Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Expendables (2010)

     It took quite some time for The Expendables (2010) to turn into a hyperactive, old school action cum modern kinetic fight film.  But once it got there, it was just fucking awesome.  Sure, it is incredibly dumb.  That just means it is playing it true to its old school roots.  Chances are that most of the cast wouldn't know what to do with an intelligent script.
     Still, ten minutes of awesome, stupidity inducing action does not justify a movie, so there is an attempt to offer more than just that an remember that guy? moments.  It is full of those.  Dolph Lundgren?  Didn't he try to be an actor after Rocky IV (1985)?  Eric Roberts?  Didn't he have a brief run of sobriety and a sitcom on ABC?  Randy Couture and Steve Austin?  There used to be a lot of advertisement for...well, it had to something, likely different somethings...whatever the hell you did over a decade ago?  Mickey Rourke?  Well, you've been quite active lately, but since I best remember you from Diner (1982), every film you do these days is another reminder that you really fucked up your face.  Terry Crews?  The name sounds vaguely familiar.  Charisma Carpenter?  Well, maybe this will have more of an impact on your post-Angel (1999-2004) career than posing for Playboy.
     The actors who are closer to relevancy – Stallone, Statham, and Li – have more to do than most the others, though Li's inability to say more than a few lines of dialogue (at least in English) at a time keeps him as a sort of star among the other guys in the mercenary crew run by Stallone's Barney Ross.  That's right, Sly set out to make us find the name Barney scary, tough, and intimidating.  You know he is brooding because he has a fascination with ravens.  That is the kind of character development that...well, it makes no sense at all, but in a way it is entirely true to the old school action flicks.  Statham gets a slight break from just being the guy from The Transporter (2002) or Crank (2006), or even Ghosts of Mars (2001), but he does not get the kind of dialogue that would convince a viewer that he enjoyed his time on the set of London (2005).
     There isn't much to say about the plot.  When I was referring to movies that are crap, where one can mentally check-out and just let the pretty pictures dance across the screen, The Expendables is one of the films I had in mind.  It may be drenched in testosterone, but it is the more modern variety where the women are objects to be respected instead of just objects to be captured/fucked. 
     For total and utter crap, The Expendables really is awesome.  Except for Bruce Willis, who looked like a cancer patient and read his lines like the humor was supposed to be shard and off-putting.  It is not a great movie, and probably not even a good movie.  There is a wholly needless action sequence between the main action sequences that seems to be there to remind us that these guys are complete and total action stars; they can do more than throw knives, shoot guns, and go all MMA on your ass.  But I get the appeal and understand why so many were stoked about it.  Just don't count me as eager to see the sequel.  Because I don't think there is going to be anything new.  Because new isn't old school.

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