Jude Thaddeus L. Bautista
Leaping high in the air across a burning moat, Randy Couture lands a stupendous superman punch on who else but Steve “Stone Cold” Austin’s face. The punch just got things started Austin comes back with his signature Texas pile driver. Everything happens twice as fast in a life or death situation so you can’t blink and not miss a move. Seeing the biggest star from the UFC fight hand to hand TO THE DEATH with one of the most famous WWE wrestlers of all time happens only in a fight fan’s fantasy. Lesnar vs Couture has nothing on this movie. Watching it on the silver screen makes it even more special, this is what you get with “The Expendables.”
Yes, the storyline borders on the inane, but you don’t look for a good story in a movie like this. The most recognizable action stars of the past three decades have been assembled in this one mega blockbuster. Guys AND gals who have been starving for the classic violent, action packed, explosions, car chases, knife throwing and martial arts flick (whew) will have their fill.
Lead by Rocky Balboa himself, Sylvester Stallone has been delivering his lines far clearer in his past few films. A far cry from his original Rocky, where his Italian/Philly/Brando with cotton balls in his mouth accent deprived audiences of understanding what he was saying. Rocky is sporting a host of tattoos made by another tough guy in the person of Mickey Rourke whose screen name is Tool. Sly would have looked tougher with the tattoos except for the fact that he also seemed to have had eyelid surgery procedure. It’s a project our very own Dr. Vicki Belo would be proud of. Personally, I hope I’m wrong about it but his eyelids just looks weird. Maybe Belo can hobnob with Sly when she visits Charice in L.A.?
The biggest box office action draws come into one scene in the movie. Bruce Willis of the “Die Hard” series is a mysterious figure in the person of Church who is supposed to give Ross (Stallone) his assignment. He waits for a rival mercenary before giving the details. In comes Governator Ahhhhhnuld Schwarzenegger, formerly known as “Conan the Barbarian”, “Terminator”, “Predator” killer and many, many more memorable action film icons. Ahhhnuld plays Trench and has a great exchange of put downs with Ross not to be missed. For the millions of Rambo and Governator fans around the world that scene alone was worth the price of admission.
Everyone seems to have a cool moniker, owing to the writing (and directing) of Stallone (Barney Ross). The big name stars are part of Ross’ crew of fearless mercs. Jason Statham is Lee Christmas while Jet Li is (how racist can you get?) Yin Yang, Dolph Lundgren is Gunner Jensen, Randy Couture is Toll Road and Terry Crews is Hale Caesar. Steve “Stone Cold” Austin is Paine, one of the henchmen of James Munroe (Eric Roberts). The only one not on the list of cast members that fans might look for is Manny “Fighter of the Decade” Pacquiao. Sly may have a boxing movie in mind for Manny as a lot of news reports have been made of their meetings.
One of the funniest scenes is when Sly and Statham (unconvincingly) pose as ornithologists on their way to scout the enemy. Statham shows his Canon 1D Mark IV and tells customs officials, “We’re here to shoot birds.” Later on he shoots a video of Americans wreaking havoc on villagers with the same camera.
UFC fans will recognize Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and his brother Rogerio as the general’s bodyguards. It brings up the question, is the movie a means to promote the UFC, especially the cross over fights? Randy Couture has an upcoming fight against boxing champ James “Lights Out” Toney on August 28 in Boston. Because of the rise of the UFC in popularity it has attracted Wrestling stars like Brock Lesnar and now boxing legend James Toney. For action starved fans it doesn’t really matter. “The Expendables” is a great way to see those athletic moves like takedowns and arm bars in the context of a movie. The film is a gun slinging, fight packed thrill ride everyone needs once in a while.