Starting a review by saying "It isn't as bad as I thought it was going to be..." is almost never a good sign. The Expendables may be that rare exception.
Heading into a midnight screening across the street from a college campus, I got an instant sense of the target market -- young men aged 20 to 35 traveling in packs with the rare girlfriend brought along for good measure. For this audience - hungry for action and desperate to see something cool- The Expendables was a perfect fit.
Not surprisingly, the story is pretty simple -- Sylvester Stallone (multitasking as star, writer and director) leads a pack of 'hired guns' into a small-scale ground war in a fictional Caribbean nation. And while most action flicks are content with one leading man, The Expendables throws the kitchen sink at you -- there is quite literally something for everyone.
British bad ass Jason Statham is the knife-chucking Lee Christmas, Stallone's loyal deputy. Along for the ride we've got Jet Li, Randy Couture, Terry Crews (yes, the Old Spice "talking muscles" guy), Mickey Rourke and believe it or not Ivan Drago himself, Dolph Lundgren. And of course, I can't forget the hysterical cameos by Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
There is no pretense of plot nor any attempt to speak to the realities of war - from the opening frames you know what you're getting: Guns! Guts! Bad Guys! Good Guys! and a lot of adrenaline! And if this was the goal, I salute Mr. Stallone on a mission very well accomplished! I found myself joining the crowd in cheering for each of our heroes as the bad guys found ever more creative ways to die. I too eagerly anticipated the next roundhouse kick or well thrown dagger.
If you enjoyed the latest Rambo... If you get excited every time you see that Rocky IV is on cable... Heck, if you've ever killed an hour watching videos on our Shock and Awe page -- then you will love this film.