The 1980s was a good period for a select few of muscle-bound actors. Films like Die Hard, The Terminator and Rocky dominated the box office and the age of the action hero was in full swing. Move a decade on and these men found themselves on the outskirts of the A-List looking in at the more sensitive heroes of the late 1990s, however two decades and these men found themselves riding a nostalgia kick that has kept them in the mainstream and the culmination of this movement was The Expendables
Reading like a Who’s Who is the great heroes of yesteryear, The Expendables sees a team of ex-military, bikers and general mercenaries hired to infiltrate a Somalian pirate camp and stop them executing hostages. The Expendables, includes Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone), Lee Christmas (Jason Statham), Yin Yang (Jet Li), Gunnar Jensen (Dolph Lundgren), Hale Caesar (Terry Crews) and Toll Road (Randy Couture), the mission is a success but Nelsen is removed from duty due to psychological problems. Ross meets with Mr. Church (Bruce Willis) and bids for a job against Trench (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and wins, sending the team to the island of Vilena for an undercover reconnaissance mission that goes bad, resulting in them having to fight their way across the island.
The Expendables is a fun film, would be an understatement. Any fan of 1980s action films will find plenty of biceps, guns and explosions to keep them occupied for entirety of the film. Anyone expecting plot, characters or depth will be sorely disappointed. What is a real shame, is just how much of a missed opportunity The Expendables is. Assembling almost every iconic hero form the 1980s (save for Steven Seagal, Chuck Norris and Jean-Claude Van Damme) in one film should’ve been a balls-out thrill ride, but terrible pacing and woeful, unimaginative dialogue really hampers the enjoyment.
Despite the problems with the structure, there’s plenty of fun to be had from hardcore action film lover, for everyone else the loud noises and hit-and-miss levels of banter between the main stars will quickly become an annoyance and one that will get progressively worse as time passes.