Entertainment Magazine> Film> 2010> "The Expendables"

The Expendables - Sly has issues

By Miv Evans

The Expendables SalloneWhen Stallone, Schwarzenegger, Willis and Rourke are on screen they are clearly having a blast.

The trademark Stallone dialogue rolls off their tongues as they tower over their roles with a can-do air that makes it very tongue-in-cheek and it’s hugely entertaining.

But, unfortunately, there’s nowhere near enough of it and it’s unsettling to flit from satire to deadly action; we can only go one way and the former makes it hard to take the latter seriously. 

Sly hints that this could be his action finale and, although it isn’t a worthy goodbye, it’s an entertaining romp and it would be a shame not to catch those biceps just one last time.

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Barney Ross (Stallone) is the leader of a team of mercenaries.  He takes on an assignment to infiltrate a South American country and overthrow its dictator.  Ross and Lee Christmas (Jason Statham) do a reconnaissance and discover that it would be a suicide mission, so the coup is called off.  But their visit catches the attention of the dictator and endangers the life of a local girl, so walking away isn’t going to be as simple as they want.

The film starts well, with battles and characters cleverly interwoven, but the ensuing action, and there’s a lot of it, is just a series of car chases, shoot outs and explosions, which we’ve seen a million times before and doesn’t justify calling it a ‘thriller’.  Special effects aren’t thrilling, they’re pretty; to be thrilled we need more. 

Times move on and, at 64, Sly, thankfully, knows that getting the girl won’t work anymore, but instead of letting someone else have the honor, he fixes it so NO ONE gets her.  How dog in the manger is that?

Also, Schwarzenegger and Willis get dispatched early in the film with ungracious haste and poor old Rourke gets an even worse deal.

He was once, apparently, an Expendable but when Sly asks him to rejoin them for the next mission, Rourke says no and instead stays home to finish his painting by numbers, which isn’t the most macho thing I’ve ever seen. 

But I suppose if I was a make believe boxer, and a real boxer was in my film, I’d have a lot to prove, but making Rourke go all girly raises suspicions and there can be only one explanation.

It’s official - Sylvester Stallone is insecure.  He’s bumping off the competition, keeping all his girl action platonic and taking wrestling lessons from The Rock, after promising him a role in his next film.

What role that is, I have no idea, but I’m sure it won’t involve the world wrestling champ taking off his shirt and exposing that rippling body all the fans go wild for.

Release date: 13th August, 2010

Miv Evans is a British businesswoman who relocated to Los Angeles in 2005. She previously had a comedy drama commissioned by BBC TV and sold her first film to REN Media International in 2008 which she wrote, directed and produced.

Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone, left) and Lee Christmas (Jason Statham, right) in THE EXPENDABLES. Photo credit: Karen Ballard.

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"The Expendables" Movie Synopsis

Expendable:  capable of being sacrificed in order to accomplish a military objective.

Release Date: August 13, 2010

THE EXPENDABLES is a hard-hitting action/thriller about a group of mercenaries hired to infiltrate a South American country and overthrow its ruthless dictator.

Once the mission begins, the men realize things aren’t quite as they appear, finding themselves caught in a dangerous web of deceit and betrayal.  With their mission thwarted and an innocent life in danger, the men struggle with an even tougher challenge – one that threatens to destroy this band of brothers.

Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) is a man with nothing to lose.  Fearless and void of emotion, he is the leader, the sage and the strategist of this tight-knit band of men who live on the fringe.  His only attachment is to his pickup truck, his seaplane and his team of loyal modern-day warriors.  His is a true cynic who describes what he does as “removing those hard to get at stains.”

The team behind him is made up of Lee Christmas (Jason Statham), former SAS and a savant with anything that has a blade; Yin Yang (Jet Li), a master at close-quarter combat; Hale Caesar (Terry Crews), who has known Barney for ten years and is a long-barrel weapons specialist; Toll Road (Randy Couture), a skilled demolitions expert and considered the intellect of the group; and Gunnar Jensen (Dolph Lundgren), a combat veteran and an expert in precision sniping who struggles with his own demons.

When the mysterious Church offers Barney a job no one else would take, Barney and his team embark on what appears to be a routine mission:  overthrow General Gaza (David Zayas), the murderous dictator of the small island country of Vilena and end the years of death and destruction inflicted on its people.

On a reconnaissance mission to Vilena, Barney and Christmas meet their contact Sandra (Giselle Itie), a local freedom-fighter with a dark secret.

They also come to learn who their true enemy is:  rogue ex-CIA operative James Monroe (Eric Roberts) and his henchman Paine (Steve Austin).

When things go terribly wrong, Barney and Christmas are forced to leave Sandra behind, essentially giving her a death sentence.  Haunted by this failure, Barney convinces the team to return to Vilena to rescue the hostage and finish the job he started.  And to perhaps save a soul:  his own.

Directed by Sylvester Stallone, from a screenplay by David Callaham and Sylvester Stallone, story by David Callaham. Lionsgate and Millennium Films present a Nu Image production.

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