Big on action and short on plot, The Expendables pits a star-studded cast of mercenaries against a generic tin-hat dictator and the CIA in a generic banana republic. Stallone tries to add a love interest and some secondary storyline about redemption or some such nonsense, but it gets lost in all the bullets, bloodshed and explosions…and I didn’t care one bit.
Stallone’s direction gets in the way a bit, as does some of the camera work. The hand-to-hand scenes, in particular, had too many close-ups that made it hard to follow the action. But there was enough of it going on that that became a minor point. The other issue that I had with the film was also what made me first want to see the film: the massive, dream team cast. With so many to choose from, the secondary characters quickly became very, very secondary. Want to see this movie to see Randy Couture’s mercenary persona? Good luck, he’s there for about 15 minutes throughout the film. Him, they at least try to give a gimmick. Terry Crews is only noticeable in the movie because he has a loud gun. That’s unfortunate, as the “down time” scenes between our heroes were surprisingly well done, they really seemed to have a lot of chemistry together and really did come across as old friends who have been to hell and back with each other.
The film has some minor warts, but this isn’t a film that you see for the sake of the film. This is a film that you see for the sake of hot lead flying across the screen as things blow up. From that perspective, it’s nearly flawless.