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The Expendables

Starring Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Eric Roberts, Randy Couture, Steve Austin, Mickey Rourke, Charisma Carpenter with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis
Screenplay by David Callaham and Sylvester Stallone
Story by David Callaham
Directed by Sylvester Stallone

IN SHORT: More fun than it should be for what would otherwise be a just OK flick (save for the star names which are terrific). But fun and nifty explosions win out the day. [Rated R for strong action and bloody violence throughout, and for some language. 103 minutes]

And before we start, you may take your pick of a whole mess a wallpaper downloads here

There are unsavory actions that even the C.I.A. won't do in-house. For those actions, they call on a friendly band of mercenaries called "The Expendables" for the obvious reason that all members of said group are totally, and with complete deniability, expendable. Not that all of their gigs are at the behest of DC suits, or so the screenplay for this film tries to imply, it just works better for our limited sense of comprehension that way.

"The Gang" of Expendables meets from time to time at the shop of professional tattoo artist and a former Expendable named Tool (Mickey Rourke). The core of the group is comprised of Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone), Ying Yang (Jet Li), Toll Road (Randy Couture), Hale Caesar (Terry Crews) and Lee Christmas (Jason Statham). Christmas has a thing for a lovely lady named Lacy (Charisma Carpenter) but he's lacking in some social graces. That he doesn't take well to being dumped, or to discovering that his ex's new beau likes to beat up on her adds what little subplot there is to this story. Basically, the team is a coup d'e'tat force for hire.

As this story begins we learn two things about these "expendables" First, that they have been around long enough that past members, like a burnt out Gunner Jensen (Dolph Lundgren) have been, uh, expended. Secondly, that when (assumedly) the CIA comes calling, its contact man (an uncredited Bruce Willis) makes two calls. One is to the aforementioned Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) and the other is to Barney's "competition" in the mercenary business, a man with an accent (uncredited really big star #2) . The latter being more interested in domestic politics, Barney gets the $5 million dollar job -- to "remove" General Garza (David Zayas), the dictator of a South American island nation called Vilena.

It isn't that the general is the usual megalomaniac, no. He is in cahoots with an ex-CIA agent named James Munroe (Eric Roberts) -- and both are making tons of cash in one of those drug deals that the agency has been allegedly involved in for years. While the general has an army at his command, doing the dirty work for Munroe is an enforcer called "Paine" (Steve Austin). We couldn't make this stuff up, folks.

As Barney and Lee scout out the locale, they encounter a lovely, idealistic native named Sandra (Giselle Iti). When our two heroes flee the island -- the general's army happens to be shooting at them at the time -- Sandra refuses their offer of a quick escape in their seaplane. Daddy is the evil general, y'see. You don't have to do much thinking to know that casual connection, so to speak, is going to play out big as the movie progresses.

OK, now on to the rest of the story . . . just about everything on the island that can be blown up gets blown up.

Well, Charisma Carpenter doesn't get blown up. Neither do we see much more of her than the two bits mentioned above. Darn.

All of the fun comes from watching everything blow up. If things aren't blowing up then Jet Li is taking 'em down with his patented wow 'em martial arts moves.

It's a helluva lot more fun than it reads.

Seriously. We had a terrific time.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to The Expendables, he would have paid . . .


It's a great date flick. At least for those of us who like to watch things blow up (which includes the lady sitting next to us who made sure that we knew her opinion before she left the screening room. Gotta stop telling people what we do for a living...)

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The Cranky Critic website is Copyright © 1995  -  2017  by Chuck Schwartz. Articles by Paul Fischer are Copyright © 1999 - 2006 Paul Fischer. All images, unless otherwise noted, are property of,©, ®, their respective studios and are used by permission. All Rights Reserved. Not to be used or copied for any commercial purpose. Academy Award(s) and Oscar®(s) are registered trademarks and service marks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.