The Expendables is the perfect kind of summer popcorn flick so I’m not quite sure why I waited so long to finally watch it. I had planned to see it right away… the appeal of all those 80s stars in one giant, explosive movie! But then I heard that Bruce and Arnold had minor roles (more like cameos, even), and Mickey was terrific but had just a few scenes. Which left me with a group of men I’d never heard of (Terry Crews? Randy Couture?) or just plain didn’t care for (hello, Eric Roberts! hello, Stone Cold what’s-your-name!). I opted to wait, but even as I let the time slip by until the DVD release my mind kept returning to the movie. It just has such great appeal for me! Dolph Lundgren alone — and back in a movie that would actually be shown in a cinema! — was enough. Stallone, though, is better and better as he mellows with age but never quite loses his magnitude. I could go on and on with reasons I wanted to see this movie, but very few people in my life really understand. It’s those invisible strings at work again.
Finally watching the movie tonight was all the fun I expected and a rousing kick in the head, as well. I can’t recall a movie with so much gunplay, so many explosions, so much hand-to-hand combat that also featured undercurrents of great wit and humanity. Until I began to watch I also didn’t know that Stallone directed the film, but I could see his touch in every scene. I admit that the major players were all much more interesting than I expected some of them to be, and I now have a genuine interest in Jason Statham (who always surprises me, though I immediately forget about him when the films end) and a new respect for Steve Austin. And Mickey Rourke… he’s a revelation, once again. I hope his career stays on the upswing so he can play these kinds of characters that reveal layers you just don’t expect. Of course, I want my Lundgren back, too. The Expendables proved to be an interesting character study of men with something to say, and though it was carried through the film beneath bullets and breaking bones and more than a few exploding heads, it was undeniable and given the appropriate amount of attention. I felt I got to know the men who comprised this elite team of specialists, and in the end I really wanted to know them all even better.
image via Internet Movie Database, linked to source