The Expendables, 2010
Dir: Sylvester Stallone
Is there anything else that you can ask for from a film where Bruce Willis mockingly asks Sly Stallone and Ahnold whether they are going to suck each others dicks? How about throwing in a ton of action-movie stars (in the classic sense, of course, so beat it, Michael Cera) converging in a cluster-fuck of hackneyed non-sequiturs and brutal forced melodrama yet still deliver a heap of entertainment by throwing at you an array of deaths and explosions that includes Steve Austin being set on fire? God dayuuuuuuum!
The whole film follows the action film formula to a tee, and if Sly Stallone didn't also have his hand in the writing of this beauty, I'd think it was a parody instead of an homage. But there's actually a great amount of sincerity in everything about the film, especially in its reverence to a certain stereotypical action film of the past and the manly men who blow shit up in them. No girly men allowed. I was actually kind of mad at the end when Sly restrains himself from "getting" with the girl he saved. Dude, who cares if you are 62. Nothing else in your film makes sense anyway. If you pressed your monstrous mugg down on that chica bonita in an over-blown 10 second make-out it might have pushed this into GREAT territory. Jason Statham's character also has a "love interest" ("Who wrote this line? Oh yeah, me...") of sorts as well, but it's just so he can kick the asses of six dudes who are apparently all for abusing women and playing basketball (the two go hand-in-hand). Gotta' make unnecessary statements.
Statham and Stallone form the core duo of the Expendables, but don't forget Jet Li, who's given a ton of weird changlish one-liners, a small man complex and the name Ying Yang. Not to mention he doesn't even kick ass that much (and kind of loses all of the one-on-ones he in). Also throw in Randy Couture, who basically drops his guns during fire-fights and just starts powerbombing and arm-barring suckas, and Terry Crews (as "Hale Caesar") with a big fuckin' black gun, and you've got yourself a merc team. Conflict? You got it: Eruo-action veteran Dolph Lundgren plays two-timin' Euro-action bad-boy Gunner (good casting choice). But the brains of this baddie brigade is an over-wrought, super smooth Eric Roberts, just looking to make a little money growing cocoa in the tropics. He's followed around by Steve Austin, who is aptly named "Paine." Remember when Austin thought he was going to become an action star? Shit, what happened? The Rock has absolutely been laying the people's elbow on Austin for all those acting jobs these days. I'm wondering exactly where he will end up in the pantheon of professional wrestlers in their quests to convert to "acting": the top or the bottom?
Seriously, though: Where is everyone else? This is one movie where character building could have been cut to zero and just had a bunch of washed up action dudes thrown onto an island to kick dick. Seagal? Norris? THE MUSCLES FROM BRUSSELS?! This could have had it all. It does have Mickey Rourke though. He's an Expendable who doesn't fight (his name is "Tool" strangely enough), so I'm assuming he's there for his acting chops. His monologue about "standing for something" is something else, and the fact that it is the catalyst for Sly to go back to the "action" island is pretty ridiculous. But I guess it's a ridiculous film, which is sometimes entertaining because of it. I'd probably still tell someone to watch Rambo (2007) for better modern Stallone action irreverance though.