Friday, August 20, 2010

The Expendables... well... they are.

I thought I would try my hand at movie reviews. And what movie did I see last week? Ah, you read the title! Yes, The Expendables with Sylvester Stallone and various other badasses, contemporary and of yore.
Let me break it down for you: You will not be ecstatic over the plot. In fact, I've seen this plot before... that is, in every 80's man flick. You will not be pleased with the acting, because all the acting stinks. But, if you like loud weaponry, (and what good ork doesn't?) and car chases, and explosions, with little to no sex -- then this flick is for you.
I personally think they should have named this film, Auto-Shotgun Boom-Boom!, but that sounds like an indie flick, more on that later...
Synopsis and stupid spoiler alert, if there can be such a thing in this movie: A group of mercenaries pal around in a biker garage owned by Tool (jesus!) who is played by Mickey Rourke (the new fat one of The Wrestler fame). He owns a tattoo joint called... Tool's which is conveniently located next door. The leader of this group is Sylvester Stallone whose character's name is Barney something or other - who gives a shit - are we really separating the person from the persona in this parody? And there are the rest of Gilligan's Isle... Cauliflower Ear Man, Auto-Shotgun Dude (the n-word with the t-word), Mr. Christmas (you believe this shit?) played by Jason Statham who is the knife dancer, Judas - er I mean, Dolph Lundgren's character who doesn't do anything but break rules, take drugs, and well Judas everybody. More on this piece of work later... Oh, and Ying Yang (holy Christ!) played by Jet Li, why don't we have Chow Yun Fat play a character called Wei Lo Wang, I mean come on! I'm surprised there wasn't a Chinese terrier called Ping Pong or some stupid shit like that. And can you imagine Jet Li as a BIKER?? Anyway, I digress...
The movie starts with these assorted badasses on a Nigerian pirate vessel rescuing some hostages. Short, terse and tense dialogue ensues with the end result being the chief pirate being blasted very graphically in half by a rifle grenade. And that is only the first taste in a long series of bloody pornographia seconded only by Rambo IV and The Passion of the Christ.
After they wrap up the mission and secure the hostages, Judas, er I mean, Dolph Lundgren's character who does have a name but I forgot it and was too lazy to Google it, starts hanging one of the pirates from the ship with some rope.
"We don't do that" Barney Stallone mumbles incoherently, "That's not how we do things."
"But it's fun!" Judas smiles.
They end up beating the shit outta him and holding him prisoner in their Expendable-mobile or a primer-black, Albatross, two-prop, cargo plane straight out of Fantasy Island. They finally cut his bonds while en route (I'm thinking... this is a dumb move) and handing him back his shiny, Klingon knife.
"Is he okay?" Barney Stallone mumbles while piloting the Millennium Albatross.
"Yeah, he's cool." replies Mister Christmas while taking the co-pilot's yoke.
Then they both down a brewski as they fly away into the full moon. Yeah, drinking and flying... at night!! Now, that's manly!!
Then we see the dictator of some South American island called Vilena which sounds as latino as the Ukraine, shooting soldiers execution style for stealing his drug profits, then this American big-shot suit with Steve Austin in tow shoots the final one and delivers some lines that make him a badass. Big Deal. Seen this shit before. Yawn.
Now everyone has heard of the Big Showdown. The Big Scene. Like when Pacino met De Niro in the movie Heat. Stallone meets Schwartzenegger while Bruce Willis does his best stone-cold killer routine as liaison. Schwartz plays an ex-Expendable called Trench who is being offered the same job as Stallone, by Willis. Willis or Mr. Church (so named because the meeting takes place in a church - is that original?) wants to see who will do the job for the least money. In the middle of the tit-for-tat verbal banter between Stallone and Schwartzenpecker, Willis chimes in with this gem: "So are you guys gonna suck each other's dicks?"
Why, Bruce, are you gonna take pics or just stand there and jerk off?
But oddly enough, Trench disses the both of them with some lame dialogue and walks off.
"What's up his ass?" Mr. Church inquires.
"I dunno, I guess he wants to be president." Stallone replies.
This was the Great Scene we waited so long for? You're kidding, right? How limp.
Stallone gets the job and he and Mr. Christmas go into Vilena to check it out. They meet a girl (maria?) who acts as their guide and they essentially fuck up and have to get off the island. But not without spraying the quays with engine fuel from their Albatross and igniting it with .50 caliber cannons on the nose of the plane. Now, here's a part that made no sense to me. Why would Statham have to go under the pilot control deck to pop out in the open air to fire the nose mounted cannons? Why not just stay in the cockpit and fire them from the wheel. Like they actually did in practice, you goddamn morons!!! Suppose it was raining, how accurate are you likely to be with your head out in the wet firing these cannons which can only be AIMED by the pilot anyway!!! They are nose cannons you idiots! How much can you aim these bad boyz with your joystick Jason?? This is like finding a steering wheel in the engine car of a train. Where you gonna go?
So, they decide not to do this job as it's just not worth the money. But Stallone starts thinking about Maria and why she did not go with them when they left Vilena. So, he talks to his buddy, Tool, and here is the only acting you're ever going to see in this movie: The camera slowly zooms in on Mickey Rourke's face while he's puffing on a 1778 pipe while inking a tat on something. The lighting is pale blue and we see his reflection on a bar mirror as he monologues about a time when he was in The Expendables in Croatia. This scene is moving and is a damn good piece of acting. Tool expresses in one story why he no longer goes on missions with them anymore and why Stallone should go back and rescue the girl.
So he does.
Of course the whole group isn't going to let him go alone so they all get involved, except Dolph. He got kicked out of the group after his faux pas in Nigeria, plus he's a drug user and can't be trusted. So he sold himself to the enemy in Vilena, got some guns and some posse and took the fight to Stallone's HQ. Jet Li is with Stallone in a truck while Dolph and his cronies try to take them out with SMG's and a car chase. Jet ends up in the bed of the pickup firing his gat at the goons. And here is where the headaches come in. Bring some aspirin or ibuprofen with you to the theater because the action scenes are so quick and strobe-like with a lot of movement such that you can barely make out who is getting hit and who is firing the weapons. It is like this through the whole movie. Maybe a pair of 3-D glasses will compensate for this.
Anyway, they make it inside Tool's garage and Dolph and Jet Li duke it out until Stallone finally shoots Dolph 2 inches above the heart. I know this because Stallone tells Judas this as he's dying. I would rank that as TMI. In his 'death' throes, Dolph comes clean and tells him about the plan in Vilena (which is I guess the dictator wants to make money with coke and sell it to Americans?)
So the whole group ends up in a night flight to Vilena to take out the dictator and his American master and rescue Maria.
Explosions, explosions, explosions. People blown or sliced in half. Oh.... and the Auto-Shotgun. I play Dark Heresy and there are a few auto-shotguns in that game. I always wondered what it would be like to fire one of those things in close quarters. After seeing this movie. I now know. And it's badassssssssssssssssssss!!!

