Like my book reviews site, these are movie reviews I write for entertainment purposes only. These are just my reviews and my opinions. They are not endorsed by Blogger or any movie studios or anyone else. So there. I borrowed my scoring system from the Metacritic site, which does not imply an endorsement from them, although I think they do have a very nice website. I convert the 1-100 scores into 1-4 stars, essentially it works like this:

1 star = 25 points
2 stars = 50 points
3 stars = 75 points
4 stars = 100 points

And then if something falls about halfway between, then I'll give it an added half-star.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Expendables

"The Expendables" obviously isn't a great movie in terms of great films like "Citizen Kane" or even "The Godfather."  It is at least a movie that knows it's not a great movie and to its credit it doesn't try to be anything it isn't.  Basically what you expect with Sly Stallone, Jason Statham, and Jet Li (among others) involved is a kick-ass action movie with lots of blood and stuff blowing up.  And that's what you get.

In typical retro action movie style, there's a thin story that provides the excuse to blow stuff up.  There's a phony island in the Gulf of Mexico or something called Vilena, where a rogue CIA agent named James Munroe (Eric Roberts) has created a puppet government so that he can produce/sell drugs without sharing any profits.

The Expendables of the title are a group of mercenaries led by Barney (Stallone) and his partner Christmas (Statham) who get the job to take out the evil general in charge of the island.  This is provides a cameo for both Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger which wasn't necessary, but is just a fun tip of the cap for great action heroes of yore.

Barney and Christmas recon the island, where they run into Sandra, who is the general's daughter but has gone to ground to avoid running into daddy.  Things go sour, with Barney and Christmas barely escaping.  But then Barney decides to go back mainly to get Sandra out of there.  Except he doesn't know that one member of his team has betrayed him.

The rest is a lot of blowing stuff up.  The effects aren't all that great, but you get plenty of explosions--buildings and humans.  The really big, loud gun one member of Barney's team uses is particularly nasty--and freaking cool.  It's the kind of gun I'd love to have in one of those first-person shooter games.
As I said, the story is paper thin, the characters are flat, and the dialog is corny, but that's what you expect.  We're not talking about cinema here.

The only real failure was that if you're going to create a super team of past action heroes, you need Van Damme, Segal, and of course the almighty Chuck Norris.  Jackie Chan would be cool too.  I mean come on, the first two are just doing straight-to-video movies and the only mentions Chuck Norris gets are in connection with those jokes floating around the Internet.  So really, it's not like it should have cost that much money.

Actually now that Schwarzenegger is no longer the governor (or soon not to be) maybe they can do a sequel where his team could have the guys I just mentioned and they initially go up against Stallone's team before joining forces to take out some bad guy.  Wow, someone get Stallone's agent on the phone!  This thing pretty much writes itself!

If you want a good retro action flick, this is one to watch.  I wouldn't buy it, but it's worth the rental.
That is all.

My score:  62/100 (2.5 stars)
Metacritic score:  45/100 (2 stars)

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