The Expendables (15)

Film

Action and adventure

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Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>1</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5
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Time Out says

Thu Aug 5 2010

For all those hoping that Sylvester Stallone’s much-touted ‘The Expendables’ would be a sardonic, fourth-wall shattering action spectacular that toyed affectionately with the meat-headed conventions of such retrograde 1980s artefacts as ‘Cobra’, ‘Rambo’ and ‘Commando’, well, don’t break out the foam-dome and Whitesnake records just yet…

If ever a test case were required to prove the theory that shit in quote marks is still shit, this is it. ‘The Expendables’ is a sluggish, derivative, witless farrago which is laser-targeted to the nostalgia set and would surely have gone straight to DVD were it not for Stallone’s recent run at the box office with belated sequels to his ‘Rocky’ and ‘Rambo’ franchises.

‘The Expendables’ is – once again – about ageing fighters who remain happily out of sync with the modern world, though it’s more ‘Wild Hogs’ than ‘No Country For Old Men’, concerned less with growing old gracefully than with clinging to a state of perpetual adolescence in which fast cars, tattoos and knifes all remain indescribably cool. Sly is Barney Ross, the stogie-chomping front man to a ragtag, cosily diverse unit of jaded, muscle-bound mercenaries who accept jobs that no-one else in their right mind would touch. Stallone has lost much of the loveable-lug lustre of his early years  and seems to have turned into his own ‘Spitting Image’ puppet, spending the entire film looking like he’s watching a fly perched on the end of his nose.

We open on the gang dealing with a fleet of Somalian pirates, revealing that – unsurprisingly – diplomacy is not a term in their lexicon. Before you can say, ‘Hey, what’s Dolph Lundgren doing with that 12-gauge?’, a hostage-taker has been shot through the torso and the whole vessel is submerged in gunfire. And so the depressingly reactionary tone is set, offering the first hint that the title of the film refers as much to the group’s view of other human beings as it does to themselves.

Settling for the most rudimentary of save-the-maiden/topple-the-dicator plotlines and wheeling out tough-guy clichés by rote, innovation and skill are notable by their absence. And as if things weren’t bad enough, Stallone mysteriously opts to photograph the entire film in extreme close-up, which a) allows you to see just how shallow all the characters are, b) alerts you to the shoddiness of the effects, and c) means that all the action scenes look like an indiscriminate tangle of bloody body parts. 

Elsewhere, pickings remain slim. Cameo appearances by Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger serve no function whatsoever bar allowing Stallone to make a cheap allusion to Arnie’s day job (a Planet Hollywood gag would’ve been funnier), while the inclusion of a romantic sub-plot exists solely to allow Jason Statham to furnish retributive justice on the local wife-beater. There’s even a fight scene inspired by a racial stereotype, as Jet Li engages in a warehouse tussle with Lundgren and gains the advantage because he’s so short.

Even if Sly’s sense of irony hadn’t been lost in the mail, ‘The Expendables’ would still be unsalvageable. It’s a film that exists in a cultural limbo, where life, history and filmmaking appear to have ceased at the moment Ronald Reagan left office. Still, if you like watching men with no necks thumping each other, this could be your ‘Citizen Kane’.
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Release details

Rated:

15

UK release:

Fri Aug 20, 2010

Duration:

103 mins

Cinemas showing The Expendables

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Users say

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

4.3 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:25
  • 4 star:5
  • 3 star:4
  • 2 star:2
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|68
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Thomas Noctor

Classic film, if you are looking for oscar nominees then you won't get them here, but it's a bit of fun and pays homage to the action hero's of the past. Great action scenes and provides humour. Well worth a watch for cinema buffs. For bores who like The Road and Let The Shite One In, then avoid! The Expendables does exactly what it says on the tin!

Thomas Noctor

Classic film, if you are looking for oscar nominees then you won't get them here, but it's a bit of fun and pays homage to the action hero's of the past. Great action scenes and provides humour. Well worth a watch for cinema buffs. For bores who like The Road and Let The Shite One In, then avoid! The Expendables does exactly what it says on the tin!

