THE EXPENDABLES (2010)

Directed By: Sylvester Stallone
Written By: Dave Gallaham & Sylvester Stallone
Cinematography By: Jeffrey L. Kimball
Editor: Ken Blackwell & Paula Harb

Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Charisma Carpenter, Terry Crews, Eric Roberts, Jet Li, Dolph Lungdren, Mickey Rourke, Randy Couture, Steve Austin, Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwartzenegger, David Zayas, Gary Daniels 

Barney Ross leads the “Expendables”, a band of highly skilled mercenaries including knife enthusiast Lee Christmas, martial arts expert Yin Yang, heavy weapons specialist Hale Caesar, demolitionist Toll Road and loose-cannon sniper Gunner Jensen. When the group is commissioned by the mysterious Mr. Church to assassinate the merciless dictator of a small South American island, Barney and Lee head to the remote locale to scout out their opposition. Once there, they meet with local rebel Sandra and discover the true nature of the conflict engulfing the city. When they escape the island and Sandra stays behind, Ross must choose to either walk away and save his own life – or attempt a suicidal rescue mission that might just save his soul.


It is hard to believe that Sylvester Stallone has been not only a star but a box office draw and #1 film superstar over 5 decades. Which makes me respect him for his longevity alone. It is hard to believe and remember that when he first became a star with ROCKY which he also wrote, he was considered a serious dramatic actor compared on the same level as Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino. Now he didn’t really become an action superstar until FIRST BLOOD and has pretty much ran with it ever since.

The 90’s weren’t great for him as he followed that path into the ground with horrible studio action films and comedies that tarnished his record. After many diminishing returns, he decided to branch out again by appearing in indie films and taking a dramatic lead which did show he still could act but it wasn’t the career resurgence he expected like John Travolta at the time so it was only awhile until he returned to the genre he knew best but this time he was more informed and began to return to his iconic roles only this time with him writing and producing the films and as other laughed at him for these decisions it actually proved to be a smart move as the audiences were intrigued and both ROCKY BALBOA and RAMBO were box office hits and surprisingly decent films.

So of course for his first original film since making those films he puts together a all-star cast of action heroes and ex-costars for this film about a group of mercenaries who take on secret covert missions. They decide to take on an unwinnable one to help a land that has been taken over by an ex-cia agent in cahoots with the dictator of the land who is growing drugs to sell but in effect robbing the land and its people of there freedom. So of course Sylvert Stallone and crew take on the mission.

The film is a perfect throwback to 80’s action film with generic Villians and plot, But in it’s own way it is action campy as each of the cast gets a scene to shine. Jason Statham one of the real major co-stars gets a simple side story that is really only there to show off his romantic side and his ass-kicking skills. Nothing in the film makes anyone stretch as an actor. Jet-Li is mostly here to fight Dolph Lundgren in fight scenes.

The rest of the expendables are mostly there in small roles or extended cameos rather than being vital characters. Even early in the film Stallone and Statham go on a mission to check out the land alone and pretty much kick a lot of ass on their own. Only later do they come back with reinforcements.

The only actor who really makes a mark with their role is surprisingly Dolph Lundgren in a role that was rumored to be for Jean-Claude van Damme who turned it down. The action scenes are glorious but nothing special except for the grand scale of them.

There is nothing in the film you wouldn’t expect in this type of film. It falls short in many ways when it comes to my expectations. I was hoping for more surprises. For a top action spectacle. But as an action film that is a homage to the films that made Stallone an 80’s star, it is ok and enjoyable.

The perfect kind of Popcorn movie. It also is missing a lot of Action legends it supposedly is supposed to have Chuck Norris, Steven Segal, The Rock, Jean Claude Van-Damme, Chow Yun Fat, he could have even thrown a bone to some straight to home video action stars for bit roles, Michael Dudikoff, Don “The Dragon” Wilson, Thomas Ian Giffith, and Danny Trejo.

Even as more of a guilty pleasure, The film is a satisfying rental

GRADE: C+

LETHAL WEAPON 4 (1998)

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Directed By: Richard Donner
Written By: Channing Gibson
Story By: Jonathan Lemkin, Alfred Gough & Miles Millar
Based On Characters Created By: Shane Black
Cinematography: Andrzej Bartkowiak
Editor: Dallas Puett, Kevin Stitt, Eric Strand & Frank J. Urioste 


Cast: Mel Gibson, Danny Glover, Jet Li, Joe Pesci, Chris Rock, Rene Russo, Kim Chan, Steve Kahan, Darlene Love, Richard Riehle, Mary Ellen Trainor, Ebonie Smith 


With personal crises and age weighing in on them, LAPD officers Riggs and Murtaugh must contend with deadly Chinese triads that are trying to free their former leaders out of prison and onto American soil.
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