Monday, August 23, 2010

Les Expendables

It took 33 years, but Sylvester Stallone once again has a sense of humor about himself. And that's what makes The Expendables, the balls to the wall '80s style action flick that we've been anticipating for over a year now, so awesome. I'll admit it, when I saw his low rider pickup truck that hearkens back to his '50 chopped Merc in Cobra, I was a little bit concerned that the kickassitude of Rambo went to his head. But no, he is definitely the star of this one, yet plays well with others. He gives plenty of screen time to all the big names he got together to make this throwback extravaganza, and we can't ask for anything more. Well, except maybe for Kurt Russell and Jean-Claude Van Damme to show up in the sequel.

Testosterone Level Causes Impregnation Within 50 Yards
I'm not going to bore you with the plot except for this single line: a group of bad-ass mercenaries take a suicide mission to assassinate a South American dictator. We first meet them as they rescue a cargo ship held hostage by Somali pirates, scaling it like Navy SEALs and blasting them to pieces with laser sighted machine guns and shotguns loaded with shells that will blow a man in half. But they're reasonable people; Sly isn't playing Rambo here, he's more of a tired old guy who wants you to surrender, but will blast six holes in you with his revolver the second he realizes you won't. He has a buddy rivalry with Jason Statham, the knife master of the group, over who can take someone out quicker. As in many of Sly's previous films, he equips his men with custom knives, from a Gil Hibben Bowie blade with a brass parry strip, ring-pommelled throwing daggers, switchblades and huge, fast draw folding knives.
If I wasn't getting married, I'd buy this $1850 Gil Hibben Bowie...

Sly and Statham are the biggest roles, but Jet Li gets some good fights in, and gets to show some comic chops as he complains he should have a bigger share, because everything is harder for him because he's the short one. He has to take more steps when they run someplace. Randy Couture "used to wrestle in high school" and that explains his cauliflower ears, which he is very sensitive about. Terry Crews gets to have some fun with a Sledgehammer shotgun, but this is a long way from his hilarious role as President Camacho in Idiocracy.Pity, he can be really funny. Dolph Lundgren gets the thankless job of being the guy who's a little too psycho for a band of psychos, and Mickey Rourke has retired from mercenaryin' to be a tattoo artist. He gets to give the "I'll cry when I'm done killin'" speech.

The movie showcases the strengths of our favorite bad boys but peppers humor in between, a wise choice that has worked since classics of the genre like Commando. I was a little disappointed that the fictional country they invade isn't named Val Verde, but that should be saved for an Arnie movie, I suppose. Speaking of which, Arnie and Bruce Willis's cameos are hilarious. Sure, they only get five minutes, but Arnie lets himself be the butt of the jokes, with Sly poking fun at the weight he put on as Governor, and that he "wants to be President." He's a rival merc leader, and doesn't ham it up. Maybe after he's done governating, Sly will give him a big role in the sequel. I sure hope so.
If he dies... he dies

The bad guys are played by a psycho Eric Roberts and David Zayas, best known as Angel from "Dexter." The girl is Giselle ItiƩ, a beauty from Mexican television, who will likely appear in Hollywood again. She has good chops, though Sly isn't the best at getting realistic performances out of women (see Julie Benz in Rambo, who we know can act like a champ). But that's not what we're looking for in an action funfest like The Expendables. It was great seeing so many of them together. I enjoyed the hell out of it, but I don't think it's as good as Rambo- which is damn hard to top. The best I can say about it is: IT DELIVERS. And I damn well hope they make a sequel, and keep it rated R. And I will agree with Milky, my movie buddy, that they better bring back that shotgun, too. It should get its name in the credits.

4 out of 5 exploding human heads


© 2010 Tommy Salami

4 comments:

Paul Arrand Rodgers said...

See, the Schwarzenegger/Willis stuff had me wondering how much better the movie would have been with them involved instead of Dolph or Jet Li or, honestly, Mickey Rourke, who looks and sounds like he went on a bender before Stallone decided to fuck whatever it was he had written for him.

I liked the action scenes, and there were moments that were legit funny, but for the most part I thought Stallone was taking himself too seriously to really open it up. There wasn't a single freakin' one-liner after somebody kills somebody else, and the only guy who got to fully embody his persona was Steve Austin, who went at this movie like he'd just become friends with Vince McMahon, who would have been a better choice for the American business man backing Villena than Sal from The Dark Knight. I at least wanted Dolph to shrug and go "Whatever. If he dies, he dies."

Oh, and as a die-hard pro wrestling fan, watching Steve Austin die because of a lame Superman punch was disheartening.

Tommy Salami said...

I agree with you on the one liners, but I liked the Couture-Austin fight. Austin was a badass, he broke Sly's neck doing those stunts. But c'mon, he didn't succumb to a lame superman punch... he was ON FIRE, too.

Paul Arrand Rodgers said...

I thought he got punched into the fire.

And none of the Expendables were expended. Randy should have been.

Emma said...

Ah...so you're blogging again. Glad to see it. I'll have to go back and check your film reviews.

I've been looking for you online but haven't see you log in for a while and I no longer have a current phone or email for you. There's an event coming up this weekend that you might be interested in.

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