I am paying for it right now, but, it was worth it. I went to the midnight show last of The Expendables. Surprisingly, it was not that full. The theater I was at had a midnight showing of all three wide releases. I have been stalking and waiting for this movie since the day I heard about it. I was all over the bootleg trailer when it hit the internet. I watched the official trailer more than anyone should. My excitement and anticipation was so high, the wife warned me that I was setting myself up for disappointment.
Well, I am happy to say, I was not let down. I loved Stallone’s latest film. Before I go much further, make no mistake, this is not a great movie. It will not be nominated for any Oscars or Golden Globes. But, it was everything I thought it could be, would be, but a little shy of what it should be.
The thought of Stallone, Statham, Li, Crews, Rourke, Lundgren, Austin, Roberts, Daniels, Schwarzenegger and Willis in the same movie is enough to make any man get giddy. I sat down and counted the total movies that I have seen with each of them, because I use my time wisely. The answer: 165, not counting this film.
Stallone wrote the screenplay. Stallone sat in the director’s chair. Stallone wrote and directed Rocky Balboa and Rambo. So, going in, there was some level of expectation. This is where the film falters. I found a bunch of the dialog a bit corny and forced. Unusual to Sly’s normal scripts, the characters were a bit under developed. Even in Rambo, the mercenaries were a bit more developed. Stallone tries to round out the characters, but the scenes just seem to serve as filler until the next action sequence. I also think that the film could have benefited from someone else directing. Stallone might have been a little too close to the project.
The plot is nothing spectacular, but that was to be expected. The Expendables centers on a group of mercenaries, called The Expendables, and their “missions.” After an opening mission worthy of a Bond film, they return to get their next job. Stallone meets with Willis and Schwarzenegger to discuss a possible job on the fictitious island of Vilena. If you Google the name, you get an interesting result. Anyway, Stallone and his team, Statham, Li, Couture and Crews take it.
The mission is simple. Kill the dictator of this island. The problem is he has backing from a rogue CIA agent, Roberts. Roberts has his own team, Austin and Daniels, along with an entire army under the dictator. Where does Lundgren fit in? He is an ex-Expendable. And Rourke? Ex-Expendables, too.
Well, this wonderfully simple plot leads to an epic battle that has plenty of blood, kicks, punches, explosions, gunshots, and everything else you can think of, to get your fill for the rest of the year. Some of it was so ridiculous; you couldn’t help but yell, “OOOOOOOOOH!” I read every article, every interview, and watched Stallone on every talk show. I knew what to expect, and I was still in awe. They actors used no wires for their fight scenes. Stallone talked about breaking his neck in the fight with Austin. He talks about how the stuntmen did not want to go another round with Couture. Stallone wanted it all to be “real,“ and it looked good. There are two scenes that utilize CGI, and they stick out. The opening boat scene and the palace at the end both look bad compared to the rest.
At only 103 minutes, I was sad to see The Expendables end. I could have watched it again, even though it was 2 am. Yes, it was ridiculous. Yes, the plot was thin. Yes, the acting was either over the top, or just plain bad. But, that is what I was expecting. The real drawback to me is this: The Expendables seemed like an eighties action movie made in the eighties. It does not have the updated quality that Rambo had. Rambo seemed to be an updated version o f an eighties film. Verdict: Probably my guiltiest pleasure in a very long time. Probably my guiltiest pleasure to be had for a very long time. If you like the kinds of movies that the actors are in, then this is a no-brainer must-see. Just do me a favor, if you are a male, see this while your better half sees Eat Pray Love, unless she hates it like my wife. See the trailer below:
And because I found it, and I couldn't help it:
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