Barney Ross – Sylvester Stallone
Lee Christmas – Jason Statham
Ying Yang – Jet Li
Gunner Jensen – Dolph Lundgren
Toll Road – Randy Couture
Hale Caesar – Terry Crews
James Monroe – Eric Roberts
Paine – Stone Cold Steve Austin
General Garza – David Zayas
Tool – Mickey Rourke
Sandra – Giselle Itié
Lacy – Charisma Carpenter
The Brit – Gary Daniels
Mr. Church – Bruce Willis
Trent – Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
I have been writing this review for the last week trying to capture my full thoughts on this film. I have done five rewrites because I didn’t want to do a typical and clichéd movie review. I think I finally got my shit together and can give a true opinion without being a total action movie buff.
When news of an ensemble action piece directed by Sylvester Stallone broke I expected your typical 90 minute blow shit up fest with minor dialogue and minimal range from the lead actors. As the names came together I still felt like this would be a one and done picture that would quietly make a decent payday and disappear into box office shadows. With a loaded a cast but major competition from Eat Pray Love & fan favorite Scott Pilgrim I expected a rough weekend but damn was I wrong as it went on to take number one with 34.8 million dollar opening.
Now let’s get down to business and talk about the movie itself. Stallone of course plays the leader of the rag tag group of mercs that are tasked with taking down a foreign general and his benefactor played by the always douche worthy Eric Roberts. I don’t want to give away too much but I can say that a ton of shit was blown up and few lines were really said. In terms of physical confrontations I felt this movie did not deliver as expected and could have added a bit more physicality to showcase the actors strengths a bit more. Li & Lundgren had a great fight with a solid ending. Lundgren was a 2nd choice considering that the character was supposed to be played by Jean-Claude Van Damme who felt the character had no substance and rumors floated around that he did not to lose to Li which if true is stupid since Van Damme is not a legit martial artist but gloried ballerina with decent acting. The fight that put Stallone in the hospital during filming was his fight with Stone Cold Steve Austin who played Robert’s bodyguard Paine. This fight was brutal and you could see that the choreography was done real tight. Later on the film we would see an altercation between Randy Couture and Stone Cold that was beyond awesome. Overall I was letdown by the fight between Gary Daniels ,Jason Statham and Jet Li only because these guys are all great martial artists and really should have had more time to showcase those skills. Gary Daniels in particular is no slouch in the fight game and a fight with Li could have been a real highpoint towards the end of the film. Be on the lookout for a cameo by UFC fighter Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira .
One of the most talked about scenes was the scene involving the three legends Stallone,Willis & Schwarzenegger which delivered a moderate chuckle but seemed a bit rushed and thrown in strictly for action buffs to go “ Oh Shit” which isn’t a bad thing had it been done right. With rumors that Willis will be the lead bad guy in the Expendables 2 I can see the chemistry being more natural on the second go around. Terry Crews had another memorable character to add to his extensive acting resume and Randy Couture seemed right at home mixing it up with these household names from 80’s and 90’s action classics.
If you went into this movie expecting Oscar winning dialogue and a deep character driven story that would capture your heart and soul then do yourself a favor and hit close on your browser and tuck you balls between your legs because you missed the point of this flick. This flick is an homage to the some of the most memorable films that ever made it to late night cable hahaha. Actually this movie is an homage to the paper thin plots of the 90’s that entertained countless guys over the years. While the nudity and sex were minimal for an R-Rated action flick the body count and destruction made up for it.
My Take: A must see for action fans who appreciate gratuitous violence. You may even walk out with a beard and some chest hair.