Sylvester Stallone — actor, writer, director and all-around great guy. This one-man army of talent has entertained men since time immemorial. In 2008 American audiences watched as John Rambo defeated an entire fleet of repressive hostiles in the jungles of Burma. The epic third chapter of Rambo ends with Stallone on the gun turret for half an hour as he purges hostile forces with a full-fledged steroid injection of justice. Such is the case with “The Expendables”, which stars a slew of one-name actors in addition to Stallone: Statham, Li, Austin, Lundgren, some UFC guy, Crews and Rourke.
[media-credit id=20129 align=”alignleft” width=”250″][/media-credit]Stallone knows what his loyal male fans expect and he consistently delivers. Just like Jason Voorhees, of “Friday the 13th” fame, Stallone appears mentally handicapped until he’s given a license to kill. Willis and Schwarzenegger have fun cameos in an early scene; Schwarzenegger bitches out Stallone but not before Stallone throws in a stinging quip about Arnold’s failed attempt at the presidency. Some may say at this point Stallone’s script pulls the viewer from the fantasy of “The Expendables” universe, but I say the overlap of fantasy and reality is just enough to construct that perfect WTF moment.
So WTF is this film about? I had to ask myself this question after an initial viewing. The plot, the dialogue and the action were all straightforward in the respective executions and as a whole. No, nothing from the film was incoherent. To understand my confusion, I’ll recount how I saw “The Expendables”.
I went at night. This is a must if you’re going to a drive-in, which this writer would assert is a must if you’re going to see “The Expendables”. A quick trip to Old Town Goleta is all it takes to reach the West Wind Drive-In, which features the dual benefits of being cheaper than regular theaters and also more fun.
Have you ever snuck “goodies” into a movie theater? Me neither. But if you were to sneak them in, it might be easier to put them in, say, the trunk of your car than your front pocket. I’m not saying that I snuck anything into the movie (remember two sentences ago, when I said I’ve never snuck “goodies” into a movie theater?) but I had some trouble understanding the basic plot.
The explosions and the fight sequences are entertaining on a sober level; with some mood-enhancers (I’m guessing) the action becomes simply mangasmic. There’s not a whole lot left to ask for after viewing this film: you get basketball douchebags, the TX-1000, throwing knives, Jet Li, choppers, drugs and “The Transporter”. This film has it all and so much more.