How Sylvester Stallone f*cked up the one thing he's good at: The Rabid One reviews The Expendables, starring Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet-Li, Dolph Lundgren, Steve Austin, etc. (with trailer video)

A ragtag group of renegade warriors (ex-soldiers? cops? crooks? who knows?) blow shit up in the jungle for some reason or another, making wisecracks and winking at the camera all the while. Not much more is explained. And that's all well and good — you likely weren't expecting much else.

[image-1]Sadly, I still couldn't have any fun with The Expendables. I had every intention of turning my brain off and rolling with it, but The Expendables is akin to a made-for-TV movie starring Dean Cain and Angie Harmon. Sylvester Stallone no longer has any business being on screen in any capacity. His attempts to deliver believable dialogue were laughable at best; his lack of emotion took me right out of the action. I could not reasonably sit and say, “Hey, this is a man-tastic, explosion-laden extravaganza,” when what appeared on the screen screamed, “Hey, Stallone is faltering his way through making a really shitty movie!” Perhaps he has no business being on either side of a camera.

As mentioned, the film is a buffet of action stars, past and present. Current action icon Jason Statham does a formidable job of making Stallone seem human. Stone Cold Steve Austin plays a tough for the generic drug lord villain and has some decent fight scenes with Sly and UFC Legend Randy Couture. (Couture shouldn't have been allowed the dialogue he was given.)

Dolph Lundgren pops up from B-movie obscurity and does his best to steal the show. I wouldn't mind seeing him given a few more chances in Hollywood. (Aren't they remaking Masters of the Universe??) Other than that, Mickey Rourke shows up and phones in a monologue that nearly made me insert my armrest directly into my ear canal. The scene from the commercials with Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger is just that, a single scene. Let me recreate it for you:

Stallone: Hey, thanks for doing my movie.

Willis: No problem, Sly, I know I'm getting paid.

Schwarzenegger: Ha, I'm Arnold.

Stallone: Don't worry about selling this, guys, this has little to do with the plot.

Willis: I'm not getting paid for plot. Hey, where's the Tastykakes?

Schwarzenegger: Ha! I'm Arnold, guys!

In the end it turns out that The Expendables is nothing if not expendable.

[Editor's Note: For more reviews of the biggest movies of the summer, check out the Daily Loaf Movie Review Index.]

There's a smugness about Sylvester Stallone's The Expendables that hangs over each rickety shot and wooden line of dialogue. An odd feeling of importance for what would otherwise be a direct-to-DVD release by a long-forgotten action star. Perhaps that air of superiority stems from the film's gimmick of combining multiple action stars of year's past with some new faces, and mixing it with poor directing, editing and plot. I went into The Expendables with the lowest of expectations and still found a way to be utterly disappointed.

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