johnlink ranks THE EXPENDABLES (2010)

Before last night, I had never seen an EXPENDABLES movie. I was not avoiding them on principle, to be sure. Indeed, I’m a fan of enough of these guys to have been intrigued. I just never found my way to it. Until last night. I wasn’t looking for much out of an EXPENDABLES film. I just wanted to have some fun.

I watched THE EXPENDABLES (2010) on 11.16.12. It was my first viewing of the film.

Had this movie been released in 1995 rather than 2010, I would have watched the shit out of it. My go-to action movies were THE ROCK, CON AIR, THE USUAL SUSPECTS (sort of action), DESPERADO, et al. Some of those hold up better than others today, but I was not particularly discerning as a teenager.

I don’t rewatch films like I used to. Especially because of the nature of this blog, I lean towards watching something I haven’t written about over something I have. But all that said, THE EXPENDABLES is a movie easily watched. I could absolutely see this coming on television twenty minutes in and not shutting it off until it was over. Oh, it has some flaws, to be sure. But there is such an unabashed aggression to this film which just makes it fun to watch without shame.

In fact, when a torture scene shows up half way though involving a lead female character and one of the male bad guys, it is off putting. While supremely violent, this film keeps the violence at a safe distance. Nameless, villainous, foreign bad guys are killed with regularity. Certainly this isn’t something to be proud of, but the death is of a purely entertaining variety. When something with weight happens, it almost takes you aback, makes you wonder how this got in to your wholesome little slaughterhouse film.

The plot is simple. A team of action junkies, led by Sly Stallone, goes to an island to fight a bunch of bad guys, led by Eric Roberts.

Simple, but boy is it fun. Some all time great action stars (from multiple arenas) go toe-to-toe. Dolph Lundgren versus Jet Li. Stallone versus Stone Cold Steve Austin. Austin versus Randy Couture. Gary Daniels fights the good guy team and is one of the few to get a legitimate death. In fact, much of this movie is centered around the idea that very few names actually die. Everyone has a chance to come back.

Stallone shoots this better than he has any right to. It looks good, believe it or not. As far as films go, this is pure action entertainment; but he manages to make it look pleasant anyway. The thing I am most impressed with is how little ego he displays in putting this together. He is a writer, director, and star of a film which could easily have been a giant member-size comparison. Instead, Stallone gets beat up regularly, doesn’t disrespect any of the action guys, and manages to come across as ‘too old for this’ in a way which doesn’t feel like he’s cheating. Impressive feat, that.

Plus, you can tell he loves Mickey Rourke. Even though he has little to do, Stallone really lets him take his time doing it. In a film without much in the way of acting, nobody told Rourke he could phone it in.

Sure the film is one giant ball of clichés. But so what. Even if Statham doesn’t make great use of his time and Li and Couture are underutilized, the film makes up for it by getting great (and unexpected) turns by Steve Austin and Dolph Lundgren. Everyone else is pretty much what you would expect them to be.

There should be just entertainment here, and no filmic value. But, while there are no themes to speak of, the movie looks good, sounds good, and flows well. I went into this with minimal expectations, and was pleased to find something so engaging.

SCORES

FILM: 5; MOVIE: 9; ACTING: 6; WRITING: 4; BONUS: 1

The bonus is for the high-quality fight choreography. Really fun hand-to-hand stuff can be found throughout this film.

5+9+6+4+1=25

FINAL SCORE: 6.25

 

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~ by johnlink00 on November 17, 2012.

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