Nine Thoughts on The Expendables

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1. The Expendables was written by Sylvester Stallone. It was also directed by Sylvester Stallone. Sylvester Stallone is the star of the film. Often, the camera lingers on Stallone's bee-stung pout as he attempts to squeeze emotions out of it. He saves the girl. He fights really well. In addition to writing, directing, acting, pouting, fighting, and saving, he also appears to have done his own plastic surgery—and possibly Mickey Rourke's as well. I mean, really, is there anything Stallone can't do?

2. YES: running. The man cannot run. He runs like a big fucking yak shot with a tranquilizer dart. He runs a lot in The Expendables. It is a terrible sight to behold.

3. The Expendables cast is an action-hero supergroup, like the Traveling Wilburys, or that time the Jetsons met the Flintstones (WHICH WAS BONKERS, BY THE WAY). Stallone plays Barney Ross, the leader of a group of topless-dudes-for-hire that includes Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Jet Li, Mickey Rourke, Terry Crews, and someone named Randy Couture, who, according to my research, is like a nude wrestler or something. Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger technically appear, for a span of time not perceptible to the human eye. "Stone Cold" Steve Austin should really have his neck veins examined by a physician. Eric Roberts stars as the villain, a former CIA agent turned evil cocaine kingpin.

4. I am not convinced that this is not a documentary about Eric Roberts's actual life.

5. Kurt Russell, tragically, is nowhere to be found.

6. Banter:

Schwarzenegger: "Why don't we have deenah?"

Stallone: "Sure. When?"

Schwarzenegger: "In 1,000 yeeahs!"

7. Stallone initially tried to cast Jean-Claude Van Damme in the Lundgren role, but Van Damme turned him down because he thought the character was insubstantial. Van Damme is all about substance. Van Damme suggested that instead of making silly action movies, Stallone should "be trying to save people in South Central." Then Stallone killed Van Damme and wore his teeth as a necklace and cooked his body in a big stew, which he fed to the people of South Central. "You're welcome," he said.


9. Immediately after the Expendables screening, I rode the elevator to the parking garage with a group of gentlemen in their early 20s. Instead of conversing, they just stood there and made explosion and gunfire sounds at each other. "KPSSSSSSHHHHH!" "DOOOZZZHHHHHHH!" "BAP-BAP-BAP-BAP-BAP." "BVVVVV! BVVVVV! BVVVV!" That is the best distillation of this movie that I can offer. From Stallone's brain to theirs to mine to yours. recommended


Comments (17) RSS

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danhowes 1
This looks like the gayest movie since Top Gun.
Posted by danhowes on August 11, 2010 at 1:08 PM · Report this
I was wondering why JCVD wasn't in this.
Posted by Gloria on August 11, 2010 at 1:18 PM · Report this
This is going to be awesome. Fuck you, Stranger Snobs.
Posted by OldGuyFox on August 13, 2010 at 10:57 AM · Report this
Wow, How did I know that The Stranger would focus their review on everything but the movie. It stars Ivan Drago, Marion Cobretti, Damon, Chev Chelios, Wong Fei Hung, Harry Angel, John Matrix, John McClain and Alexander Grady.What did you fucking expect? Citizen Kane? Also, If you can not name the movies those characters are from then perhaps you are not the most qualified to review this movie. Jus Sayin...
Posted by chriscab on August 13, 2010 at 3:18 PM · Report this
Nathaniel Irons 5
@4: That's "McClane". And Marion is a girl's name. And Jackie Chan, for all his late-career goofiness, still definitively owns the name Wong Fei-Hung. Not much in Jet Li's oeuvre compares with the blooper reel at the end of Drunken Master II.

Also, @3, snobs isn't capitalized.
Posted by Nathaniel Irons on August 13, 2010 at 4:23 PM · Report this
McWhogivesafuckhowitsspelled. Jet Li was in "Hero" nuff said. If the female spelling of "Marion" is upsetting you so much take it up with James D.Brubaker, The executive producer of "Cobra" because M-a-r-i-o-n is how his fucking name is spelled.
Posted by chriscab on August 13, 2010 at 5:55 PM · Report this
and I laughed, and laughed, and laughed. laughed until the paper in my hands was furiously blotted with large tear-drops. thank you lindy, that was superb--so many levels of hilarity
Posted by ibex on August 13, 2010 at 8:39 PM · Report this
Reverse Polarity 8
This review is far more entertaining than the movie probably is. Even the trailer looked boring.
Posted by Reverse Polarity on August 13, 2010 at 10:57 PM · Report this
@3,4, and 6. I was unaware that having been 12 years old at some point in the late 80's was a qualification for reviewing films.

I guess my biggest issue w/ action films, which I have loved from said age, is that they contain no new information, and rely instead on more bullets and blood, less story or acting or filmaking. Rambo IV would be a perfect example. Can anybody tell me why the evil general was tossing babies into burning huts?

On the other hand, why was The Limey so good? The story is equally simple, but there was some focus on developing characters that made sense to normal human beings like me. And when the hero killed a dude, he did it by shooting him once or twice, or throwing him over a railing, not using a metric ton of C4 make his jeep flip over 5 times.
Posted by Chris Jury on August 16, 2010 at 1:14 PM · Report this
@5: "And Jackie Chan, for all his late-career goofiness, still definitively owns the name Wong Fei-Hung."

Posted by Gloria on August 17, 2010 at 6:05 AM · Report this
The grotesque face of Sylvester Stallone actually makes me queasy. He will forever be my beloved Rocky, but I can't bear to look at him anymore...
Who butchers these mens' faces!?!
Posted by visitor100 on August 17, 2010 at 3:42 PM · Report this
Russell turned the movie down when it was offered to him, saying he doesn't "do" ensemble films at this point in his career. Ok then, screw you too, Russell - but where the hell is Carl Weathers when you really need him?!
Posted by teamcanada on August 17, 2010 at 4:56 PM · Report this
saxfanatic 13
Hey @9, I hear you! The Limey is the best revenge rampage movie ever. It's my favorite of all Steven Soderbergh's films too, for that matter.
Posted by saxfanatic on August 18, 2010 at 2:00 PM · Report this
@9, @13, The Limey is the best movie I ever saw on the theme of "Growing Old Gracefully." Fuck Cocoon.
Posted by gloomy gus on August 24, 2010 at 11:30 AM · Report this
Lindy West: would you please read some reviews in other publications and learn about what makes up a standard review. It is basically these TWO components: a brief synopsis of the film (I have no idea what this is about from this review), and some actual critical analysis, preferably by someone who IS ACTUALLY HAS SOME EXPERTISE ON THE SUBJECTS OF FILM, OR WRITING, OR ACTING. I read your review of Wall Street II last week after I saw the movie and was rather annoyed by your review that sounded like some stupid hipster talking about a movie at the Cha Cha while drinking PBR than an actual professional film reviewer. If you do have any expertise on the subject you write about, you do not show it.
Posted by ErinJ. on September 29, 2010 at 12:56 PM · Report this
oops. editing error. This is why *I* am not a professional writer.
Posted by ErinJ. on September 29, 2010 at 1:01 PM · Report this
Lindy West 17
@15: You must be new here.
Posted by Lindy West on October 3, 2010 at 6:19 PM · Report this

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