The End.

Seriously, that's how it ends. Oh -- I almost forgot! There was an epilogue of sorts.
The Expendables end up at Tool's garage and guess who's there? Judas. That's right the whole Dolph thing was a joke! Ha ha ha ha ha! He's stopped using drugs and changed his ways. Buddy-buddy all over again! Ha ha ha ha ha ha! Ridiculous...

I give this movie 2 out of 5 stars. Not one 'good guy' dies... not one. Every 'bad guy' dies... every one. Except Dolph. It was entertaining on the lowest level, and I've seen worse. And there was that auto-shotgun.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

1st off i would like to begin by saying The Expendables is great. Yes the acting was sub-par and Stallone should have railed the chick at the end. Hell, he should have hit it in the beginning or at least gotten a BJ. But that's not what being a man is about. It's about chicks, guns, bikes, knives, and blowing shit up. It's about handling business. Getting shit done. Standing up for what's right. Defending the defenseless. Sure the average man lives a boring life working in a garage, running a business, or working for some major corporation. The fact is that every real man needs something like this. This is the equivalent of sex & the city for women. Women have shoes. We have guns. Women have diamonds. We have fast cars. Women have ovaries. We have balls. At least most of us do. But you sir, I am second guessing. There is no argument that this movie doesn't fit the mold. It does not follow the cinematic structure that has been set by previous movies. There's not much talking because it's a man movie. Stallone got straight to the point. From the 1st grenade through the chest to the last knife through the chest this movie was all about pure action. It was a beacon for all men (not just males but MEN).
I disagree with your movie but i personally believe that everyone is entitled to their opinion. And that includes feminine men. Write on sir, write on.

5:16 PM  
Blogger John said...


Your statement may catch people off guard but does not prove your point. You mistake confusion on the part of the listener for support of your premise.

Atheism, if truly embraced is a belief just as any other. The person has made a choice not to believe. This is just as valid as choosing to believe.

To equate this with a strategy of "NOT" doing a hobby is hardly equal. If not stamp collecting then there is another hobby. You are equating a physical action, i.e. "collecting", with a choice of belief. Not driving means you don't believe in cars? Equally ridiculous.

You could as easily use sex and abstinence as an example. Both choices have consequences. If you choose abstinence it does not mean you don't believe in sex. You have made a choice for yourself based on you belief and values. Same as for Atheism.

I'm not a practitioner of Apologetics. Nor am I familiar with Mr. Hitchen's work but I would still allow anyone a right to choose Atheism as a valid option while at the same time accepting the validity of religion. Atheism holds no moral high ground for me.


9:57 AM  

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