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The Expendables, or how AARP got 'roid rage!

Bitter, Bitter Balcony, Movie Review, The Expendables 2010Sylvester Stallone, Dave Callaham Sylvester StalloneSylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li Bitter,Bitterometer,meter The Expendables(2010)
 

Commando. Rambo. Die Hard. These are the action films of my 80's childhood, adrenaline-fueled exhibits of American gung-ho-ism and muscle-headed resolve. The heroes in these films are not known for their acting abilities, but for awesome screen presence and incomparable charisma. In a summer movie season that’s been a yawn, it's good to count on some old fashion bing bam boom, the kind that kills brain cells and makes you subscribe to a gym you'll never use. Sylvester Stallone returns with his formula (not HGH, but close) and brings "The Expendables," a tribute to his career and to his posse of immensely rich and ego-centric Hollywood alpha-dogs. Plot? Who cares! But if you must know, a elite group of mercenaries named The Expendables are hired by the secretive "Mr. Church" (Bruce Willis) to take down a Latin American island's military dictator and the CIA agent gone bad(Eric Roberts) behind the whole coup. Well, that's it, but that's all Stallone needs to blow stuff up, with simpleton sub-plots for his co-stars Jason Statham, Jet Li, and Dolph Lungdren to beat the crap of some poor extras.

After the surprisingly pleasant revival of Rocky and Rambo, Stallone is back to the box-office credibility he held when a former Californian governor was president and his main competition was a body building champion from Austria. Now that Austrian is the governor, the rivalry has simmered to a welcome embrace for an audience who have waited years for this team-up. Yes, it's just a cameo, but having Arnold Schwarzenegger in the same scene with Sly and Bruce Willis is reminiscent as the DeNiro/Pacino face-off in "Heat," albeit for completely different reasons. Stallone eye winks in his delivery of the moments we paid to see.

However, "The Expendables" is somewhat sluggish in between, not knowing whether to be a humorous rendition of the overblown films it spawned from or a serious attempt to actually make a “good” film. For JAS, blame for the film's inconsistencies lie on Stallone himself, struggling to create a rhythm, with some action scenes taking too long. He also mentions Sly's lack of basic film 101 essentials, like establishing shots, most notably in the Arnie/Bruce/Sly legendary meeting. I'm more willing to forgive Stallone's directing failings, since I did like the execution of the action sequences, battles between the stars are played out and Stallone picks his spots when he needs to.

However, Stallone's decision to co-write "The Expendables" with Dave Callaham is as incompressible as Jet Li's dialogue delivery. Callaham takes all the politically incorrect depictions of the era's movies and returns a story that lacks any real humor and a flat underlining of redemption. The beauty of having bad actors is that their delivery of mundane lines is so bad or peculiar it's memorable (i.e. "get to the choppa," "I'm your worst nightmare") but when you have them having funny monologues (Randy Couture is horrible) it feels forced. Honestly, some trivial line with one of these guys would have sufficed. Also, the idea of having the general's daughter as the catalyst for Stallone's Ross' redemption ends up lame, and if this was Callaham's intention, he should have added more depth to his hero and his colleagues. But perhaps I'm being too nick-picky since depth is the last thing you expect in a movie filled with flying body parts and sky-rise detonations. We wanted big and dumb, and in “The Expendables,” Stallone is more than willing to oblige.

Trailer:

Official website:
The Expendables

Pics:
The Expendables2010Sylvester Stallone, Dave Callaham Sylvester StalloneSylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li  The Expendables2010Sylvester Stallone, Dave Callaham Sylvester StalloneSylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li  The Expendables2010Sylvester Stallone, Dave Callaham Sylvester StalloneSylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li  The Expendables2010Sylvester Stallone, Dave Callaham Sylvester StalloneSylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li  The Expendables2010Sylvester Stallone, Dave Callaham Sylvester StalloneSylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li 

Credits:
Directed by: Sylvester Stallone
Written by: Sylvester Stallone, Dave Callaham
Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li


Source of the Bitter: John Rojas

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