For many weeks I have anticipated what it’s like to finally watch The Expendables, but when I had the chance, I told myself, “Oh my, Stallone blew it off!”
Sad to say, I didn’t enjoy it as much as I expected I would. The thought of an all star cast action film with 80’s action heroes only flamed our expectations for a kick-ass movie but the thing is, the movie couldn’t stir me with just pure spectacle alone. The absence of a clear cut plot and emotional exploration for the characters are really disappointing. It goes on without saying that the movie cannot push through without a little hint of “frisson” at all. The movie is not monumental, it’s just a good excuse to waste time, to eat popcorn for more than an hour’s worth.
So here are some of the things I would like to point out in this movie:
1. The movie started right, with a little hint of tension on the character of Gunner played by Dodge Lundgren. The fact is, the movie didn’t put a special emphasis on this tension, and it’s not a surprise that anyone would just shrug it off later.
2. Has anyone noticed Gunner’s character initially resembled Sgt. Barnes’ character from Platoon (which was played by Tom Berenger)? I thought that was awesome at first. I just hope the movie developed Gunner’s character more. I just couldn’t accept that a compromise in the end (between Gunner and the rest of the gang) could be made as easy as that.
3. I know this is silly but Stallone’s eyelashes bothered me all through out the movie. Well, that’s my problem though. And by the way, I like the soundtrack of the movie.
4. More than anyone else, I expected Bruce Willis and Mickey Rourke to participate in the action scenes. Unfortunately, this didn’t happen, and I came into conclusion that Willis and Rourke only have cameo roles. The same goes for Schwarzenegger who appeared in the film in a grand, mysterious and angelic entrance but then he eclipsed away in the same scene and I haven’t seen him for the rest of the movie.
5. I’m used to seeing Mickey Rourke in the spotlight. I mean, I knew that Mickey had already experienced a career death sort of, a fade to black screen spotlight in the past, but no one can still deny the fact that Hollywood is not yet done with this man – after all he was awesome in Body Heat, Angel Heart, Barfly, The Wrestler and even in Iron Man 2. But in The Expendables, Mickey Rourke’s presence was brewing with on-screen machismo – but how could he just sit there doing some tattoo sessions when he should be participating in the real action? Mickey Rourke was just there as a receptacle for Stallone’s sentiments, to which Rourke related to his own by sharing his own account of his previous war experience.
6. My favorite character is Gunner but I would also give credit to Jason Statham. After all, there’s something sexy about blades and knives. Why is that?
7. The film is actually a very violent one – it made Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds too soft for me. I don’t have anything against violence in films – it’s just that for me, violence can be compromised if it would bring catharsis to the spectators. If you know what I mean.
8. I thought the dialogues are kinda corny and cheesy and at some point, too contrived.
9. When you come to think of it, although the movie is full of action and spectacle – there is really no action in terms of plot structure. No movement that is brought about by an event, no turning point or critical awareness of what’s going on. Anyone would just root for the film for the next stunt of action, and there’s no anticipation of what would happen next to the plot or character.
10. Other characters are forgettable; they play cameo roles on their own.
Anyone would go straight to the theaters knowing that there is a reunion of big action stars in the movie The Expendables. However this is not the kind of movie that could kick ass. It does not remind me of the grandeur of the cast’s previous movies. Meanwhile, to recover from such experience, I have to watch the 80s films to recall their heydays.