THE EXPENDABLES: 103 minutes/ R
Directed by Sylvester Stallone. With Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li.
Barbara and I have an agreement. If one of us wants to see a film that we know the other would hate, we can either see the film alone or view it with another friend. In this case, while Barbara was off watching her choice (THE SWITCH I think), I got to view the latest Sly Stallone offering, with an old friend of mine and real-life action hero, Frank Dux (the namesake of the movie BLOODSPORT).
Interestingly, the undefeated heavyweight champion of the unsanctioned full-contact bouts was more critical of the film than I was. Though, we both had no trouble sitting through this shallow, tongue-in-cheek explosion fiesta, since the whole film is little more than an hour and a half in length. It takes nearly that long to merely identify all the old action stars who are populating the screen. Stallone definitely made this one for himself, his friends and his die-hard fans. Speaking of Die Hard (for instance) both Bruce Willis and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger have important cameos. Important, that is if, in fact you accept the premise that there is a credible story to begin with. Mr. Dux did not. In fact, his contention was that the, “Story was rather weak and not up to Stallone’s usual standards.”
Luckily, I was not expecting anymore than what I got from this film, a chance to see the old and new stars playing in the same sandbox. Wisely, Sylvester Stalone has not portrayed this flick as anything more than what it is, either. It’s just fun for him and his buddies and he hopes and believes (rightly so, in my opinion) that people will be entertained. He probably was sitting around one night with one of the other film stars and one of them said something like, “Hey, wouldn’t it be great to make a movie with as many action heroes as we can get together.” And the other added, “Too bad Arnold is busy with running a state. It would be perfect if we could get him to do a walk on.” And, so on.
I give this one two binoculars. Frank Dux said he could spare only one.