– . – The Expendables
Eighties action movies will always hold a special place in cinematic history, and their glorious excesses are a continuing influence. But although it’s been hyped as 2010’s biggest movie, there was always the possibility that The Expendables would be nothing more than an exercise in nostalgia. Luckily, it proves to be rather more than that.
Director and co-writer Stallone has certainly rallied the troops; 80s favourites Dolph Lundgren, Mickey Rourke, Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger all turn up in roles of varying size. Stallone has also recruited reigning action king Statham for this story of a group of mercenaries who head to South America to overthrow a ruthless dictator.
The narrative is simply a thread on which to hang various set-pieces, and it’s explosive stuff; Stallone has thrown everything from airplane combat to exploding buildings into the mix. In between there are moments of genuine pathos, as Stallone and Rourke in particular discuss the past, the future and their own mortality, which gives the film a genuine sense of self. Bold, brash and utterly insane, The Expendables is nothing more—or less—than old-school summer entertainment. 3 stars