Expendable? I think not!posted by Thom on Monday August 23rd 3:09am
It isn't everyday that we get an ensemble cast in an homage to the action movies of the 80s. So, of course, I had to see it. After Stallone's re-commitment to his audiences with Balboa and Rambo, I had some hopes for this movie, I wasn't expecting a summer blockbuster or anything like that.
Here's what I did get … a movie worth the money and my time. Let's look at our ensemble first:
Sylvester Stallone (Barney Ross): Stallone does it all again, writing, directing, and lead acting. And honestly, he acquits himself admirably in all three roles.
Jason Statham (Lee Christmas): I liken this to a passing of the action torch. Sly hands off the baton to Jason and we're off and running. Jason is solid as Sly's closest buddy. They even include a classic buddy concept of comparison … who's faster, who's taken down more, etc.
Jet Li (Ying Yang): The third of the crew's menagerie of action stars. Jet plays the comic relief... no really, he's funny.
Dolph Lundgren (Gunner Jensen): Dolph plays a lovable crazy-ass merc of the group. Okay, not really. But his acting skills have improved considerably and his dementia seems very genuine.
Mickey Rourke (Tool): Okay, gotta love Mickey in almost any role. Here he plays the conscience of Barney and Lee and pulls it off. Would have liked to see him get into the action of the movie but hey, he's Mickey.
Arnold and Bruce (Trench and Mr. Church): Both of them are uncredited in the movie but hey their scene lasts about 5 minutes and felt like a board meeting of the Planet Hollywood franchises. It was amusing and had a certain charm bringing together 3 of the biggest action stars of the old era. Sly's political quip at Arnie was highly amusing.
Well, that's the crew from the 80s and 90s … let's add some newbs:
First, let go to the world of professional athletes. Well, sort of.
Steve Austin (Paine): Now, the real twist of the movie, Steve plays a bad guy. The sad part, Steve plays a bad guy. I've seen Steve's films to date, not counting WWE documentary about Steve's career, and have enjoyed them. Sure, he's not the Rock or even John Cena but his movies are a bit more ruthless. So even though he wasn't with the heroes he was a nice addition to the movie.
Randy Couture (Toll Road): Okay, not all athletes are cut out for acting and we all know WWE wrestlers get a head start on acting. Randy, however, does well enough. Nothing to sell the execs on Randy having a bright acting future but his little bit near the beginning about the ear... was quite amusing.
Finally, there's Terry:
Terry Crews (Hale Caesar): Terry is always over the top in everything I see him in. He was amusing in the Longest Yard and while I found him a little out of his depth on TV he wasn't bad. I think he has a solid sense of comic timing though and can play an 80s style action hero easily enough. He certainly brought a nice comedic addition to the gang and his delight in his fully-automatic shotgun seemed genuine. But then again, it's a FULLY-AUTOMATIC shotgun, and we all know anyone would love it.
So, we've got a group of actors, all of whom have a HUGE ego, trying to set a new standard in action movies. Well, at least trying to act together convincingly and without too many issues.
Was the movie a surprisingly new addition to the action movie genre? … nope. Did it have it's bright spots? … sure.
Here's the highlights...
Dolph Lundren vs. Jet Li. I laughed through the whole scene. Not because Dolph's HUGE and Jet Li is anything but. No, I laughed because the entire scene was filled with very funny stuff.
Plane 1, Dock 0. The whole setup for this scene was fairly genuine but incredibly over the top. Pun intended.
Big Booms, Very Big Booms. The assault at the end was all about blowing stuff up … and we all know we love a lot of explosions.
Charisma Carpenter (Lacy): It was nice to see Charisma get some real work again.
Lacy (Charisma Carpenter): No idea why this character really existed in this movie but it's only a minor complaint.
Randy 1, Steve 0. Sadly, the Stone Cold Redneck lost, as only a bad guy can but it was hardly a satisfying defeat.
Eric Roberts. I don't like you. I've never liked you. And I dislike having you in movies I do like.
“Hey Mickey, You're So Fine:” Oh my god, Sly, you have a totally freaky and strange dude working on your movie and you barely use him. NO. BAD, SLY! BAD!
So according to my methodology, all movies are rated according to view-ability. So, are the Expendables, truly expendable … nope, I plan to see the movie again this week, in fact. I'll also buy the DVD/Blue-ray when it comes out.