The Expendables Movie Review

Stallone was eager to prove it to everybody.

And while he was at it, Stallone made a massive mistake: when you get the chance to bring together some of the most well-known action stars into one big action movie, for the love of god be ironic, witty and funny. Don’t take yourself too seriously and spoof your own genre a little bit. And most of all go all out, be crazy and silly and as over the top as possible. I don’t mean that in an action kind of way (which The Expendables certainly delivers) but in a story kind of way. Like Crank.

Well, Stallone decided to not go that way and unfortunately the result might be an adrenaline filled and one-liner filled action movie but the result at the same time feels like all the other action movies out there. What’s worse is that everything somehow feels way too self-important for its own good.

This goes especially for Sandra which I totally hated as a character. She is the daughter of the dictator of the island and on a righteous cause for the good. Okay, I can dig that. But when she was right in the middle of a firefight and tons of people saw her with the “evil Americans”, it’s really the best to flee. Her decision to not leave the island was simply stupid and no reason can sugarcoat this stupidity. Sure, the plot needs the team to go back with a more “now it’s personal”-attitude, but it would’ve worked better if she’d been caught while fleeing. On the other hand this move would’ve made Mickey Rourke’s character and his big speech absolutely needless.

Sandra’s father – the dictator of the island – is also a total joke as a bad guy. Not only cannot he give out orders, no, he also let others order him around. He could’ve simply shoot the CIA guys and take over. But nope, he’s unable to do anything and basically leaves the bad guy job to the CIA guys who manipulate and order him around. Unfortunately those guys don’t make very convincing bad people either.

One man who positively stands out of this mass of mediocre bad guys is Dolph Lundgren who brings out his best acting in years. His character has a sharp, almost crazy intensity I didn’t see very often in the last years. His character is always on the edge of snapping and you can feel that all the time.

The action in The Expendables is an interesting case here because it ranges from almost realistic to absolutely ridiculous. A realistic example is the fight Dolph Lundgren vs. Jet Li which makes the point that martial arts gives you nothing when you’re fighting a mass double your own. I also liked the fact that Stallone got his ass kicked which in a way also added some realism. Everything else and especially the final action sequence of course is absolutely over the top to the point of ridiculousness while sporting too much unconvincing CGI blood.

One thing I’ll probably never get is the fact that during the final fight nobody of the expendables picks up any of the thousands of firearms lying around. Stallone at one point screams he’s out of ammo but instead of picking up a machine gun he’s using his pistols. Another crazy moment is when another team member wastes his own ammo while you can see a wonderfully big stationary machine gun installed right beside him. Seriously, why didn’t he use it? I would’ve wasted every round this thing would offer to mow down anything in front of it.

Well, at least those points and some other illogical actions they make doesn’t take out the fun of the action.


Even the best f the best in terms of good old 80s action don’t save this movie and its disconnected script. This doesn’t mean that The Expendables is bad. Far from it. But with a little bit of polishing and change of attitude towards the satiric it could have been so much better.

Typical action movie that could've turned out so much better.


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