I know what you’re saying: “Uh, Ronnie — this opened last week.”
Yes, I know. I was out of town last week, remember? I was going to just skip it until I had a look at this week’s offerings:
*”Nanny McPhee Returns,” aka “Ugly Mary Poppins Returns.” I didn’t see the original so I didn’t bother with the return as I feared I would be too far behind the plot.
* “The Switch,” a comedy about Jennifer Aniston and sperm donors. I almost went to see this but Kiran had to leave town early. Thankfully.
* “Lottery Ticket.” After seeing the trailers the odds of me sitting through this are as good as me winning at Powerball.
*”Piranha 3D.” I might have gone to see this if it had been screened, but it wasn’t.
*”Vampires Suck,” aka “The Most Pointless Movie Ever Made.” You can’t make a parody movie about vampire movies and use “Twilight” as your base. “Twilight” is a parody of vampire movies. Isn’t it? I’m not supposed to take it seriously, am I?
So as you can see, Sly and company were looking very, very good to me. Besides, so what if the review is a week late? It’s not like you people get up on Friday morning and base your movie-going plans around my opinion. You’re not here for consumer protection, you’re here for the witless commentary, right?
As I’m sure you know by now, “The Expendables” is Sylvester Stallone’s all-star tribute to ’80s action movies. Stallone stars as Barney Ross, leader of a badass team of mercenaries (as opposed to the wimpass mercenaries you typically see in movies).
After taking down some Somali pirates in bloody style, Barney takes an assignment from a mystery man (Bruce Willis) to assassinate a South American dictator. General Garza (David Zayas) happens to be in cahoots with ruthless former CIA agent James Munroe (Eric Roberts) and together they’re making a killing in the drug trade.
And that’s all you need to know. Barney and his crack team — knife guy Lee Christmas (Jason Statham), martial arts guy Yin Yang (Jet Li), loose cannon Gunner Jensen (Dolph Lundgren), the professor and Mary Ann — blow stuff up, shoot large guns and rescue the spunky, beautiful damsel in distress (Giselle Itié).
This all-star testosterone fest also includes Mickey Rourke as Barney’s mentor, Steve Austin as Munroe’s right-hand man, Charisma Carpenter (who I’m only mentioning because I loved her in “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”) and Arnold Schwarzenegger in an entertaining but utterly pointless cameo.
“The Expendables” is pretty much what it promises — no more, no less. If you remember the action movies of the ’80s this will feel very familiar. It’s violent, sometimes gory, oftentimes explosive, goofy and dumb. There’s plenty of classic rock and corny one-liners. Stallone and Statham make a good buddy team.
The film’s biggest flaw comes during the big final beat down, which takes place at night where it’s hard to tell who’s fighting who and who’s shooting who. But then clarity isn’t really that important with this kind of movie, is it?
Did it work for me? Of this summer’s mercenary trilogy, I thought “The Expendables” was more enjoyable than “The Losers” or “The A-Team.” Probably more due to the fun of seeing all these action stars together than due to any level of actual quality.
Did I say witless? I meant witty. I need an editor.