Sylvester Stallone writes, directs and stars in this old-school actioner, alongside familiar faces of the action genre (and/or the B-flick scene), and contrary to expectations, it's not a bad movie. Stallone has always walked a thin line between being a decent writer ("Rocky"), and a really horrible one ("Driven"), but now in his sixties, he seems to have found new inspiration. After expanding the Rocky and Rambo franchises in 2006 and 2007 with the first decent movies since the first ones in both series, 2010's "The Expendables" feels like a nostalgic throwback to the glory days of mindless cinematic carnage and mayhem.
Sly stars as Barney Ross, a mercenary wih a heart, who takes on one last mission before retirement. The objective : overthrow a South American dictator. A walk in the park, he thinks, until he realizes there's more to it than first meets the eye. Helped by a young rebel, Sandra, they scout out the island, but end up getting chased off, while the woman gets left behind at the hands of the merciless troops. Filled with remorse, he can no longer remain uninvolved, so he gathers his team for one last shot at redemption.
Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Eric Roberts, Mickey Rourke and cameos from Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Now that is quite a line-up. Indeed, the movie seems more like a publicity stunt than an actual cinematic release, but Stallone's focused direction ensures a satisfying thrill ride. It's chock-full of cliches, and thin on character developement (and Dolph Lundgren still can't act to save his life), but the whole nostalgic vibe and wall-to-wall action scenes keep this 90 minute frag-fest on track.
"The Expendables" is crafty, undemanding entertainment, that should appeal to the action crowd. Squeamish types beware, though, this movie contains considerable amounts of gore, not as much as the last "Rambo", but still enough to make some of you walk away.