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THE EXPENDABLES (2010) ****

Well, it’s the middle of August but the Oscar race is already heating up.  Case in point is The Expendables.  I can already see that there is going to be a bitter three-way struggle in the Best Supporting Actor Category.  Mark my words, when the nominees are announced; the names Dolph Lundgren, Mickey Rourke, and Eric Roberts are going to be brought up.  This is some of the finest acting they’ve done in their lengthy careers.  Dolph has the role of the psycho junkie Expendable who likes to shoot people in half.  This guy plays a tortured bloodthirsty schizoid with a heart of gold better than anybody in the business.  Think James Dean on steroids and that should give you an idea of how legendary a performance we’re talking about here.  Then there’s Mickey Rourke taking a non-action role.  He basically just hands out tattoos and ogles strippers for most of the movie.  That is until he gives a teary-eyed monologue about a suicide victim he failed to save.  This is some of the best Leathery Face Era Rourke acting I’ve seen him give; and I’ve seen The Wrestler, Sin City, and Iron Man 2.  Then there is Eric “I have the Number One movie in the country and not you; so fuck you, Julia” Roberts as the villain.  We’ve seen him be crazier (The Pope of Greenwich Village), slimier (Star 80), and overall more Eric Robertsy (The Best of the Best), but he subtly underplays his menace and keeps enough of that Roberts mojo in the reserve tank for when he really needs it.

 

Yes I know, The Expendables will dominate the male acting categories come awards season, but will it win for Best Picture?  Probably not.  Heck, I don’t even think it’ll get The Video Vacuum Award for Best Flick, but it’s definitely Top Ten material.  Is it flawed?  No, not really.  Unless you count the fact that Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Bruce Willis only have one brief scene together and it doesn’t involve them killing someone and saying funny shit afterwards.  I can forgive that because the scene itself is kinda amusing and has a great punchline.  Other than that there isn’t anything wrong with the flick.  The only critique I can really say is that the film met my expectations; not exceeded them.

 

The Expendables is still an action movie fan’s wet dream.  It features all of your favorite action stars (and even a few lesser names) doing what they do best:  Beating the crap out of each other, shooting motherfuckers left and right, and blowing lots of shit up.  The plot is your standard issue Men-On-a-Mission-to-Overthrow-an-Evil-Dictator stuff.  We’ve seen it all before; but have we seen it with Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture, Eric Roberts, Mickey Rourke, Terry Crews, Stone Cold Steve Austin, and Gary Daniels?  Nope.

 

Yes folks, this is the highest amount of testosterone ever recorded on celluloid at one time.  Women can go see their Eat Pray Love shit this week.  For the guys, it’s all about Shoot Death Kill.

 

This movie gave the movie nerd in me a huge thrill.  Like Freddy vs. Jason and King Kong vs. Godzilla before it, The Expendables lets you know who would win if your favorite movie stars ever fought each other.  In this movie we have Sly wrestling Stone Cold Steve Austin, Stone Cold Steve Austin wrestling Randy Couture, Dolph Lundgren fighting Jet Li, Jet Li fighting Gary Daniels, and Gary Daniels fighting Jet Li AND Jason Statham. 

 

I’m sorry, but if you don’t get fired up while reading the words “Dolph Lundgren fighting Jet Li”, then you’re probably the kind of person that has the cast of Glee on their Facebook friends list.   

 

Stallone films the action in a more or less 80’s manner and only occasionally relies on the shaky cam stuff, which is mucho appreciated.  There’s about every kind of action you can think of:  Shootouts, explosions, car chases, military infiltrations, Kung Fu, wrestling, you name it.  On top of that, the gore is very good.  It never reaches the unattainable heights of Rambo, but we do have decapitated heads, severed hands, bodies blown in half, and lots of juicy knife wounds.  Likewise, The Expendables isn’t quite in the same league as Rambo in terms of overall quality but it’s certainly a worthy addition to Stallone’s filmography.

 

Now all we need is for Arnold to get out of that goddamned Governor’s Mansion so he can hurry up and co-star in Expendables 2 so he, Bruce, and Sly can finally team up and shoot people and say funny shit afterwards like God intended.

 

The Expendables blasts it’s way onto The Video Vacuum Top Ten Films of 2010 list at the Number 3 spot, which places it right above The Runaways and just below Splice.

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