GENRE: Action film on 'roids
THE PITCH: The Expendables, a bike-riding, tatted and tattered group of mercenaries led by Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone), take an assignment from the CIA to usurp a South American dictator, General Garza (David Zayas) and his financier James Munroe (Eric Roberts). As with most things involving the Feds, the Expendables learn the hard way there's more to the coup that meets the eye. Inspired by the rebellion of the general's daughter, Sandra (Giselle Itie), Ross leads his team on a suicide mission to take the general down.
MONEY SHOT: You know you're in for a good ride when the Expendables take down a band of Somali pirates within the first five minutes. Team member Gunner Jensen (Dolph Lundgren) goes against Ross' orders and busts an explosive cap in two of the pirates blowing them to pieces with surgical precision.
BEST LINES: During a brawl between Jensen and Yin Yang (Jet Li), Jensen taunts, "What do you wear a size 3 - bring it on Happy Feet!" Mr. Church (Bruce Willis) is curious about the obvious tension between Ross and his competition Trench (Arnold Schwarzenegger) during a meeting. When the cocky Trench turns and walks away, Church asks, "What's his problem," to which Ross quips, "He wants to be President."
WORST LINES: Ross and his right-hand man Lee Christmas (Jason Statham) are asked their names when they meet their South American contact, Christmas points at himself and says, "Buddha" then points at Ross and remarks, "Pest."
WORST NAMES EVER: The team's artillery specialist and explosion addict is named Hale Caesar (Terry Crews). He names one of his custom-designed warheads "Ohmia Kaboom".
OH NO HE DIDN'T: After taking down the boyfriend of his former fling Lacy (Charisma Carpenter) for abusing her, Christmas mounts his bike, looks into her blackened eye and says, "I'm not perfect but you should have waited [for me]."
PRODUCT PLACEMENT: While the other Expendables ride custom Choppers around New Orleans, Christmas gets around on a candy apple red Ducati Monster. During a scout mission, Christmas is gathering intel using his Canon SLR camera.
NIP/FUCKED: Throughout the film you can't stop staring at the slanted eyes, pulled cheeks and puckered lips Stallone is sporting. In several close-ups you notice Stallone's botoxed lips are stuck in a perpetual snarl thats almost comical. It gets even funnier when you see Stallone run.
GEEZER-METER: Willis, the younger of the old-school bad boys looks pretty good while Schwarzenegger is a shell of his former, big-action self with a rotund frame and gated walk. But hands down the geezer award goes to Lundgren. His steel blue eyes can't distract you from the leathered and weathered face and dated hairdo.
SKIN FACTOR: Ross takes off his shirt to show he's still got it a relatively chiseled upper body. Tool (Mickey Rourke), the Expendable's guru and handler shows some chest through his opened shirt.
WTF: Both Ross and Christmas risk it all to save the girls in their lives, but neither get any "satisfaction" for their efforts not even a kiss. That's just messed up.
BODY COUNT: Are you kidding me, I stopped counting within the first five minutes. Throughout the movie, the Expendables take down the Somali pirates and the entire Vilenian army every last one. A rough guest would be somewhere between 200 250 casualties.
WWE vs. UFC: Too bad we couldn't see this match up on TV Toll Road (Randy Couture) attempts to thwart bad guy Paine (Steve Austin) from making an escape from the chaos. The two pull off some of their signature moves in a no-holds-barred scrap to the death. All this scene was missing were a couple of ring girls and a folding chair.
BOTTOM LINE: Listen up cinephiles, sometimes its okay for a movie to have a ridiculous plot, hammy one-liners and so-so acting as long as shit blows up. This is a throwback to the classic action flicks of the '80s rife with high-speed shootouts, muscle cars, big guns and explosions galore. One dramatic, satisfying moment is sandwiched tightly between the charged action sequences when Rourke who glides effortlessly through his role, delivers a sobering monologue that brings it all home tying a major loose end: what are they fighting for, with crystal clarity.
As with all action films, the climatic all-out battle between the Americans and the baddies is the ultimate payoff. Its here director Stallone gives each member of the team a time to shine. While some get more spotlight than others each moment is full of machismo and features the action star's specialties, so to speak.
So before checking out The Expendables, turn your suspension of disbelief on high, check all notions of depth and story at the door and just sit back and enjoy the explosive, testosterone-fueled ride - because in that, it delivers.
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