Taking the crown opening weekend over Eat Love Pray and Scott Pilgrim, The Expendables was the summer movie every action fan wanted to see. The testosterone heavy cast boasts a ton of big names (where was Wesley Snipes?) and it should have been a gimme. Have the guys show up, have them blow things up, the end.
Instead, The Expendables reminds me of how I'm really much more excited for Red, which seems like a similar movie, at least on the surface. The main difference I can tell is that Red features some ex-assassins back for another mission while Expendables featured a lot of ex-action stars gathered together for a money grab. What tanks Expendables is that we're in 2010 now, not the Eighties, and the film serves to remind us of how far guns and explosions have come since Commando and Rambo. Any of Jason Statham's movies -- as preposterous and thin as they are -- are better than Expendables from an entertainment standpoint.
We're way too familiar with the tropes of the classic action movie and we're able to connect "the girl" with "future love interest" and "motivation to do some killing" without having to waste twenty minutes watching Stallone emote. Just fire up the plane, load up the ammo and go! There is absolutely nothing surprising in any scene of The Expendables and even worse, the dialogue is horrific. There was one good line from the movie amidst a sea of horrible cheese and that one line might even fly over the heads of some teens.
I wish Expendables had been more clever, or had the intelligence to realize that the audience isn't awed by big guns and bigger CGI explosions anymore. If this had a better plot, an actual sense of humor, or some hint of tongue in cheekness, Expendables could have been awesome. Instead, it sucked.
Then again, having said all that, if Stallone and Kurt Russell get together for Tango & Cash 2, I'm so there.
I'm not a MMA fan but one of the co-stars of The Expendables, Randy Couture, absolutely wrecked a former boxing champ the other night in just a few minutes. James Toney didn't even land a punch. Wowza.