The Expendables (2010)

On The Sly

Eighties action movies will always hold a special place in cinematic history, their glorious excesses 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’s a little more than that.

Director and co-writer Stallone has certainly rallied the troops; 80s favourites Lundgren, Rourke, Willis and 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

Play The Expendables Trailer
Play The Expendables: Cockpit Clip
Play The Expendables: Boat Gun Fight Clip

Sylvester Stallone, Dolph Lundgren, Jason Statham, Mickey Rourke
Director Sylvester Stallone
Screenplay Sylvester Stallone & Dave Callaham
Certificate 15
Distributor Lionsgate
Running Time 1hr 43mins
Opens August 18

This review was originally published in movieScope #18, available now.