Sheer treat for all those who are sucker for action. Without doubts, ‘The Expendables’ has the ‘the toughest crew of the century’, which essentially is but an exercise in nostalgia for the bygone era of muscled, macho action superstars.
Sylvester Stallone, the director, co-writer and actor, has said he set out to make a movie "with brains and brawn, not modern technology."
So, prepare yourself for the real hardcore stuff with an army of men adept at chopping heads, blowing up palaces and flying seaplanes.
Stallone is Barney Ross, the leader of a group of mercenaries who are played by most of the remaining defenders of high body count, testosterone-filled action: the British action star Jason Statham (blade expert Lee Christmas), the Chinese martial artist Jet Li (as Yin Yang), WWE wrestler Steve Austin (Paine), ultimate fighter Randy Couture (Toll Road), former NFL player and Old Spice commercial actor Terry Crews (as the absurdly named Hale Caesar) and Dolph Lundgren, famously the Russian boxer Ivan Drago from the ‘Rocky’ films (as the loose cannon Gunner Jensen).
Besides them, the action lineup also includes cameos from Bruce Willis (as a contractor) and Arnold Schwarzenegger (as a rival mercenary). Schwarzenegger makes a brief appearance, entering through a light-soaked doorway like an action film angel. The scene is but for laughs for as Arnie exits after a verbal mêlée with others, Willis` character wonders what his problem is, while Barney wryly replies: "He wants to be president."
Anyways, the crew is hired out to storm the fictional Caribbean island of Vilena, where a corrupt general (the usually comedic David Zayas) and a villainous, rogue CIA agent (the well chosen Eric Roberts) are in power. The general`s daughter (Giselle Itie) is leading a resistance, and she quickly becomes a focal point of the mission.
The director (Stallone himself) does not waste time on character introduction (forget development), so there is no doubt Stallone enjoys more screen space than the others.
The characters have not been properly introduced, probably screenplay writers (David Callaham and yes Stallone again!) thought that as a not-so-manly thing to do.
The action is razor-sharp and top class. Choppers, long-barrelled guns, private seaplane and the tagline ‘Choose your weapons’ evoke envy. Brain Tyler’s music lends a hand to the fast pace of the film with at least 20 original songs. One of the film’s trailers even uses the Guns N’ Roses classic ‘Paradise City’.
Action buffs will go crazy with the scorching star cast but the faint-hearted better stay away from all the gore and blood.
Rating: Two cheers for this one!