Wednesday, 5 April 2017

The Expendables (2010) - Film Review


I remember being excited to see The Expendables in 2010, as a 13 year old boy who was raised on '80s and '90s action films on VHS would have been. It came out and I loved it. I grew up a little, I enjoyed the sequels, but upon revisiting the first, I've got to be honest, this is a piece of shit.

The concept is sound, mixing up and making an ensemble film of your favourite action stars of the '80s and '90s and some from the modern day. You have Stallone, Statham, Terry Crews, Arnie, Willis, Jet Li, Mickey Rourke and Dolph Lundgren. Plus some crappy wrestling stars who do straight-to-DVD action films like Stone Cold Steve Austin....

This should have a sure-fire masterpiece, a tribute to the '80s and '90s, a time where action cinema was at its best. Instead what we have is a complete mess of a film. The action is so boring and lifeless, which is incredible, as this was directed by Stallone, who just 2 prior to this, delivered the incredibly violent and visceral final Rambo installment.

In The Expendables however, the action is all drowned out by the poor and dark lighting that gave me Vietnam style flashbacks to watching Alien Vs Predator: Requiem. It is just such a waste of all the talent involved. There are the odd moment of decent action, Terry Crews with the AA-12 shotgun was pretty gory, as was the opening scene with a grenade launcher.

What hurts The Expendables so much too is the poor CGI. Not just the odd off looking explosion, but every single drop of blood looks terrible. I'm convinced not a single blood squib was used, which is just an insult to everything this film tries to stand for. If you're going to try and recreate the '80s/'90s, then use blood squibs, then look so much better, and everyone knows it.
Terry Crews and Sylvester Stallone
I was never expecting much in the story department with this film, but I was hoping for something more compelling than this, and a better villain than... Eric Roberts? Yeah, he's in this as some rogue ex-CIA agent. He leaves next to no impact. The script makes no sense. There was obviously going to be cheesy one-liners, but nothing this pathetic and lazy. The character-arc of Dolph Lundgren's character is one of the most inane things I've ever seen.

I never felt I got to know or even care about any of The Expendables either. We learn so little about any of these characters, aside from the fact Stallone is the leader, Statham uses knives, Jet Li knows martial arts and Terry Crews likes shotguns, oh, and he has a cutthroat razor with his name spelt wrong on it. It's just a monumental waste of everyone involved and no one has a chance to really shine. The main focus is Stallone and Statham, with no one else getting much chance for screentime.

The Expendables is a failure on almost every level. It has a cool idea with its cast, but beyond that, it's a piss poor action film that feels like it easily could have gone straight-to-DVD.

3/10 Dans

The Expendables is out now on Blu-ray and DVD in the UK
Watch the trailer below:

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