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The Expendables (2010)

Film review: The Expendables (2010), directed by Sylvester Stallone

Take a group of mercenaries (Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, and potentially others I don’t remember through the haze of testosterone). Let them shoot a group of kidnapping pirates. Have one of them (Dolph Lundgren) go slightly off the rails and be told he can’t play with the rest of them anymore.

Make them come home and have Jason Statham’s girlfriend (Charisma Carpenter) dump him for some nasty piece of work. Make Mickey Rourke a tattoo artist. Make Sly go to church to get a job offer from Bruce Willis. Have a cameo by Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Make them go to some island somewhere where Angel Batista from Dexter (David Zayas) is the man in charge, except he isn’t in charge at all, because that’s Eric Roberts. Make the General have a daughter (Giselle Itié) that Sly can feel protective about and fall in love with. In a manly way, of course.

Make everyone blow shit up, blow people up, kick people’s backsides and throw in Randy Couture and Stone Cold Steve Austin as well. The Expendables in a nutshell.

I won’t say “ladies, you won’t like this” because there are plenty of ladies who enjoy testosterone-hyped action films with more muscle than brains, just like there are men who aren’t particularly keen on it. To enjoy this film, though, you’ll need to be ready to deal with the testosterone and not really mind the flimsy romance elements – and of course not mind the macho attitude displayed by Statham and his nemesis, His Woman’s New Man. (It’s along the lines of “dude, wtf? You don’t hit her in the face!” as opposed to “that’s not how you treat a woman, you piece of shit!” It’s not great.)

There’s not much to say except a lot of people die in this film. And when they dump fuel from an airplane, they dump it for way longer than needed – are you not aware of the current fuel prices? (Despite the fuel prices across the pond are a fraction of what they are here.) Not to mention you want to be able to FLY HOME which you can’t do on an EMPTY TANK.

If they had made The Expendables into a tongue-in-cheek affair where they made fun of action films and themselves (considering the film stars every Hollywood action man you can think of, pretty much), it could have been a lot of fun. Instead it’s just an action film, and because it’s just another action film, even if it has such an incredibly macho cast, it’s not fun and it’s not interesting and there’s nothing there to engage any viewer who want a decent plot and decent characters that you can care about.

To top it all off, they’ve made a sequel which opens today in the UK. They’ve added Chuck Norris, because there simply weren’t enough action men in the first one. Oh dear lord.

1.7 out of 5 guns if you’re not an action fan. 3 or more if you think action films kick serious ass.


An easily distracted Swedish introvert residing in Robin Hood Country (Nottingham, UK) with a husband and two cats. She's an eager participant in tabletop and play-by-post roleplaying, woodworking, photography and European travel, when there's not a plague on.

4 thoughts on “The Expendables (2010)

  1. Not even a “So bad it’s good”? 😀 Those oh-so-subtle actors can’t do tongue-in-cheek? Missed opportunity…:D


    1. Nope. The sequel I’ve been told doesn’t take itself as seriously, and it’s currently rated about 8.1 on IMDb. Both are things the Squeeze looked up after this conversation:

      Hubby: “We can go see The Expendables II at the cinema.”
      Me: “Seriously?”
      Hubby: “Yeah!”
      Me: “Why would we do that? The first one sucked.”
      Hubby: “But it would be cool to see it on a big screen.”
      Me: “Yeah, you do that, if you want. I’ll just stay here.”

      Later on, he showed me the IMDb rating, recounted reviews and showed me the trailer. My response to seeing one of the surnames was “You never said Thor was in it!” Turns out it wasn’t CHRIS Hemsworth, but his younger brother Liam (Gale in The Hunger Games). Not sure he has quite the same pull. For a moment there, though, I was almost willing to see it, because the first one didn’t have any eyecandy, and this one at least has a Hemsworth, even if it isn’t Thor.

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