Although I hesitated to review the movie, it's clear that this should have been one of the badass-est movies of the year. Instead? Well. I believe the title speaks for itself. The best part of this movie was the vague and mysterious promotional poster, a skull exploding with various threatening weapons and a list of enough big action movie CLASSICS. Enough to make every 13 year old boy (and 20 year old dyke) wet themselves with pure testosterone joy. Unfortunately, the mystery in the poster wasn't simply a ploy to drag audiences to the movie--it was the movie. Big names, big guns, and very, very little else. I'd give you a plot, except there was none. Something about mercenaries, an evil American capitalist, and a small town shitty Spanish country. The end.
Normally, I would not have a problem with this. I'm a James Bond fan. It's how my brain works. However. I do request a little something something. A little plot. A little character development. A little attention to dialogue. A little bone for my dog. The Expendables promised much and delivered zip. It felt more like a family reunion for all the aging action movie heros than a movie. Granted, to be fair. The big names were fun. Very fun. Schwarzenegger's appearance had me clapping, even his last "vote for me!" line was deliciously contrived. Bruce Willis also warmed the hollow place in my chest where my heart should be. But both had very little purpose to the actual film, clearly tossed in there as a last second cameo. Mickey Rourke, on the other hand, filled his small role with life and breathed some energy into the sterile script. He played a tattooist with a heart, boarding on born-again romantic, but dashed with a war torn cynicism. He was able to both straddle the line between rough and tumble and sensitive--a man with muscle and tears.
Now for the Expendables themselves. Stallone has to take the marbles out of his mouth and give Angelina Jolie her lips back. Jason Statham I love to death, thanks to every Guy Ritchie film ever made, and while he can do little wrong in my eyes, his character didn't have much of an arc and his romance troubles seemed a bit...dare I say it...expendable. Jet Li nearly saved the movie--his character was entertaining, witty, and simply fun to be around. Not to mention, bad fucking ass. Thank you short people. Lundren reminded me of Jaws from The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker. Crews was every token black man in every action movie combined into one. Austin and Couture were...wait...who were they? That's right: completely forgettable. Granted, Couture had the potential to be a cool character, if he only had more than 3 lines.
|"What do you find when you look up 'plotless' in the dictionary?" "What's a dictionary?"|
End rant. The plot. RIGHT. The mercenaries who aren't at all tight knit end up getting buttfucked by their man Gunner who betrays them and joins the bad guy instead (who would've thought, what with them being such a friendly group at all. Maybe Gunner just wanted more hugs!). The bad guy is an American businessman James Munroe, played by a relatively creepy Eric Roberts. Munroe is manipulating General Garza, the dictator of anonymous typical South American country, into doing what he wants when he wants it and raping anonymous typical South American country for every dollar it's worth. The Expendables take the job to assassinate said hopeless Garza (who's really a friendly dictator, if only he didn't have the Americans on his back). While taking the job, Stallone (let's call it like it is, there were no characters here, just actors) runs into the beautiful Giselle Itié. She happens to be the dictator's daughter, Sandra, even though she's rebelling against Daddy so she can be the female Ché. And she paints pictures we suppose somehow symbolically represent her anonymous South American country. We also want to see her take off her clothes (which, spoiler alert, we don't. But more about that later). Munroe doesn't like the daughter. The daughter's a problem. The daughter PAINTS. This is the last straw for Munroe. He really flips out when he sees her paintings. Why? My theory is he never got enough finger painting in as a child and this is really the last straw. In any case, he takes revenge on Sandra's paintings, and the Expendables come in to save the girl, kill the bad American, and blow some random shit up.
Sandra. Let's give her a moment. What the fuck was up with her? I would have been fine with her character if the movie had just picked a role for her and ran with it. She appears in the beginning as nothing more than your typical movie sexpot. She's hot, she's clearly a shoe-in for Stallone's love interest, the stage has been set. But as the movie progresses, she turns into something else entirely. She takes a few hits for the Expendables, shines on in her rebellion, and even takes a good waterboarding. Alright. I'm on board. Waterboarding is cool. If she can take that, she must be kickass. Right? Well, no. She's actually a helpless femme fatale who can't really do anything else for the rest of the movie except get herself constantly held ransom. Alright. So what happened to the chick who was able to withstand a waterboarding two seconds ago? Finally, at the end, she parts ways with them as those she's "one of the guys". No sex, no nakedness, not even a kiss on the lips from Stallone. You know what--fine. I don't care about a soppy love interest. I respect Guy Ritchie for the fact that he knows well enough to leave actually romance OUT of a good bromance action movie. However, Stallone just can't make up his mind about what he wants to do with Sandra. Does he want to fuck her, or does he want her to fuck everyone else up? Is she going to be badass or is she going to be the token set of breasts? I'm fine with either, really, I am. Just make up your mind, because after I got no nipples and no chick-with-firearms, I'm left unsatisfied on both fronts.
To conclude: Not enough sex, not enough bromance, and not enough badassitry for what had so, so, SO much potential. Someone fix this.