With The Expendables 2 being released in a couple of weeks I decided that I would watch the first film in preparation. Here’s what I thought of it:

The Expendables is about a team of mercenaries who are given the assignment to take out a corrupt military leader and a rogue CIA operative on a Latin American island. Sylvester Stallone writes and directs the piece which brings together the greatest action heroes of the 80s and 90s (Stallone, Dolph Lundgren, Mickey Rourke, Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger), action stars of recent years (Jason Statham, Jet Li, Randy Couture, Steve Austin), Julia Roberts’ cousin (Eric Roberts) and the hilarious former NFL player Terry Crews. There’s something in the cast to please everyone and just from looking at it you know that it’s a film that is going to pride itself on its action scenes rather than the terrific acting abilities of the cast.

The film, for a return to the old school action movies, takes off on a rather slow start and those hoping for a really memorable entrance from the super team of mercenaries are in for a disappointment. While it is a good way to introduce the abilities and comradery among The Expendables it could have been a lot bigger and better and I thought that’s what Stallone would be going for. It seems as though in trying to get us to like the characters and understand the friendships there the dialogue has been crammed full with what are attempts at wise-cracks and friendly banter which fall a little loose and don’t really have any effect. However, if you can wait half an hour for the story to take off then you are in for a great treat.

There is something incredibly satisfying when you have waited to see Jason Statham fighting to see him finally let loose and take down several bad guys at one time; whether they are a match for him or not. Statham is fantastic and his fight scenes are so well choreographed they look like a work of art, he fights with so much style and finesse it’s incredible. Saying that though, each of the actors in the film have their own moment of fame as Stallone looks to share out the glory among the cast, whether its as simple as Rourke throwing an incredibly accurate knife, Stallone winning the girl or Terry Crews shooting through like twenty people at once and loving every second of it.

The Expendables, it may surprise you to hear, is not exactly a mind bender. It doesn’t challenge the audience or push the boundaries of the action genre; what The Expendables is is a celebration of the action genre and a very stereotypical one at that… right from the hero getting the girl, the girl serving little to no purpose and even the stereotypical name of Jet Li’s character, Yin Yang. But the action is second to none, there are great fight scenes, big explosions and a lot of fun to be had watching.

My Rating: 6/10.

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