Nine Thoughts on The Expendables
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.
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.
8. WHAT THE FUCK IS KURT RUSSELL SO BUSY DOING?
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.