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The Expendables

Day 158: October 4th, 2010

The Expendables.

The Expendables falls short on expectations.

A team of mercenaries head to an island to overthrow a dictator.

The entire plot of the film can be summed up in 12 words. Even less if I try. Merc overthrow dictator. There, only 3. I was somewhat excited to see The Expendables, Stallone having a throwback action film, with a cast that had jaws drop everywhere when it was announced. The sad part is, the film falls short in many areas and just meets expectations in others. For a film like this, I wanted to be engulfed in everything it had to offer, I wasn't.

The film stands out in the pile of films that hit theatres this year about a group of skilled guys with guns who have to kill people. The Losers, The A-Team and most recently RED. The difference is that each one of those was based on something prior. Be it a graphic novel or TV show, and they had a bit of revenge thrown in. The Expendables is simply about guys kicking ass. I appreciate Stallone for doing what he set out to do. He made a guy flick, with muscles, guns, knives, one liners and explosions. Yet, the film was still missing something, it had no heart.

Here we have a great cast, yet everyone is underused. Especially Dolph "Drago" Lundgren, it's almost criminal. With a cast like this you would expect everyone to get their moment to shine and have a kick ass part in the film. Jet Li does his martial arts thing, which we have seen before. Statham and Stallone are the only two characters the script pays attention to, everyone else is left to the wayside. Randy Courture and Terry Crews seem like after thoughts in this cast of characters. Stallone, you can't expect to give one character a big loud gun and expect everyone to forgive you by thinking he had a purpose. Mickey Rourke shows up, looking like he walked right off the set of Iron Man 2. His role is strictly dialogue and apparently gives Stallone a reason to go back to the island and save a girl.

Cordelia Chase or Charisma Carpenter, as her real name is, has two scenes. Both of them are a poor attempt at giving Statham some kind of backstory. The backstory is clichéd to hell and eye rolling. But, heck, what am I saying? Story in a flick with a bunch of guys who blow things up? I must be crazy right? The target audience doesn't care about that sort of thing. They want to see guns a blazin and explosions exploding. The last fifteen or so minutes is full of explosions, it is almost overkill. They needed to fill the running time so they added 5 minutes or so of just explosions. Exciting? Not really.

The fight scenes are poorly edited, hell even the famous trio scene is half assed. Stallone wanted to get so much in with Willis and the Governator that the scene is way to choppy and loose that it's just a mess. We get it, the three of you in one scene together, cool. Now let me actually enjoy it. Another nit pick I have, Stallone wants to celebrate the old days. The 80's if you will, with this film. Yet he had horrendous CGI effects. The green screen and the blood were so brutally obvious that it's jolting. What's wrong with squibs? If you really wanted to make a throwback action film you would have had those instead of CGI blood.

The Expendables is underwhelming, Stallone tries and has some moderate success. I couldn't get pass the whole going back for the woman bit. Eric Roberts makes a good bad guy, but the story revolving around him is pointless filler to get another 'name' in the picture. Stallone wanted to put way too much into this film and he seemed to rely too heavily on that dreadful line that will always come back to bite you in the ass. "We'll fix it in post".

No you won't.