TMP Review: ‘The Expendables’ will have you reliving the 80s

The Expendables offers a wide array of cast and talent, but all hopes and dreams of the movie did not live up to the hype.

I had the pleasure and honor to capture this much talked about film at a Tuesday prescreening in Frisco, TX. I couldn’t imagine how much potential this movie could have as I sat and waited for the doors to open. When I walked into the theater and as it filled up, I was quite shocked to see that it was not fully packed. I have been to numerous pre-screenings and every single theater was packed to the brim. This should have been my first red flag.

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The Expendables beholds a story of mercenaries offered a deal by the ‘agency’ (you know when the government doesn’t want to get their hands dirty, so they seek help from outside sources). The agency requests their help to take down an out of control leader. Declining the offer, somehow Stallone and his group of men are lured to the island to play the typical ‘good guy rescues hot woman from the bad guy.’

I anticipated larger roles for Rourke instead of playing just the tattoo artist. Appearances by our California governator was short lived as well as our Die Hard hero. Every action hero known to man had a role in this movie. Too bad they couldn’t have left them in a bit longer to enhance the film.

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It is without a doubt that Stallone pushed each swing of a blade or gun shot to the max, as the gore was quite intense especially in the beginning. It had the audience gasping and murmuring at a few of the scenes. Towards the end of the movie, it looked like budget issues might have arisen because the fire sequences looked anything but plausible. Now the explosions were entertaining, but I felt like I had taken a huge step back into the 1980s industry. I’m an avid fan of intense action thrillers but the last 10-20 minutes did not capture my attention. It did not have the power and intensity as it displayed earlier in the film. You see a strong beginning; you anticipate a stronger and better end. Sadly, The Expendables failed on that end.

The script had the theater rolling in their seats, as at some points throughout the film there were personal jabs of the character’s real life situations or issues. Stallone and Callaham definitely receive two thumbs up for the laugh factor.

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There was one element in the film that was less impressive and could end up in you missing some key lines. Either I am suffering from loss of hearing or the volume of the voices was horrific. Combining it with the other sound elements within the movie, it just made it a competition to hear the mutterings of Stallone and Statham. Then good luck trying to understand Jet Li – the entire film oozed it. Perhaps it was to accent the effectiveness of the characters as these nonchalant, crime-fighting mercenaries but if so, please adjust audio accordingly!

Overall, The Expendables had its ups and downs. The title was quite perfect for the movie because after watching it that is exactly how I felt about it – expendable. Granted, if you love 80’s action films (Rambo) and the idea behind them, then this is definitely your movie.