Posted by The Lam | Aug 20, 2010
THE EXPENDABLES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Me: "What a bad-ass movie."
Friend Zoro: "I think that's the perfect description."

So I'll say it again. WHAT A BAD-ASS MOVIE! Summer 2010 has to have been the year of team-based action movies. Just when the summer season was kicking off, we got The Losers. Mid-summer, we got The A-Team. And to cap it off at the end, we get The Expendables. And I'm happy to say that all three are enjoyable. But whereas The Losers and A-Team were filled with unique characters with distinguishing attributes and skills, Expendables opts for just a simple array of ass-kickers. And boy, did asses get kicked.

As the story goes, Sylvester Stallone's team of hired mercs are on a mission to take down a ruthless general and his army on a South American island named Vilena. Also on the ranks of team evil are Eric Roberts and Stone Cold Steve Austin. That's pretty much it.

So you're not going into this for a heavy or plot-centric movie (and if you did, what the hell are you thinking!). Compared with the other two movies mentioned earlier, Expendables goes for the straight up action rout. Which is good, because this is the key strength of the movie. Hard, rugged, bloody action. Thankfully for us, there's a ton of it. And it's best at the end when everyone turns on their "God-modes" similarly to Arnie in Commando.

I haven't read any reviews for the movie, but I did look at the aggregate scores that it received from critics and it seems to generally be in the middle of the road. I think that's a fair assessment given movie standards nowadays. But were this released in the 80s, it would have been an easy fit into the plethora of action movies from that era. Clearly, from the story structure and the actors chosen for this movie, it was an homage to those movies that we grew up with. It's true, the characters aren't fully developed and are pretty much one dimensional. But you paid to watch them squish heads, so what more could you want?

The casting is amazing. Oddly, I think my favourites were the casting of Eric Roberts as a turncoat CIA operative and Steve Austin as his muscles. I don't know if it was intentional, but both were so cartoony in their roles, that it just worked for me. Both were overtly evil, making their eventual demises all the more salivating.

I think my only complaint is that a few of the team members on Stallone's team get underplayed and are really relegated to cameo-like roles. Terry Crews was gold anytime he was on screen, but he couldn't have been in more than 10 minutes of the 100 minute film. Same for Randy Couture. A more minor complaint is the amount of CG gore and effects they used for the movie. I'm a big fan and proponent of practical effects and especially for a movie like this so I was kind of disappointed with the amount of digital work.

Still, I had fun. If you are a man, go see this with your man friends. If you are a woman, please force your husband or boyfriend to watch this movie. You don't have to go, but he does. Til, next time, later geeks!

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