Action heroes. Tough guys that are able to defeat whole armies without any help, drive fast cars and always have beautiful women around them. The eighties and beginning of the nineties have produced a lot of action movies and a lot of stars. I grew up watching a lot of Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone movies. Besides that I loved the martial arts movies starring Jean-Claude van Damme, Steven Seagal and Eric Roberts (Best of the Best). The were all “high adrenaline” movies which usually didn’t have great stories, but they made up for it with lots of action scenes. Over the years these type of movies have become less popular and there don’t seem to be as many of them made anymore.
The stories have become a lot better, but the fun seems to have disappeared. Of course action movies are still being made (just think Salt, Bourne trilogy or the James Bond movies), but it all has become a lot more serious. I was trying to think if there any current action stars that are comparable to the earlier ones. I couldn’t think of many, the only actors that still seem to make these type of movies are Dwayne Johnson (although he’s been doing a lot more comedy/family movies) and Jason Statham.
Fortunately Stallone also saw that the genre was lacking when it comes to this type of movie and decided to make one. To make sure that the fans of these type of movies would see it he had the great idea to ask the big stars of eighties and nineties (and also recent ones) to star in his movie. The number of actors that said yes has been very high and when you see them, you’d almost think this isn’t the cast of an actual movie. Dolph Lundgren, Eric Roberts, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Mickey Rourke, Randy Couture, Steve Austin, Sylvester Stallone, Terry Crews, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis (these last two only act in one scene) are all in the Expendables. It’s not surprising that I was looking forward to seeing it. My expectation was very high when I saw the cast, but at the same time I wasn’t expecting a great story, which to be honest is pretty standard for high testosterone movies.
The movie did meet my expectations story wise. The story was not very good, but then it doesn’t need to be. The only thing that’s important is that there must be a reason to blow everything and everyone up. The setup for this is good, just take a non-existent island with a dictator on it and you are ready to go. The action scenes are spectacular with lots of explosions and shooting. The humour is present as well, although they could have cranked that up a bit.
There is one scene in which the 3 biggest action stars (Stallone, Willis, Schwarzenegger) appear together on the screen for the first time and that really was a special moment. It was also fun to see them making fun of each other, just like Schwarzenegger and Stallone used to do in their own movies.
If you like action movies, the Expendables is a movie which you’ll just have to see. I don’t regret seeing it, even though my expectation were too high. There is a lot of action, but especially in the beginning it felt disconnected, something was missing. Towards the end though the action scenes gripped me and it gave me the rollercoaster ride I was looking for. There is already talk about a second Expendables movie and I’m sure that I will see it, no matter what the story is. If it has a cast like this and enough fights and explosions I’ll be statistfied. The score for this type of action movie is irrelevant if you are a fan, just head to the cinema.