Neil

Great pop corn flick. Really enjoyed it. The film was not serious but it was intended that way. Really enjoyed it! Can't wait for part deux!

Neil

Great pop corn flick. Really enjoyed it. The film was not serious but it was intended that way. Really enjoyed it! Can't wait for part deux!

Thomas Noctor

There really are some idiots writing for time out. This film was made to re group all the action men of movies, and that's what it did. So what if the plot aint great, this was always going to be a bit of a fun movie with non sense action. The film provided what it promised. Great to see all the action hero's on one screen, good action and a few laughs. The hour and a half flew by, a must see for people who enjoys a laugh and a bit of action and good fighting scenes. Keep em coming sly! Roll on the sequel and Rambo 5!

Thomas Noctor

There really are some idiots writing for time out. This film was made to re group all the action men of movies, and that's what it did. So what if the plot aint great, this was always going to be a bit of a fun movie with non sense action. The film provided what it promised. Great to see all the action hero's on one screen, good action and a few laughs. The hour and a half flew by, a must see for people who enjoys a laugh and a bit of action and good fighting scenes. Keep em coming sly! Roll on the sequel and Rambo 5!

peter

This review is utter rubish. not that is was the best film i have ever seehn but those comparisons were ridiculous. Hire a new writer. This is nonsense!

Joel+Callum

David, you have hit the proverbial nail on its' 'noggin'. only this morning as i read your review did i understand to the extent it rang true, the shallowness and lack of originality held within this film made me writhe with disgust. The outrageous close-up action scenes and the excessive bravado displayed within this 'credible form of entertainment' left me with no choice but to close my eyes and envisage an ulterior reality where this film had not yet corroded the fabric of today's society. To those nay-Sayers, each person is entitled their own opinion. good day

I See Tears

No More Tears- What the f*** was that childish rant about?1 Get a life man, people liked the film (Me being one of them), so what?! Your probably just upset because it didnt have enough romance built into it or maybe your a crafty butcher and were hoping to see Statham and Stallone going at it? Whatever it is you need to get over it. Fortunately people have different opinions to you and aren't as pathetic about expressing them. GOOD film, GOOD cast and EXCELLENT action scenes..... (IN MY OPINION!!) That's not me saying your a loser for having your own opinion... I'll leave that to you!! Oh yea for all the old skool WWF fans out there how cool was it to see Stone Cold having quite a big part in the film?!

I See Tears

No More Tears- What the f*** was that childish rant about?1 Get a life man, people liked the film (Me being one of them), so what?! Your probably just upset because it didnt have enough romance built into it or maybe your a crafty butcher and were hoping to see Statham and Stallone going at it? Whatever it is you need to get over it. Fortunately people have different opinions to you and aren't as pathetic about expressing them. GOOD film, GOOD cast and EXCELLENT action scenes..... (IN MY OPINION!!) That's not me saying your a loser for having your own opinion... I'll leave that to you!! Oh yea for all the old skool WWF fans out there how cool was it to see Stone Cold having quite a big part in the film?!

claire

I loved this film it was amazing. This is how action films should be none of this special affects crap just good fight scenes. It was so good that I had to go back and see it again

claire

I loved this film it was amazing. This is how action films should be none of this special affects crap just good fight scenes. It was so good that I had to go back and see it again

TRUTHTELLER

Some critics seem to have no idea why people go to the movies. It's an action movie and I enjoyed it a lot. Sure we've seen it before, so what? How dumb can a critic be to go to a Stallone movie and expect to see anything other than a Stallone movie. Personally, I like the fact that they didn't rely so much on computer enhancement. It is what it is and I've got to tell you the audience enjoyed it. Went to see it in the afternoon and the place was packed. Do it again Sly! Expendables 11

rudiz

if someone expected a super mindbender movie out of this - you won't get it, it's a plain supercast 80's-90's style hero movie with an easy predictable scenario, just like it used to be in all stallone , bruce willis, dolph lundgren and van damme movies.. i think stallone didn't want to make a special movie with an unpredictable ending, he wanted to please us - 80's movie fans with another piece of hero based movies, with a nice bit of cast. and to the critic that wrote the rewiev - dude, wake up, what you're writting is wrong, cos all the movies then were highest rates, and all become classics . now you're trying to make stallone to create a steven spielberg or james cameron kind of movies, with a lot of depth and unpredictability.. you should be fired for what you do for living.. no offense

