The Expendables blows away competition

Nick Kirkines, Entertainment Manager

When a movie-goer goes to see The Expendables, they should not expect a deep story. What they should expect is a tale of action as six mercenaries (Sylvester Stallone, Jet Li, Terri Crews, Jason Statham, Randy Couture, Dolph Lundgren) do what mercenaries do best:  wage war for money.

The opening scene portrays this theme nicely as the group, led by Barney Ross (Stallone), infiltrates a hijacked cargo carrier off the coast of Aden. As they are on the boat, they discover where exactly the hostages, whom they were sent to rescue, are being held. Suddenly an explosive, shot by Gunnar Jensen (Lundgren), tears into the pirate leader, ripping him in half and leaving both the pirates and Ross’ men stunned. Ross’ men are on the offensive as they rain lead down with high tech weaponry. A high tension hostage situation ends with a moral debate, between Ross and Gunnar, which affects the rest of the movie.

With that high powered lead in, what else can be said about The Expendables? It is simply amazing. Although the film doesn’t do anything to redefine the genre, it takes what has been tried and true throughout the years and makes a hybrid. This is a movie with the deafening explosions of a good war flick, to the intensity filled fire fights that populate movies such as Death Wish, and the blindingly fast and acrobatic hand to hand combat of a Kung Fu movie. There’s even some very smart comedy throughout that genuinely made me smile and even laugh. Everything is done right and it never feels forced.

The ensemble cast works very organically together. They often feel as if they’ve known each other for years. One conversation between Ross and Christmas (Statham) established the friendly sense of competition between friends that everyone has. Although there is never too great a diversion from action into the distraction of a story, the movie still gets its point across.

The Expendables is a very well constructed and tightly choreographed film. My only complaint is there was very little other character development. Randy Couture, Terry Crews, and Jet Li are in the movie solely as extra firepower. That’s not a bad thing, but the stage is set so perfectly to delve into their characters as well.  At the very least they should’ve given them a little more screen time.

That being said, The Expendables is a film that every action movie fan should see.