Movie Review: The Expendables

Movie Review: The Expendables

The Expendables

Rated R for strong action and bloody violence throughout
and some language.
Genre: Action
Running Time: 1 hour 43 minutes

The Expendables is described as a hard-hitting action-thriller about a group of mercenaries hired to infiltrate a South American country and overthrow a ruthless dictator. However, once the mission begins, the men realize things aren’t quite as they appear. They suddenly find themselves caught in a dangerous web of deceit and betrayal. With their mission thwarted and an innocent life in danger, the men struggle with an even tougher challenge – one that threatens to destroy the band of brothers.

Expendable – Capable of being sacrificed in order to accomplish a military objective.

Sly and His Buddies

This movie has done extremely well when it comes to the box office. After missing the early screening, we finally found time to catch it this past weekend. While it’s full of boom, overall, we were surprised with the flow, content and yes, even message, of The Expendables. It’s no secret Sylvester Stallone, who wrote the screenplay, directed the movie and plays Barney Ross, plans to step behind the camera. He’s publicly said he’s getting tired of acting and would rather now become more like Clint Eastwood who mainly directs great flicks.

Will Sly Stallone direct great classics like Eastwood…
Only time will tell.

I will say this, The Expendables is a well done movie. Many times movies such as this are nothing more than movies to turn your mind off in and watch the boom, explosions and action on the big screen. However, Stallone has a way of pulling even a tearful scene out of the hardened Mickey Rourke whom I don’t even usually like on the big screen. In my opinion Rourke is an example of an actor-wanna-be who really needs to find another occupation. However, I applaud Stallone for pulling a great performance out of this hardened actor. Without putting in a spoiler, lets just say even I was moved when Rourke’s character “teared up” while telling his story.

The back-story of The Expendables is about a crew of mercenaries, led by Barney Ross, who really have nothing to lose. Fearless and void of emotion, Ross, played by Stallone, is the leader and the strategist of a tight-knit band of men living on the edge. His only attachment is to his pickup truck, his seaplane and his team of loyal modern-day warriors.

But, this all changes when he meets the daughter of a General he’s sent to overthrow.

Star Power

The Expendables certainly carries a lot of star power. It’s almost like Stallone approached all his old buddies and said – “Let’s get together and do one more big action filled hero type movie.” – Apparently they all agreed because the credit list reads like a who’s who of Hollywood action movie stars. There’s Stallone, Jason Statham, Terry Crews, Steve Austin and Jet Li just to name a few. But also watch for great cameo appearances from the likes of Bruce Willis and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger! If it was Sly’s plan to go out in style before heading behind the camera as a director, he certainly surrounded himself with a stellar cast.

From an acting standpoint, I’d have to say the best performance was put in by Jet Li. Of course he’s a great martial arts man and said to be one of the few who can go head to head with Chuck Norris. He’s also considered the next best martial arts actor in comparison with Bruce Lee. In The Expendables Jet Li plays Yin Yang, a master at close-quarter combat. However, what sets him apart in this role is the fact that we actually see more personality than we’ve ever seen before. Once again, we have to applaud Stallone for his directing expertise in pulling such a performance out of Li.

Boom, Explosions & Flying Body Parts

When it comes to family-friendly, The Expendables is of course
NOT family-friendly.

First off people, R means NOT for kids. I couldn’t believe it when we sat in the movie theater and suddenly noticed parents with their 8 and 10 year old kids in the theater too! Come on people! What are you thinking!? I almost walked over to them and asked for the “Parental Discretion Card” because I wanted to void it. Parents, lets think okay!

Now, after getting that off my chest, there are two truly fascinating aspects of The Expendables worth pointing out.

First off, while this is a movie full of boom, explosions and flying body parts, there’s just enough humor sprinkled in along the way to keep you laughing too. Clocking in at approximately an hour and 40 minutes, it also moves along at a good clip. As a result, there’s no chance of boredom setting in. The humor works, because it’s tossed in at just the right time to make you laugh and give you breathing space at the same time.

Be sure to watch for the great line Sly says about Arnie!
It made us laugh out loud!

Secondly, it’s worth noting that Sylvester Stallone along with the writers didn’t simply want to make an action movie of mindless explosions. Tucked away in the midst of this action-filled-flick, there’s a great message about doing the “right” thing. It’s not just about the money. Most of the time it’s about doing the “right” thing so you can maintain your sanity.

Overall, we must admit we enjoyed The Expendables. We went in thinking it would be nothing more than a turn-your-mind-off-things-going-boom-movie. But in the end, we came out saying – “Wow! Sly Stallone is maturing and there truly is more here than meets the eye.”

Enjoy the show!
Dr. Rus

About the Author

Dr. Rus has 30+ years experience in the field of communication. He takes this experience, and his passion to encourage others to positively effect their environment, when providing insight and movie reviews.