Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Acceptables

The Expendables is famous for putting a ton of action movie heroes together for the first time, including Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger in the same scene. This isn't just stunt casting.

Sly heads up a mercenary band that includes Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren and some other guys. Their headquarters is in Mickey Rourke's tattoo parlor. One day, Bruce Willis comes to them with a business proposition. He tries to get Schwarzenegger involved, but he declines. That is the famous Stallone/Willis/Schwarzenegger scheme. Remember when I said it wasn't stunt casting? I lied.

The gig is to take out a South American dictator. The hitch is, he has a really cute daughter who is also trying to take him out. He also has Stone Cold Steve Austin working for him.

So, a lot of fighting, shooting, blowing things up. Stallone rockin' the beret, Rourke in a cowboy hat. Some in-jokes that I probably missed, like Randy Couture fighting Austin - did they have some professional grudge, or am I just guessing?

Mostly fun, but the dictator's daughter gets waterboarded - I know, this isn't torture when Americans do it, but these are South Americans. Or wait, it's the CIA, so it's OK. Hold on, it's rogue CIA; does that make it torture or is it still OK? Anyway, I thought the waterboarding scene was way too extreme, and morally confusing. I wish they'd left it out.

I haven't listed all of the kick-ass stars in this movie, but I'll drop a hint - mostly it's just Sly and Statham. And Statham doesn't really do much. Jet Li is totally wasted in a comic role as a small guy who wants more money, because he has to fight harder than the big guys. His big fight is not the best in the movie.

Honestly, this is about as good as most supergroup movies are - this one has TEN action hero stars, it must be 10x better than any other action movie. In fact, it's pretty uneven. They could have done as well with Stallone and 9 random stunt guys, with maybe a cameo or two, like Willis and Schwarzenegger. But it doesn't matter.

In conclusion, you already know if you want to see this. In fact, you probably already did, or never will. As for me, I've started adding Stallone movies to my queue.

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