The Expendables

Monday August 9th 2010

I wasn’t particularly excited to see The Expendables and I’m sure The Expendables wasn’t particularly excited to see me. After all, as someone too young to have any kind of in-built loyalty to its principle cast – I’m still not entirely sure what a Dolph Lundgren is – the film has almost nothing to offer me.

After establishing a plot so breathtakingly mundane that even the film’s trailer decided it would be best to ignore it, Stallone gets down to the important business of introducing his barrage of characterless characters. A select few are at least implied to have emotions, but most are simply sounding boards for tedious references to the actors’ earlier iconic roles and current public personas. The Schwarzenegger cameo is particularly lame: he looks like he’s just pooed out gold every time he manages to get a whole line of dialogue out in one go.

The ‘Expendables’ themselves are no better, mumbling inaudibly through their scenes either (in Stallone’s case) because they’ve had so much surgery that they’ve lost all control of their vocal chords or (as with Rourke) because their heart’s simply not in it.

All of the above might be just about forgivable if the film was even slightly successful as a Big Summer Action Movie, but the direction is so painfully, painfully Route 1 that it renders almost all of the action scenes ineffective, especially when the ‘ruthless’ army of bad guys are shown to be totally useless time and time again.

Most of all, The Expendables is just fucking depressing. I don’t want to get all Christopher Tookey on your proverbial ass, but there comes a point when a movie which repeatedly plays the graphic mass-murder of hundreds of people for non-ironic cheers starts to leave a bad taste in the mouth.

Give me Bradley Cooper driving a tank in mid-air, any day.