The Expendables

With that many stars on cast of The Expendables and a budget of over S$100 million, you would almost expect an action film blown out of proportions. Well, you are right. Literally.

A team of ace mercenaries, led by Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone), are hired by the CIA to infiltrate the fictitious South American island of Vilena and take out its dictator, General Garza (David Zayas), as well as a former CIA operative Monroe (Eric Roberts), the actual mastermind. Barney first turns down the lucrative assignment, only to take it up again for the damsel in distress (Giselle Itie), who happens to be the enemy's daughter too.  

Other big names include Jason Statham (Transporter) as dangerously hotheaded knife expert Christmas; tattoo artiste Tool (Mickey Rourke) who links everyone in the team up; Dolph Lundgren as turncoat Gunner; Asian retired mercenary – and, for what it seems, casted partly to be teased for his height – Yin Yang (Jet Li); Terry Crews as gun nut Hale Caesar; and finally, mixed martial arts pro Randy Couture as neurotic Toll Road. Bruce Willis and Schwarzenegger gets a brief cameo appearance as well.


Unsurprisingly, with Stallone playing director on top of taking the role of lead actor, you will find familiar images of Rambo appearing in those long buried recesses of your mind. There is, however, no time for romance; it's strictly about brotherhood and violence. Simple and unpretentious old-fashioned violence void of technological sophistry but of an incredibly high death count, that is.

But despite Stallone's promise to bring about a film with both brains and brawn minus the technology, The Expendables came across as shallow – it is made up of a predictable plot, dreadful dialogue, and a whole load of pyrotechnics and noise. Even Rambo fans might have a tad difficulty understanding Stallone's slur. As for me, it was sure strange seeing the 64-year-old star fighting everyone at once, fit as he still looks.  

For the rest of the cast, the star-studded group is also terribly underutilised. Characters make it a habit to hurl insults at one another when they are not fighting instead of developing their character and the depth of their relationships.

Nonetheless, albeit most of them past their prime, the film plays out as a satisfying over-the-top action flick taken to the extremes. Overkill? Perhaps not for some hardcore action buffs. But with films like The Losers and A-Team before it, I'll say The Expendables is definitely not an indispensable film.


Related link:
The Expendables official site

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