tek's rating: ½

The Expendables (R)
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Caution: spoilers.

I watched this movie for the first time a couple years after it came out... on the opening night of the sequel. 'Cuz that's the kind of thing I do. Um... so basically the point of the movie was to make a movie filled with as many movie badasses as possible. How badass is this movie? It's so badass that not only is Sylvester Stallone the star, he's also the director. Anyway... he plays a guy named Barney Ross, who's part of a group of soldiers of fortune, or whatever. Also on the team is a guy called Lee Christmas (played by Jason Statham), a guy called Yin Yang (played by Jet Li), a guy called Hale Ceaser (played by Terry Crews), a guy called Gunnar Jensen (played by Dolph Lundgren), and a guy called Toll Road (played by Randy Couture, who actually I don't know at all). Um, and I should say there were only a couple of scenes where I was actually aware of Toll at all. I never noticed him in the action scenes, because my vision's not so good and I was only watching on my laptop anyway. And I have no idea what the guy looks like because I suck with faces I don't know. And stuff. And he didn't really have much of anything going on, character-wise, unlike the other guys on the team.

Anyway... the team gets hired to go to an island called Vilena, to take out a dictator named Garza, the general of a small army, who's in charge of a drug trafficking operation, I guess. (The guy who hired the team was called Mr. Church, and he was played by Bruce Willis, in a small cameo role. In the same scene, Arnold Schwarzenegger had a small cameo role as a former member of the team named Trench, who's now a rival, or something.) Oh, and I should say that in their last mission, Gunnar went a little nuts, so he was now off the team. (Also I think he's supposed to be a drug addict, but that's not something we ever really see, we're just told.) And I should mention some incidental stuff, like Christmas has this girlfriend named Lacy (who we like; played by Charisma Carpenter from Angel, which is itself a pretty badass show). That's a minor side plot. And there's another guy called Tool (played by Mickey Rourke), who is a former member of the team, but now apparently spends his time as a tattoo artist. And stuff.

So... the team goes to Vilena, where they meet a contact named Sandra (who we like). She turns out to be the general's daughter, but she's against the changes that have come to the island, since her father started working with an American named James Munroe (played by Eric Roberts). And the general is clearly becoming increasingly dissatisfied with his working relationship with Munroe, who is quite disrespectful. Munroe has a couple of badasses of his own in his employ, though the only one I noticed being of any importance was Paine (played by Steve Austin). And Munroe hires Gunnar, who now has a grudge against his old team. Meanwhile, the team quickly figures out that Church is CIA and Munroe is ex-CIA, and so they don't want to get involved. But... predictably, they eventually go back to the island, anyway. Basically because of a story Tool told to Barney. And I don't want to say any more about the plot.

It's not a great movie, but of course the action is cool, and it's amusing in a self-aware, tongue-in-cheek kinda way. And it actually has a bit more heart than you might expect. Basically, it's just a fun movie, but aside from the all-star cast and whatnot, I didn't think it was really all that different from the movies it affectionately parodies. In fact, I can't really call it a parody, per se... there's a hint of parody about it, but basically it is one of those movies. Which isn't a bad thing, at all. But I don't know how memorable I'll find it.

See also The Expendables 2


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