Okay so the Netflix experiment got off to a fortunate start, or so I thought. I followed my rules explicitly and stumbled across, The Expendables. Although the idea of this was to bring you something you might not necessarily watch, I myself had not seen it even though I had a rough idea of how it was going to pan out. I wasn’t surprised but I was sadly disappointed.
The story centres around a ragtag bunch of mercenaries known as the ‘Expendables’ led by Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone). A CIA Agent by the name of Church (Bruce Willis) hires the ‘Expendables’ to depose of a Latin despot and his puppet master James Munroe (Eric Roberts) an ex CIA agent.
General Garza’s (David Zayas) dictatorship is financed by Munroe who requires Garza’s army to protect his interest in the cocoa plantations on the island of Vilena. The mission is disguised as an operation to overthrow General Garza but it is later revealed that the main target is Munroe after he went rogue from the CIA.
Sylvester Stallone’s direction does show a hint of ambition but it takes itself far too seriously. The acting is wooden and each role is played by an actor who is used to starring as the lead in their own movies. Jason Statham recognised from The Transporter franchise. Even Satallone appears uncomfortable sharing the camera time in his own film. Although central to the plot Bruce Willis stars as a cameo and Arnold Schwarzenegger makes an appearance. But the whole film seems focused on relaunching ageing action stars’ careers.
For an action flick it doesn’t do anything out of the ordinary, if something goes wrong we can rest assured the heroes will save the day. There are attempts to make the characters seem more human. Statham has an ongoing relationship, even Jet Li’s character, Yin Yang (don’t get me started) tries to convince the team he has a family. Gunner Jensen (Dolph Lundgren) betrays his team seemingly because of a drug addiction and sets about killing Ross under the orders of Munroe. But as with all stereotypical action films no one dies and they all live happily ever after.
As soon as I realised that my first random Netflix movie was The Expendables I knew what to expect so I wasn’t worried that I wasn’t going to enjoy it. Having now seen it I would unfortnantely have to advise you Avoid this one. Even if you love easy to watch action movies the only thing this film had going for it was the cast. Without this cast I can’t imagine this film would have made as much money as it managed, costing roughly $80 million it made a gross box office income of $103 million by October 2010. Other than paying the actors I can’t really see where the money went.