rudiz

if someone expected a super mindbender movie out of this - you won't get it, it's a plain supercast 80's-90's style hero movie with an easy predictable scenario, just like it used to be in all stallone , bruce willis, dolph lundgren and van damme movies.. i think stallone didn't want to make a special movie with an unpredictable ending, he wanted to please us - 80's movie fans with another piece of hero based movies, with a nice bit of cast. and to the critic that wrote the rewiev - dude, wake up, what you're writting is wrong, cos all the movies then were highest rates, and all become classics . now you're trying to make stallone to create a steven spielberg or james cameron kind of movies, with a lot of depth and unpredictability.. you should be fired for what you do for living.. no offense

karim

Absolutely brilliant! If you want adrenaline pumping actio, this is the movie of the year. My head is still buzzing with gunfire!! So there is a very simple plot...who cares?!?! This was never supposed to be an oscar winner, just plain old red blooded entertainment!! Just like Yorkie-- NOT FOR GIRLS!!

karim

Absolutely brilliant! If you want adrenaline pumping actio, this is the movie of the year. My head is still buzzing with gunfire!! So there is a very simple plot...who cares?!?! This was never supposed to be an oscar winner, just plain old red blooded entertainment!! Just like Yorkie-- NOT FOR GIRLS!!

No more tears

Ah ha ha ha ha ha. Pause. Catch breath. Ah ha ha ha ha. The comments on this thread crack me up. Didn't de nasty critic like the lubbly film,den? Awww.... Whenever you hear someone say 'Why does it have to have a deep meaning?!? It's an action film!?' they might as well have a placard round their neck with 'Grade A Dunce' written on it. They are saying that any sort of thinking about a film, at any level, is inherently suspicious. And without fail, they absolutely always conflate criticisms of bad film-making with their own political or anti-intellectual prejudices. It's just part of thickie DNA. The Expendables is abominably bad. Bad script, bad acted, badly edited, badly plotted. The action sections, which it rests on because there is f-all else, are bad. Not in the sense of 'bad-ass'. Just bad. And anyone who can't see this is so bad as I claim is obviously some brain-washed American-hating pussy-ass liberal.

Mitchell

This is one of the best films i have ever seen and no dout the best film i have seen this year some of the most spectcular scene ever trueley one of the all time greats in the makeing

Mitchell

This is one of the best films i have ever seen and no dout the best film i have seen this year some of the most spectcular scene ever trueley one of the all time greats in the makeing

BOb

Sounds like a lot of people went to see this film expecting something other than predictable cheesy OTT action. THis was hardly a materpiece by any means but going to see a film with Dolph Lundgren, Sly, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Randy Couture and Stone Cold... what else were people expecting? This is a Ronseal film- you get exactly what you expect from the triailer- guts, guns, explosions and that's it. Expecting Citizen Kane to emerge from these ingredients is just stupid. If you fancy some ridiculous over the top and beyond action which requires no intelligence to follow at all, give it a go. If not, don't whinge afterwards despite the warnings.

Scrumpyjack

Last week I wagered this would be a 3 star film I was wrong! Shoddy direction almost wrecks the movie, but it does fly by and is (at the very least) watchable.....but thats all. 4/10

Kay Horsnell

I went to see this as my husband was interested in it. I found the storyline abit weak. A few funny bits, lots of bloody violence and had to turn away a few times when limbs were cut off. An ok film but don't think I would watch it again. Stalon definately looking his age bless him.

Americanon

So refreshing to see "Real" men since PC dictates that men become sissies. Everybody except "Ameriphobes" will love this movie with the best male actors in the world!

Americanon

So refreshing to see "Real" men since PC dictates that men become sissies. Everybody except "Ameriphobes" will love this movie with the best male actors in the world!

