Monday, August 16, 2010

This movie is - wait for it - expendable

“The Expendables”

One and one half star

By Gary Buiso

“The Expendables” is the cinematic equivalent of a washed-up boxer returning to the ring for one last shot at glory — only to get knocked out in the first round.

The gaudy testosterone fest, co-written and directed by Sylvester Stallone (“Rocky”), is game for the fight, but the film falters early and often, and the all-star cast — well, by 1980s standards — has about as much chemistry as a vat of distilled water.

Stallone, as cigar-chomping Barney Ross, leads a group of mercenaries including Dolf Lundgren, Jet Li, and Jason Statham on a mission to overthrow a Latin American dictator controlled by a drug dealer, played by Eric Roberts.

Predictably, bodies pile up at the expense of character development, and before you know it, the dictator’s daughter (Giselle Itié) is making eyes at Stallone — just before he blows someone’s head off with a machine gun. Or was it just after?

Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger enjoy their much-hyped cameos, as does Mickey Rourke, who has fun playing an ex-mercenary turned tattoo artist.

But for audience, the film is a joyless exercise of excess: poorly shot action sequences and confusing, throwaway fight scenes are particularly perplexing, given Stallone’s pedigree.

Reflective moments are laughable, as is the script, which tries to generate snappy one-liners, which flounder when delivered in disinterested monotone by Stallone, who appears punch-drunk.

This film doesn’t want to be the greatest tribute to ’80s schlock action flicks. It just wants to step in the ring and hear the roar of the crowd again.

“The Expendables” coulda been a contender.

“The Expendables.” Rated R for strong action and bloody violence throughout, and for some language. 103 minutes. With Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Eric Roberts, Giselle Itié, Terry Crews, Randy Couture, Steve Austin, David Zayas, Mickey Rourke, Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and the kitchen sink. Playing in Brooklyn Access Digital Theatres - Pavilion Cinema in Park Slope, UA Court Street Stadium 12 in Downtown, Kent Theatre in Coney Island, UA Sheepshead Bay 14, Bay Ridge Alpine Cinemas, Linden Boulevard Multiplex Cinemas in East New York.


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