The Expendables

Posted by ron On August - 11 - 2010

Sly hangs onto dear life in the Expendables, a throwback to beefcake 80s gun porn the perfect film for D-Box theatres.

The Expendables attempted to revive 80s Republican cinema with the very man who helped institute the Reagan era of musclebound gun porn and American invincibility. From a lost era Sylvester Stallone returned as the last American action hero to deliver one big box office bang for Hollywood. Unfortunately he didn’t bring Governor Schwarzenegger and Carl Weathers along for the ride. Instead, he brought in the tweener action heroes like Terry Crews, Jet Li, and Jason Statham with Bruce Willis in the background. Like tax breaks to the American middle class, the Expendables squandered its opportunities to deliver its nostalgic brand of pornography. It was a makeshift film with pieces of an action film that didn’t satisfy the blood lust of many prior one liner money shots. In having failed to do so, there was no sense of nostalgia but more of a reminder of why Sylvester Stallone’s legacy was one that deserved to stay in the past.

The 80s action film formula emphasized slightly homoerotic testosterone injected action that was reminiscent of choreography in American professional wrestling entertainment. That is to say, the protagonist and antagonist traded one sided blows in a sea saw battle. The traditionally topless oiled up muscle bound men rolled around in grimy surfaces with other muscle bound men as explosions go off in the distance. The climax of the physical bravado was always highlighted by a catch phrase or one liner and a spectacular death as the coupe de grace. It was an excessive form of entertainment.

American audiences will still enjoy this form of ridiculous contest of manly men trying to one up each other in feats of implausible skill and survival. They will enjoy the one-thall showdowns: Jet Li vs. Dolph Lundgren and Sly vs. Steve Austin. However one wonders if the use of muscle men as real life super heroic stuntmen is still relevant today? Sophisticated digital cameras, the blue screen, and Hong Kong high wire choreographed fights have changed action films in cinema. The audience has already accepted that an anorexic woman can jump from a speeding car, slide down a rooftop, and grab onto the side of a truck without one scratch. What was once an exclusive club to the physically endowed has become available to anyone. While modern times won’t diminish the feat of the Expendables, it has already made it appear dated.

The physical feats and complexity of the Expendables are worth appreciating as a dying repetitive art form of extreme violence. True to form, It also suffered from a lot of same flaws as its predecessors. Bad acting, empty dialogue, and an implausible plot never failed to take the viewer out of the movie. Worse, it may have crippled the overall enjoyment of the film, something that Rambo, Commando, or Action Jackson never did.

In my die hard appreciation of George Thorogood’s one Bourbon, one Scotch, one Beer I rated the Expendables an old stand by beer that didn’t disappoint but never quenched by thirst. 


18 Responses to “The Expendables”

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  6. Averi says:

    I surely loved the movie, it was greatly refreshing and quite some movies ago i’ve seen such brilliant dialogs!

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  12. machete says:

    It was good, but barely worth the price. :(

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