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Rick's Review of The Expendables!

You don't get movie like this anymore. You just don't.  The action films of the 1980s are the product of a now bygone era and after seeing this movie, I completely understand why.  Don't get me wrong, The Expendables is fun, full of action and some truly insane set pieces that exemplify the iconography of these stars of the 1980s and 1990s.  However, this movie, written and directed by Sylvester Stallone while a tremendous amount of fun, has some really big flaws.  
That being said, despite the flaws, The Expendables is a love letter to the action films of the 1980s and when it works, it really works.  The fights are so over the top that I was laughing out loud at the sheer audacity that Stallone shows in this movie.  Stallone plays Barney Ross, who is the leader of the Expendables heading up a crew of action icons the likes of Jason Statham (as Lee Christmas, the knife wielding second in command), Jet Li (as "Yin Yang" the token Martial Arts guy), Terry Crewes (as Hale Caesar, the heavy weapons guy), Randy Couture (as Toll Road, demolitions), and Dolph Lundgren (as Gunnar Jensen a Swedish sniper).

Wait, Dolph Lungren?

Oh yeah.  Stallone has brought back some of the biggest names of 1980s action cinema back into the limelight and damn if that aspect of the movie does not work.  Stallone even managed to get in a scene where he, Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger all share some screen time together.  Great stuff.  Mickey Rourke even makes an appearance as a former member of the group who has since retired because the violence involved with the group was too much for him.  The performances are for the most part pretty good.  The one that surprised me the most was Randy Couture because I have never seen him act in a film before.  I enjoyed his performance quite a bit.

And then there are the villains of the piece.  We have Eric Roberts as a slimy former agent of the C.I.A. and former wrestler Steve Austin as one of his henchmen.  Both are pretty good in their roles and while I would have liked for Austin to have more dialogue though. Austin has two killer fights in the movie.  One where he fights Stallone and the other he goes toe to to with Couture.  Both fights scenes are awesome. 

Speaking of the fights in The Expendables, wow.  Just wow.  I am an action junkie.  I think I got my fix with The Losers and The A-Team earlier this summer.  To add the Expendables to the mix is like getting a mass overdose of adrenaline and testosterone the likes of which has never been seen.  The first action sequence is pretty great.  It only gets better with a fight involving Stallone and Statham in a plane.  As if it couldn't get better, we are treated to a fight with Jet Li and another character.  And if you think you have had your fill of action with those three sequences alone, then nothing will prepare you for the truly insane absolutely bugnuts finale of a fight scene at the end.  Especially when Terry Crewes finally gets to cut loose with the shotgun.  The fights are top notch and that alone makes this movie worth watching. 

But this movie is not without its massive, glaring flaws.  The Expendables is clearly a product of the 1980s in that women are essentially constantly in need of being rescued.  This is best exemplified with the story arc of Statham's character involving hie girlfriend played by geek favorite Charisma Carpenter.  The other issue with the movie was the dialogue which was next to abyssmal.  I mean, it was really bad.  But then, the Expendables essentially is action porn so dialogue has little purpose in this movie but to move what little story is there along.  Finally, the biggest issue I have with this and almost all modern action movies is the shaky cam.  It is utterly ridiculous, and it has no place in a movie where we know that every single one of these actors are fully capable of kicking ass and we know that because we have been watching all of them do so in their past films.  I like to see my action.  I don't like this shaky cam B.S. because it does nothing but disorient the audience and it just has no purpose in this movie. 

The Expendables is easily one of my favorite movies of the summer.  It is loud, nasty, and just fun.  Despite the flaws, this is the kind of movie that people will say is a straight up man's movie.  It makes you want to go hunting bears, eat raw meat off the bone, chop wood, or other "manly" activities.

Final Rating: 4 out of 5  

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