23 August 2010

The Expendables

I really would have like to have found something to like about this movie, it had a lot of elements that could make a bang up summer action flick and I had heard there were a lot of explosions. Sometimes I’m in the mood for a lot of gratuitous explosions. And there was a lot of recognizable name in the credits. Unfortunately for all of the recognizable name stars, there was a surprising lack of chemistry between any of them.

I got the feeling that not a lot of this movie was shot on location. The camera work was more reminiscent of a television show than a movie. I felt that there was a lot of green screen work, and I got the sense that some of the scenes of the big starts were in together were shot on different days, like one actor shot his half of the conversation on Tuesday and the second actor recorded his bit the following Thursday.

Even for an action adventure movie which is expected to have a bad script, this movie’s script failed on multiple levels. It actually makes several false starts before it settles into a pedestrian storyline. The ominous and threatening Bruce Willis character disappears with zero explanation and zero impact on the storyline. An appearance by Schwarzenegger sets you up for a plot twist that never happens. He too must have just been visiting the set on day so they wrote him a couple of lines and threw him in the movie.

And any action movie which wastes several minutes with the heroes sitting around talking about the medical causes of cauliflower ears doesn’t understand the meaning of the word action.

Mickey Rourke seems to have been included in the cast for the one scene they thought would require acting, and that’s all he gets to do. The scene seems contrived to bring in a designated actor for a scene Stallone couldn’t pull off. Part of the appeal of Stallone movies was watching him make a fool of himself trying to act. He could never act, but we liked him for at least making the effort. I guess Stallone is beyond risking making a fool of himself, because in this film he doesn’t even care enough about us to try.

And will someone please stop casting Eric Roberts in anything, particularly as the villain. We’ve seen this so many times.

There were a lot of explosions and a lot of shots fired in this movie. If all that you have to do is show one of your hero’s place c-4 then this would be the action movie to end all action movies. As one of the characters placed what seemed like the 100th charge of c-4 I was actually thinking, “More c-4? Where is he carrying that? Is there that much room in his pockets? I hope they remember to place it all. Gosh it would be a shame if they over looked a brick and left one in their pocket, that would be surprising. You suppose one store had that much c-4 or did they have to stop at multiple stores on the way to the badguy’s castle.” Keep in mind this is during the run up to the climatic fight scene of the movie. Suspense should be building. I shouldn’t be worrying about how many stores they had to stop at to get that much c-4.

Was there anything I liked about this movie? Jason Stratham and Terry Crews had more energy and presence that any of the other stars combined. I kept thinking that those two could do a bromance movie that would kick the Expendable’s ass. Terry Crews and his fondness for his automatic shotgun was one of the few bits of the movie that I liked and that the crowd seemed to react to. Jason Stratham seemed to have shown up for this film, but the script couldn’t seem to decide if he was a central character or not. At times the story seemed to focus on him and then suddenly he would be out of focus and be relegated to a supporting bit part.

I was sorely disappointed by this movie.

(not recommended)

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