The Cine staff had been taking a week-long look at the action films of Sylvester Stallone, skipping his comedies (out of respect), and we've twice reviewed his latest outing. It only seemed fitting to properly include it among these ranks...
Title: The Expendables
Setting: Americas North and Latin, present day
Our hero: Barney Ross (Stallone), leader of many manly mercenaries
Our villain/s: Would-be dictator General Garza (David Zayas); rogue CIA agent James Munroe (Eric Roberts); his aptly-named henchman, Paine (Steve Austin)
The stakes: The life of the dictator's daughter, Sandra (Giselle Itie); the freedom of her townsfolk; millions of dollars in drug trade for the bad guys; millions of dollars in compensation for the good guys
How long until our first confrontation? Not a minute passes before the Expendables start blowing apart Somali pirates left and right.
Line of dialogue that nails it: "Are you two gonna start sucking each other's d**ks?"
Coolest display of might: Hale Caesar (Terry Crews) actually launches an artillery shell at a target with his bare hands so that Barney can shoot it and destroy a helicopter.
Oddest lack of consistency: Barney kicks the strung-out Gunner Jensen (Dolph Lundgren) off the team at the start because he wants to hang one of the pirates, which Barney insists isn't the way they kill people. They'll stab them, shoot them, snap their necks, but pirate nooses? That crosses the line. (SPOILERS! Gunner then proceeds to turn on the team and attempts to kill Jet Li's character in a fight, only to be welcomed back to the team in the end. A forgiving lot, them.)
Moral of the story: You can be called The Expendables, and not one of you will die, which is the opposite of being expendable.
Stallone Action Scale: 7 out of 10. The fight scenes and car chases are borderline incomprehensible, but there's no shortage of them, and when each individual pillar in a palace gets its own clump of C4, you know that place is going out with a bang. Also: the aforementioned helicopter destruction, not to mention an earlier strafing run on a dock full of baddies.