The Expendables (2010) - You really get what you should expect - 7/10 (25/08/12)
The Expandables is a action super movie that puts together some of the most famous genre actors of the last decades. The movie exactly delivers what fans might expect. That's why you should not expect profound dialogues, too many romantic moments or a truly original story line. This movie is about cool quotes, many explosive action scenes and a quite fast paced and simple story line. Anybody who doesn't accept this kind of nostalgic and relatively simple genre should just not watch it and stop bashing this movie as you clearly know what you will get.
There are many cool one liners and funny hints, homages and references to classic vintage movies or characters of the genre. A good example is the scene when Sylverster Stallone meets Arnold Schwarzenegger as well as Bruce Willis in a church. When I went to the cinema, the whole crowd was laughing out loud during this scene and almost anybody understood the quite famous inside jokes in this movie. It was not the only funny moment in this fast paced movie and it was definitely better than many immature and though overambitious comedy flicks from Hollywood. I was even positively surprised by the many amusing moments that created a solid balance to the brutal action scenes without making the whole thing childish or ridiculous. The movie just managed to be humorous and cool at the same time.
The acting is of course not very deep or challenging but the characters fit very well to the different actors and you really feel that some of them go as far as to personalize their roles. Especially Dolph Lundgren, Sylvester Stallone and Jason Statham shine in this movie and even have some sort of depth. The minor roles involving actors like Mickey Rourke or Bruce Willis are more superficial but fit very well and are clearly orientated on similar characters they have played before. These roles are made to appear as cool, experienced and male as possible and that's what you get.
The fighting and action scenes are varied enough to keep you addicted to this movie until the end. While Jet Li or Jason Statham really show that they are quite flexible and know their martial arts skills, Randy Couture or Dolph Lundgren represent a less aesthetic and more brutal and pitiless fighting style involving different explosives and guns. From time to time, there are even some experimental and original sequences where the characters don't only use their male force but also their brains to find a way out of a difficult situation. Some scenes are on the other side completely overloaded, especially towards the end as every few seconds, one switches from one character to the other and observes a pitiless massacre. Of course, this is neither profound, nor original but in contrast with the humorous parts, the whole thing turns out to work surprisingly well.
Concerning the story line, it's probably useless to say that the whole movie is pure fiction and quite predictable from the beginning to the end by dealing with the usual stereotypes. Of course, the leader of the wolf pack falls in love with a local beauty. It's quite clear that a traitor appears quite soon in the rows of the heroes that confronts his old friends. It's not surprising that there is some sort of a conspiracy and manipulation story around the main villain. You may quickly realize that the main villain is probably not as bad as it seems and has to face the demons of his past as one of his most important family members tries to fight him. The ending of the story is probably what you've expected from the beginning on. This is clearly the weakest part of the movie but the solid acting, the great actions scenes and especially the cool and humorous moments pardon for these obvious flaws.
In the end, this movie is recommended to all those that are into the action genre and like at least a couple or even all of the involved main actors. The humorous scenes could please to a larger public, though, for example when the guys bring their girlfriends to the cinema that only expect one hour and a half of raw male brutality. Apart of this humorous factor, you really get what you should expect. Take it if you like the actors and their kind of movies or just leave it and don't watch it because this movie won't make you fall in love with the genre. It's a truly entertaining flick but clearly far from being a modern milestone as it copies way too much the elements we already know but on the other side it's this rude simplicity that gives the film a rather classic, honest and sympathetic image.« New reviews for two internet sites and a brand new German novelThe Expendables 2 (2012) - More of the same with some good and some bad points - 6/10 (25/08/12) »