Shel

I *wanted* to love this movie. The cast is phenomenal. And it had its moments, to be sure. But the simple truth of the matter is that is was an *awful* movie. Worst I've seen in a very long time. I would have preferred that Stallone just put the great cast he assembled in a room with a bunch of (fake) weaponry, great camera and special effects guys, and let them have at it for an hour and a half. They tried so damn hard to have a plot - and utterly failed - and it just completely detracted from everything else. Major bummer.

broony

u guyz obviously dont know a good movie when u c 1. i would recommend this movie 2 any1 dont let these idiots stop you going 2 c a great film

broony

u guyz obviously dont know a good movie when u c 1. i would recommend this movie 2 any1 dont let these idiots stop you going 2 c a great film

Stephen

Saw the film the other night and, despite having some good moments, I was a little disappointed on the whole. Some good action scenes were ruined by overly frantic editing, the dialogue was often hard to hear and several characters had little if any real purpose or impact (Dolph Lungren being one). That said the final 30 minutes was excellent in terms of its sheer over-the-top violence and the Arnie, Stallone, Willis scene is fun to watch. More of a hit and miss.

james

what's the difference between the expendables and a bucket of crap? the bucket

Jack

Some film critics insist o bring their lunatic left ideas into the review. The reviewer didn't review the movie, he go t a soap box to push his left wing agenda. This is about the movies fool, not about you and your nutty beliefs. It's an Action film and it's pretty enjoyable.

Darkprimceofjazz

I love needle nose people who complain about punctuation and grammar ,while turning there noses down . I feel so alone now .

Darkprimceofjazz

I love needle nose people who complain about punctuation and grammar ,while turning there noses down . I feel so alone now .

colin sivas

Best film for a long time - really hardcore action movie, Reviewer must be an uneducated fool.

colin sivas

Best film for a long time - really hardcore action movie, Reviewer must be an uneducated fool.

Daniel

Wow, I don't think I've ever seen this many comments for a review on this site. "The Expendables" should be taken for what it is - pure action entertainment, I certainly had fun watching it but then again I grew up watching stuff like Commando, Cobra and Invasion USA (yeah the Chuck Norris one). It's not meant to be a profound statement, it doesn't linger in your mind afterwards. But if you think guys like Dolph, Stone Cold et al are underappreciated this film is for you (still a million times better than anything Michael Bay will ever make)! PS What's with the comparison with Inception? I liked that film but let me tell you there are no similarities between the two. It is possible for any moviegoer to enjoy them both

darkprinceofjazz

i hate pointy headed " artsy " critics like this, i can appreciate an over the top action movie as easily as i can the godfather 1 and 2. as many have stated, an agenda for sure, stay home and curl up with a friend and watch broke back mountain for the hundreth time.

darkprinceofjazz

i hate pointy headed " artsy " critics like this, i can appreciate an over the top action movie as easily as i can the godfather 1 and 2. as many have stated, an agenda for sure, stay home and curl up with a friend and watch broke back mountain for the hundreth time.

tyler goodman

wow what a bull s*** review i havent even seen the movie and i know that just from the preview. but im going to watch it tonight and post again. but for now im just gonna say go back to britten david and leave our movies alone

tyler goodman

wow what a bull s*** review i havent even seen the movie and i know that just from the preview. but im going to watch it tonight and post again. but for now im just gonna say go back to britten david and leave our movies alone

cmztrav

What I got from this review is that the reviewer has an agenda and the film didn't further that agenda. Thanks!

stacy

I saw this movie tonight and I thought it was great. It was the perfect mix of funny and shoot punch kick blow up everything in sight. I laughed out loud several times and had to give props for a few of the fight scenes that kicked ass. In all it was better than I expected it to be after reading this lame review and I am glad that I saw it.

stacy

I saw this movie tonight and I thought it was great. It was the perfect mix of funny and shoot punch kick blow up everything in sight. I laughed out loud several times and had to give props for a few of the fight scenes that kicked ass. In all it was better than I expected it to be after reading this lame review and I am glad that I saw it.

Brenda

We loved the movie, and we liked the A-Team as well! We don't take the lame advice of reviewers!

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