To his credit, writer/director Sylvester Stallone miraculously assembled a cast for the flick containing many of the greatest legends of the action genre. Consequently, this high-impact adventure is worth the investment just to see them sharing the same screen.
For starters, there are matinee idols Stallone, Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis. Then we have bona fide box-office draws in Mickey Rourke, Jason Statham and Jet Li, with tough guys Dolph Lundgren, Terry Crews, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and three-time UFC Heavyweight Champion Randy Couture rounding out the ensemble.
The storyline revolves around a band of mercenaries recruited by a mysterious figure (Willis) for a dangerous assignment, namely, to overthrow General Garza (David Zayas), the cocaine-dealing dictator of a Banana Republic. Mastermind Barney Ross’ (Stallone) handpicks a team comprised of knife-wielding Lee Christmas (Statham), martial arts master Yin Yang (Li), crack sniper Gunner Jensen (Lundgren), heavy weapons specialist Hale Caesar (Crews) and demolitions expert Toll Road (Couture). The men are outfitted with weapons by a black market arms dealer (Rourke), although they happen to be pretty good with their fists in a pinch.
The plot thickens once these killing machines arrive on the fictional South American island of Vilena, surreptitiously entering the country under the imprimatur of the “Global Wildlife Conservancy.” There, with the help of Garza’s estranged daughter, Sandra (Gisele Itie), they soon realize that they’ve been setup by Munroe (Eric Roberts), a rogue CIA Agent with designs on wresting control of the lucrative drug trade after staging a coup d’etat.
Despite the fact that the diabolical Munroe also plans to use the army to eliminate his unit of “Expendables,” Ross nonetheless opts to follow through with what now looks like a suicide mission, in part because his heartstrings have been touched by the perilous plight of the suddenly-compromised Sandra. What ensues is an old-fashioned, pyrotechnics and stunt-driven spectacular, harking back to the summer blockbusters of Sly, Bruce and Arnold’s heydays back in the Seventies and the Eighties.
Excellent (4 stars)
Rated R for profanity and graphic violence.
In English and Spanish with subtitles.
Running time: 103 Minutes
Distributor: Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Blu-Ray Combo Pack Extras: Deleted scenes, gag reel, audio commentary with Sylvester Stallone, DVD and digital version of the film, and much more.
To see a trailer for The Expendables, visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3VgJtfffrl0
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