The Expendables: movie review

Stallone, Rourke, and Li pull out all the stops in ‘The Expendables,’ a team of veteran mercenaries who reunite to bring down a drug operation.

Karen Ballard/Lionsgate Entertainment/AP
From left, Jason Statham, Sylvester Stallone and Randy Couture are shown in a scene from 'The Expendables.'

In another comeback move, Sylvester Stallone directed, co-wrote, and stars in "The Expendables," a band-of-mercenaries flick that’s not much different (in form) from this year’s “The Losers” or “The A Team.”

The plot is straight from the same template: A mysterious stranger (Bruce Willis) hires our heroes to disrupt the drug operation of a rogue CIA agent (Eric Roberts) on a small Caribbean island. The distinguishing feature here is the cast. Stallone’s team includes representatives of several generations of action veterans – Jason Statham (37), Jet Li (46), Dolph Lundgren (52), Mickey Rourke (57), and Stallone himself (63). Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger show up for one scene. (The people of California shouldn’t feel cheated; Arnold needn’t have skipped more than a half-day’s work to film this.)

The opening action sequence, unrelated to the main story, is nicely done, but after that it’s all downhill. Li is barely used – he has one good fight against Lundgren (choreographed by Hong Kong great Corey Yuen) – but the rest of the mayhem is simply ultraviolent, nonstop, and numbing. Better jokes might have helped. Grade: C- (Rated R for strong action and bloody violence throughout, and for some language.)

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