If you like sports, you know there is one inevitable day that you may or may not look forward to. The all-star game. We all have our own feelings about every all-star game. Baseball’s is an exhibition game that they’ve tried to make into something meaningful. Basketball’s is a shooting contest where players could care less about defense. Football’s is so pathetic, players fake injuries so badly, the starting line-up consists of USC Trojans.
But there are things we all like about All-Star games: getting to see all your favorite players, dream match-ups, the spectacle that comes from the presentation. In the cinematic world, a few times we’ve seen the All-Star Game mentality at play: It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, The Grown-Ups, The Greatest Story Ever Told. I’ve seen my dream match-ups: Alien vs. Predator, Freddy vs. Jason, Jackie Chan vs. Jet Li. But there has never really been a movie that has been all all-star game for action movies… until The Expendables.
What’s not to like? Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Terry Crews & Randy Couture are mercenaries chosen to overthrow a foreign dictator (David Zayas) under the control of ex-CIA agent Eric Roberts and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. Throw in short appearances by Bruce Willis & Arnold Schwarzenegger, random roles by Mickey Rourke & Dolph Lundgren, cameos by the Nogueira brothers of UFC fame, you have an all-star game.
Ok, so let’s talk about what worked. Sylvester Stallone knows how to do one thing. Action sequences. Now, granted. You don’t watch these films for “believable” action scenes. You know they’re going to be over-the-top, ridiculous, cheesy and gory. Oh, yeah, and LOTS of explosions. A guy couldn’t want more. My wife even liked it. We even had a nice scenes from Mickey Rourke.
There were some things that didn’t work, but it didn’t take away from my overall enjoyment. Sylvester Stallone can’t do dialogue. No surprises here. I joked to my wife that he should have been sub-titled. And was the action over-the-top? Of course. If you want believable action, go see Bourne Ultimatum. If you want over-the-top action with lots of fight scenes and explosions, see The Expendables.
The language isn’t too bad, but it’s still not ok for kids. The violence is way too over-the-top. But the mercenaries are good people who live by their own code and standards. It is well worth your time.