The Expendables (2010) Tattooed Tough Guys Getting Ready for # 2


The Expendables (2010 film)
The Expendables (2010 film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With The Expendables 2  opening across the UK in August this year, with bigger roles for Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger, and with the news that The Expendables 3 will soon start filming, I’ve decided to take another look at the film that started it all.

The Expendables was directed by Sylvester Stallone who also co-wrote the screenplay with  Dave Callaham.

The hook or draw, if you prefer, was the presence in one film of a lot of tough guy actors from the 80’s and 90’s, famous for playing action-type heroes or bigger than life characters.

The list was long. Sylvester Stallone, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Eric Roberts, Mickey Rourke, as well as relative newcomers  Jason StathamRandy Couture, Steve Austin,  Terry Crews and of course Arnold and Bruce (in uncredited cameos).

The token females were Charisma Carpenter (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel), in what has got to be the worlds shortest cameo, as Stratham’s wishy-washy girlfriend and Giselle Itié is the “love interest” for Stallone’s character.

Stallone and his buddies are mercenaries who, at the start of the film, are rescuing hostages from some Somali pirates.  It is a short scene, designed to show us, the audience, how the group dynamic works and who is really in charge. It also shows us that Dolph Lundgren’s character is not playing with a full deck.

In rapid succession we find that: Gunnar Jensen (Lundgren) is off the team, Lee Christmas (Statham) finds out his girlfriend, now isn’t, and Barney Ross (Stallone) is unhappy with the way his life is going. We also get to meet Tool (Mickey Rourke) the groups tattooist. *on a side note – what a cool name for a character…Tool, just had to mention it.*

English: Mickey Rourke at the 2009 Tribeca Fil...

The guys get hired by Mr Church (Willis) and Ross finds out that his only competition for the job, Trench (Arnie) doesn’t want the job. The group vote on whether to accept the job and Ross and Christmas decide a fact finding mission is in order.This is not a film with great depth or hidden meanings What it does, it does very well. It is an “old fashioned” buddy/action/blockbuster film.

The Expendables is a great big ‘romp’ of a film. It features enough explosions and gunfire to start and win a war in most third world countries. It never at any time takes itself too seriously and it gives us bad guys (Eric Roberts as the supreme bad-ass we love to hate)  who are really bad and his underlings are easy to despise.

Of course the cast list gives us enough bulging muscle that everyone appears to have been vaccinated with steroids at birth. At no time in the film do you ever need to ask, “Where’s the beef?”

But like I said, it is ‘old-fashioned’ the bad guys wear metaphorical black hats, and the good guys with their metaphorical white hats ride in to save the day.

The one disappointment for me was that we didn’t get to see a lot of Jet Li. I am a huge fan, but to be honest, I was not really surprised to see how little he got to do. Hollywood has never really known what to do with Li and it carries over into this film.

I also missed seeing some of the other “80’s and 90’s action men” but that appears to be taken care of in the cast list of The Expendables 2.  The second ‘Expendables’ (in what is apparently becoming a series) will include Jean-Claude Van Damme  , as well as  Chuck Norris.

Charisma Carpenter is coming back for the ride and we can only hope she gets a little more screen time in this one.

Charisma Carpenter at Fan Expo 2007

One thing has been bothering me about the upcoming The Expendables 2. With Chuck Norris on your team surely you don’t need anyone else. Although, he could be batting for the other side, in which case I don’t think Team ‘Expendable’  have enough men.

Deutsch: Chuck Norris

Author: Mike's Film Talk

Former Actor, Former Writer, Former Journalist, USAF Veteran, http://MikesFilmTalk.com Former Member Nevada Film Critics Society

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