I love when a movie comes out and I know exactly what I will get out of it. Take today’s movie for instance. When I first saw this movie, I knew that I would be getting a “metric fuck ton” (pardon my language) of non-stop over the top action. No need for an intricate plot. No worrying that I might miss some key scene that would explain the whole movie. Just a lot of bullets, blades, fights and explosions. Then again, considering the actors involved, I don’t think you could expect anything less from today’s movie, The Expendables.
The plot: Barney Ross, Lee Christmas, Yin Yang, Gunner Jensen, Toll Road, and Hale Ceasar are an elite group of mercenaries known as The Expendables. They are sent out on a mission off the coast of Somalia to negotiate with some pirates that are holding hostages but Gunner shoots the pirate leader while Barney is trying to negotiate with him, causing a fire fight to erupt. When the fight is over, Gunner is seen trying to hang a pirate and Barney tells him to stop but when he doesn’t stop, Yin attacks him and Barney is forced to break up the fight between the two and kick Gunner off the team. When they get back to their base of operations in New Orleans, Christmas goes to see his girlfriend Lacy to propose to her only to find that she has started seeing someone else. Barney goes to see a tattoo artist named Tool, who is also a former member of the team and sets up meetings for their clients. As Tool is finishing a tattoo on Barney, Christmas shows up, still upset over his girlfriend, which causes him to miss the target when he has a knife throwing contest with Tool. Meanwhile, on the Island of Vilena, General Garza, the dictator in charge, is interrogating some prisoners when one of them is shot by James Munroe, an ex-CIA agent, and Garza quickly shoots the others. Back in the states, Barney meets with a man named Mr. Church and they are joined by Trench Mauser, head of a rival mercenary group. When Church starts to talk about the mission, Trench passes on the mission and Barney negotiates $5 million to take the job. As Barney prepares to meet with the others, Gunner talks to him and asks to be taken back on the team but Barney says he can’t trust him so Gunner leaves, warning Barney to be careful. After explaining the mission to the others, Barney and Christmas head to the island for recon, unaware that Gunner has stowed away on the plane. As they make their way through the city to meet with their contact, they see several soldiers escorting a car carrying Munroe and his enforcer, Paine, and Christmas takes video of them. They meet with Sandra, their contact, and she drives them out to where the palace is but on the way, Barney and Christmas argue about Lacy and Christmas ends up getting out of the truck and walking off. When they get to the edge of the palace, Barney sees the defenses and realizes that the money is not worth the risk and plans on leaving but before they can, some of Garza’s soldiers approach them and it is revealed that Sandra is Garza’s daughter. Christmas saves her from being shot and he and Barney proceed to kill the soldiers, then head back for the plane, planning on taking Sandra with them. As Munroe, Paine, and Garza’s soldiers chase after them, Christmas get’s the plane ready while Barney takes out the port guards but Sandra refuses to leave. They take off but Barney decides to turn around and fire back at the soldiers, then dumps some of his auxiliary fuel onto the dock and Christmas fires a flare to ignite it, blowing up the dock. When they get back, Christmas goes to see Lacy and notices a bruise on her face so he takes her with him as he goes to confront her new boyfriend, easily beating up him and his friends and showing Lacy what he does for a living. Barney goes to see Tool and tells him about Sandra and her staying behind and Tool proceeds to tell him a similar story about a girl he saw attempting to commit suicide and his not helping her, and having that girl’s death haunt him which is why he left the team. Back on Vilena, Sandra is captured and brought back to the palace, where Munroe has Paine and The Brit proceed to torture her for information but Garza stops them. Back in the states, Barney tells Christmas and Yin that he is going back to Vilena to rescue Sandra and is going alone. Christmas leaves but Yin gets in his truck to go with him. As they are driving, they are attacked by some men led by Gunner and after taking out all of the men during that chase, they end up crashing in a warehouse. Gunner gets out of his truck and proceeds to fight with Yin but when he gets the upper hand and is about to kill him, Barney shoots him, then approaches him and asks who hired him. Barney and Yin head to the plane to find Christmas, Caesar, and Toll waiting for them and they fly off to Vilena. The team make it onto the palace grounds and separate, with Barney going to look for Sandra while the others proceed to plant explosives around the palace. Inside the palace, Munroe and Garza argue, as Garza believes that Munroe was working with the Expendables to kill him. Barney finds Sandra and saves her from being raped but they are captured by Paine and Garza’s men, and Sandra is taken to Garza while Paine proceeds to interrogate Barney. The rest of the team shows up to save Barney and proceeds to fight with the Brit and Garza’s men while Barney chases down Paine and fights with him. Paine manages to beat Barney but leaves when he sees the rest of the team has managed to kill The Brit and Garza’s soldiers. The Expendables find themselves trapped by the rest of Garza’s troops and Garza is giving his soldiers a speech when Munroe kills him, then takes Sandra and prepares to leave with her and Paine. Barney detonates the explosives once they see Sandra is out of the palace, then the team proceeds to kill the rest of the soldiers. Toll fights with Paine and manages to kill him by setting him on fire while Barney and Caesar blow up Munroe’s escape helicopter. Munroe escapes into the jungle with Barney chasing after him and when Munroe threatens to kill Sandra, Barney shoots him just as Christmas throws a knife through his chest. The next day, The Expendables prepare to leave and Barney gives Sandra his share of the money, telling her to use it to help rebuild her country. The team meet back at Tool’s and are joined by Gunner, who has healed up and is welcomed back onto the team. Tool and Christmas proceed to have another knife throwing contest, which Christmas wins when he proceeds mock Tool with a poem as he walks out of the building before throwing his knife into the bulls-eye from outside the shop.
The Expendables met with mixed reviews from the critics, holding a 41% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is that, “It makes good on the old-school action it promises, but given all the talent on display, The Expendables should hit harder.” The movie marked the first time that Stallone, Schwarzenegger, and Willis all appeared in the same movie together, though they were once all business partners in the Planet Hollywood restaurant/casino chain. The movie was a box office hit, earning $274.5 million off of a $82 million budget but it also wound up being nominated for a Razzie for Worst Director.
This was everything I expected it to be and equally as enjoyable. The acting was pretty good, with Stallone (Barney) and Statham (Christmas) doing great jobs and also showing the most character development. The scene with Stallone, Schwarzenegger, and Willis was pretty funny, especially some of the lines and references to other characters or real life events in their lives. The story was pretty basic and simplistic in scope but that was essentially all it needed to be. The special effects regarding the gun fights and explosions were pretty over the top at times, which made for a lot of enjoyment but the normal fight scenes, such as Steve Austin fighting Stallone and later Randy Couture, as well as Jet Li and Dolph Lundgren or Jason Statham fighting Lacy’s boyfriend and his friends were all very well choreographed. If you are in the mood to relax and turn off your brain and just enjoy some senseless action and violence, then this is definitely worth watching.
Rating: 4 out of 5