The Expendables was awesome!
In the interest of full disclosure, I have to add: I didn't go to the movie with high expectations, like many, I expected it to be corny, dumb and blood-soaked. And still people have asked me, "Why did you go see it if you expected it to be stupid?" To which I reply, "Have you not seen the line-up of action stars? How could you not go see a movie with Stallone, Statham, Rourke, Lundgren, Couture and Jet Li with a cameo made by the Governator himself? Are you insane?"
Needless to say, I was there opening weekend with some friends and a packed audience at my local Regal Cinema. The story, well, the story is really negligible. The plot is simply a vehicle used to advance the group of action stars from one locale to another; there's no cogency whatsoever. But who expected more?
A group of seasoned mercenaries is approached by a mysterious man, Mr. Church (Willis) and gives the team a new job: to attempt to overthrow a corrupt South American dictator who's having his strings pulled by a rogue ex-CIA agent (Roberts). After performing a reconnaissance mission (and blowing shit up) it's decided that the job isn't worth the trouble and is rejected. In the course of the story, said dictator's daughter fights against her father, the dictator fights against his strings and well, I'm sure you can guess the rest of the plot.
As much as Stallone has been touting his movie as an ensemble flick, a large chunk of screen time really does go to Stallone and Statham in their secondary story lines. Statham's fizzled relationship with his girlfriend (Buffyverse's Cordelia) and Stallone's inner turmoil which eventually leads to his all-or-nothing mission to rescue the dictator's daughter after a touching (or cheesy) scene between him and Tool (O'Rourke). The mixed bag of action stars do a lot to balance out a lot of the quippy one-liners which dominate the movie (some of which fall quite flat and pedantic) and Gunner (Lundgren) provides a nice counter balance between the good vs. evil storyline by playing the misguided fool.
The fight scenes are entertaining and (obviously) superbly choreographed culminating in a battle (BOSS FIGHT!) between Stallone and Stone Cold Steve Austin (who's very aptly named Paine). From there it only gets better as you see an impressive array of weapons--you'll squeal when your introduced to Hale Caesar's (Crews) "Ms. Kaboom"--the explosions get bigger and better and aerial shots that would make Michael Bay proud.
The tone of the movie is with tongue firmly planted in cheek, I mean c'mon, Jet Li's code name is Yin Yang and arguably the best line of the movie goes to Stallone in his insult laden dialogue with Schwarzenegger. It's a super fun cheeseball that asks nothing of you except that you turn your brain off and in this economy I'm sure that's a welcome relief.