Friday, August 13, 2010

Movie Review: The Expendables

Despite poor critical review, I rather enjoyed this movie. While the story is pretty standard action fare, the film does have some remarkable gems. And Stallone's direction is actually quite adept.

The Expendables stars Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Eric Roberts, Mickey Rourke, and David Zayas (Batista in Dexter). As if this weren't impressive enough a cast, there's also Randy Couture and Steve Austin (sports fighters), Terry Crews (NFL player), Charisma Carpenter (Cordelia in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel), and uncredited Ahhnold and Bruce Willis in cameo roles. (Willis plays the man who hires The Expendables, and Ahhnold plays a mercenary competing for the same job.)

I like the name of Jet Li's character: Yin Yang.

Mickey Rourke plays a tattoo artist who has been working on Stallone's body art for ages. In an unexpected scene, Rourke's character, Tool, talks about his struggle to save whatever was left of his soul after having fought in Bosnia. This was an Oscar-calibre performance, people, make no mistake about it. And to find it in the middle of a Sylvester Stallone testosterone-fest is totally astonishing!

Another unexpected gem is the running joke about Jet Li's character being so short that he has to constantly fight to prove himself.

One fabulous action scene that I have to mention is when Stallone and Statham fly into enemy territory in a cargo sea plane, purportedly on behalf of the Global Wildlife Conservancy. When they are discovered, the army chases them to their plane, which takes off and eventually turns around to unleash a powerful counterattack, using onboard machine guns or cannons, and dropping incendiary liquid on the docks. Most imaginative! And most entertaining!

All in all, I have to recommend this movie. If you're in the mood for testosterone-driven action, you won't find anything better.

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