The Expendables | Film Reviews | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

The Expendables 

Bad Shakespeare: The bad-ass cast of The Expendables sells it—if only just barely.

Pin It
Favorite
THE EXPENDABLES
  • The Expendables
“Bad Shakespeare,” one badass notes with a sad shake of his head. It’s the perfect phrase for the manly male melodrama that passes for character here, and the cheesy revelations that pass for plot. It is the fact that co-writer/director Sylvester Stallone recognizes this himself that is The Expendables’ saving grace. But just barely.

When it isn’t bad Shakespeare, it’s Solider of Fortune: The Porno. Machine guns that ejaculate multiple rounds per second! Enormous thrusting knives! And the orgasms! I mean: The explosions! They go on and on and on in cascades of eruptions of hot plasma. Stallone winks at the homoerotic pornification of the action movie, too; I won’t spoil the joke, but it’s a sure bet that if anyone other than Bruce Willis said what he says to Arnold Schwarzenegger and Stallone himself, he’d be exiting the movie in a body bag.

The winking self-awareness of everyone involved is another tiny saving grace. But just barely.

Arnie and Bruce make only cameo appearances here. The rest of the movie is an orgy of other muscle-bound bad boys: Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, some pro wrestlers. Stallone leads them to an unnamed South American island under the thumb of a scary general (David Zayas), who is under the thumb of a rogue CIA operative (Eric Roberts). Stallone wasn’t going to help the island people, because messing with the CIA is never a good idea, but he just can’t forget that one pretty girl (Giselle Itié). See, he’s a noble mercenary.

You almost can’t hate a movie where badasses get to hang around in between badass missions in a totally badass tattoo parlor/motorcycle garage and listen to Mickey Rourke reminisce about that badass time when they were up in Bosnia. Sure, it’s bad Shakespeare, but Rourke sells it—if only just barely.

THE EXPENDABLES

2_stars.gif

Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li
Rated R

Pin It
Favorite

Speaking of , The Expendables

More by MaryAnn Johanson

  • Without a Map

    Lady Bird chronicles the rocky road of female adolescence.
    • Nov 15, 2017
  • Mixed Double

    Battle of the Sexes captures the stop-start frustration of social progress.
    • Sep 27, 2017
  • Playing the Hits

    Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 isn't as uniquely edgy as it thinks it is.
    • May 3, 2017
  • More »

Latest in Film Reviews

  • Without a Map

    Lady Bird chronicles the rocky road of female adolescence.
    • Nov 15, 2017
  • Parallel Lives

    Todd Haynes' Wonderstruck unites two tales of youthful discovery.
    • Nov 8, 2017
  • Shades of Pretty Good

    Thor: Ragnarok is a Marvel movie—and you probably know what that means.
    • Nov 1, 2017
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

  • Where Are the Women?

    A critic's year-long deep-dive into the way movies portray one half of humanity.
    • May 11, 2016
  • List We Forget ...

    Celebrating the best of 2016 in film.
    • Dec 28, 2016

© 2017 Salt Lake City Weekly

Website powered by Foundation