down, the best actor a movie has to offer… Surprisingly, both Arnold Schwarzenegger’s and Bruce Willis’ cameos were actually cool. They also showed the only instance of self-awareness and humor.
The biggest problem might have been that Sylvester Stallone didn’t acknowledge at all that he may be a little too old for these roles; and that there was not even the smallest wink when he was standing next to Jason Statham (26 years his junior) or Jet Li (17 years younger). Instead of the way Red seems to be going (taking the age and running with it), it seems that Sly tried to make everyone forget that he’s approaching 65. And that just didn’t work at all. [Also, there seems to be something wrong with his face. I mean, apart from the plucked and painted eyebrows. Did he have a lifting or a botox session that went horribly wrong or did he always look that way?]
Summarising: Stay away. Far, far, so far away.