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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, August 13, 2010 - Volume 38 Issue 33
The Expendables: take a straight dude
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The Expendables: take a straight dude

by Scott Rice - SGN Contributing Writer

The Expendables
Opening August 13


From the first exploding torso, I knew The Expendables was going to be fun - I just wasn't sure if it was going to be good, clean, action flick fun, or another poorly written, low-budget groaner like the last Rambo movie from 2008. I'm happy to report Stallone's latest is a star-studded, ass-kicking good time, inspired as much by lucha libre and the WWF as the '80s era action flicks it's meant to recall. And it doesn't take itself too seriously.

Barney Ross (Stallone) heads a cadre of aging mercenaries. While conducting reconnaissance for a mission to overthrow a South American dictatorship rife with poverty, shady Americans, and cocaine (I know, I know), Ross and his sidekick Lee Christmas (Jason Statham) meet their beautiful contact Sandra (Giselle ItiƩ).

When the reconnoitering goes awry, the boys make their escape (while offing a couple of hundred nefarious soldiers in a two-man blitzkrieg of blood and fireballs worthy of the legacy the movie seeks so desperately to claim) but the heroic girl stays behind to fight for her people. Once home, Ross finds out there's more to the mission than a simple overthrow of a corrupt general. He also can't get the valiant gesture (or the voluptuous breasts) of Sandra out of his mind.

If you're in this to be emotionally moved, socially edified, or spiritually enlightened, you're in for a huge disappointment and you're obviously not too bright. On the other hand, if you know the difference between a piledriver and a hammerlock, you'll be in action movie heaven.

Sure, some of the one-liners fall flat, but most don't. Yeah, the story doesn't have an ounce of originality, but the explosions are awesome. I know, the villains are predictable and obvious, but the WrestleMania-inspired fight scenes are infused with over-the-top choreography and they will cause involuntary noises of delight.

If you're also into the grotesque, there's enough cartoon limb lopping, face pummeling, and head exploding to keep you satisfied until Machete comes out in September. You'll also enjoy the unseemly specter of male eye surgery gone bad. Stallone's pinched temples and oddly arched eyebrows are frightening, and Mickey Rourke, God bless his underappreciated acting skills, is truly monstrous (but in a glamorous movie star sort of way). Cheers to Dolph Lundgren for aging au naturel, even if he's still gotten ugly as sin.

Jet Li steals scenes left and right as the tiniest member of the mercenary gang whose heart is as big as Statham's bald head. Statham himself reeks of manly sexiness so much I'd swear I was watching in Scratch 'n' Snifferama. And for all you folks who knew the difference between a piledriver and a hammerlock, you'll love the fight scene between Randy "The Natural" Courture and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin.

I saw The Expendables with my straight buddy, Tony, and we both began to channel our 14-year-old selves about five minutes in. I highly suggest taking one or two straight dudes to see Stallone's latest testosterone fest; they're fun to watch and their sophomoric energy becomes downright infectious. After the screening, I had the strange urge to pick up a couple of bitches and lay some pipe, but I didn't.

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