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The Expendables

Quick change, no western this time, but will get one done soon...

... instead, with the sequel coming soon this year...

Review #112: The Expendables

A bunch of Mercenaries are hired to take out a South American Dictator, their job is simply an 'in and out hard hitting mission', under the guidance of a local woman called Sandra, who knows the area.
Upon scoping out the mission, Team Leader Barney Ross (Stallone) decides it's too risky and aborts the mission... but Sandra is captured and Ross has his conscience played on by the fact that she was captured due to their involvement with her.
He decides to go back into the warzone, to take out the Dictator, and free the woman he barely knows...

... tagging along, whether he wants them to or not, are his Band Of Mercenary Brothers...

... The Expendables.

A serious throwback to the 80s and 90s musclebound hero genre, from Predator to Die Hard and from pretty much anything with Schwarzenegger to anything starring Stallone himself...
... The Expendables hits hard and fast and has a very simplistic story of morality behind it.

It also contains pretty original character sidelines too, most of them containing morality and conscience tweaking backstory.
The movie then combines action heroes of years gone by with a few modern ones too and gives them some almost comicbook adapted names (Toll Road, Hale Caesar, Yin Yang etc), then throws the whole lot into an explosive no-brainer for pretty much the entire second and third acts.

What makes the movie work, is that it never hides from what it is...

... it's a no-brainer, yes, but at least has that throw-back storyline to it... but it knows it's a no-brainer and it knows it's actually been written that way too.
Stallone has also incorporated some top class acting from a bunch of guys that aren't really known for their acting prowess.
They're all lots of fun and really know their place in the story, and know their places in their roles, and can all punch the bad guy (albeit with an overly used bass sound effect) absolutely brilliantly.
The main thing really though when taking the movie in, is ego.

The Expendables crew consists of Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Randy Couture and Terry Crews with backup from Mickey Rourke and Dolph Lundgren.

Baddies include Eric Roberts, David Zayas, 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin and Gary Daniels.

Backing up all those heavy hitters are Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger in smaller cameo appearances but both on screen at the same time as Stallone. That's something to see, believe me.

The action is also turned up for fans of the 80s/90s actioner... it's very big, very loud, very OTT, full of cheesey one-liners and quite simply... it knows it is.
It's lots of fun and makes someone in their 30s, like me, reminisce for those days gone by.
The other thing with the action, is that the entire cast suffered injuries while filming, especially Stallone when he came up against Steve Austin. It's very hard hitting.

The sequel that's out this year, though with some bad press recently, hopefully will be as explosive as this one... especially with additional scenes between Arnie, Willis and Stallone and the heavy hitting additions of Van Damme (playing a baddie called Jean Villain, yes, another comicbook name), and Chuck Norris as an Expendable too.

All in all a mixed reception gave The Expendables a low(ish) score, but it never tries to be something that it isn't. It's loud, brash, fun, comicbook and has the nostalgic no-brainer feel about it.
What makes it work... is that it's completely shameless.
My rating 90%