The main "wow" factor of The Expendables
is that it features a who's who of current and former action stars: Sly Stallone; Jason Statham; Jet Li; Dolph Lundgren; Mickey Rourke; Eric Roberts, and even Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger in a terrific cameo scene. There's even a couple of tough sportsmen-turned-actors thrown in for good measure: Randy Couture and Steve Austin.
The plot, of a group of mercenaries trying to bring down a corrupt South American dictator for the C.I.A., while perfunctory at best, is by no means a slap-dash affair. It does manage a surprise or 2 along the way, and it also features some witty dialogue between our rag-tag group of heroes. But the parts that really shine are the scenes of mayhem and destruction as bullets fly, explosions tear through buildings and these urban warriors go mano-a-mano. Alot of the action is very well shot, courtesy of star/director Stallone. And the fight scenes (of which there are many) are exciting and brutal.
Stallone's idea was to reinvigorate the action movie sensibilities of the 80's and 90's. Less computer effects and more "realistic" action set-pieces. And he wholly succeeds. This is definitely a guys' movie and is a welcome reminder of action movies which just don't get "made like they used to" anymore. (4 out of 5, by Carlisle Johnson)
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.
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