Sunday, 22 August 2010
The Expendables did not live up to it's own posters and hype.
Then, there is a slight gap in status before we reach the second group, who have certainly made a name for themselves, including Jason Statham in films such as 'Crank', 'The Transporter' and 'Snatch', throughout the 21st century thus far. It is merely the short time he has been working that has set him apart from the true giants in the film. Although, he has had the chance to work with such big names in the past, as Jet Li's 'The One' starred Statham in 2001. He has successfully gained a name for himself in the world of action, and fits in well with names such as Stallone, the two of them becoming somewhat of a pairing throughout 'The Expendables'.
Also in the second group is Steve Austin, who started his career as a WWF (now WWE) wrestler, and much like Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson, stepped into film. However, we can commend Austin for not having moved into the recent ill-advised speight of children's films.
'The Expendables' quickly took it's cast to be it's selling point, and it worked, because with such huge names, it was hard not to be excited. Schwarzenegger films are the induction to anyone's liking of action films, the staple diet of any action fan, and if that is just one of the names Stallone managed to bring together in one film, it is already a triumph. I found it hard to believe that Schwarzenegger could have found time outside his job as Governor of California to film, and the solution was revealed during the film; there is merely one scene in which Arnie can be seen, and it's poorly done. He doesn't act well, as he is clearly out of practice, and his character is completely unnecessary. With both of these things being true, it was honestly not even worthwhile to have included him as a token cinema giant. Also, the things that make his previous films so classic and timeless is the writing. I wouldn't by any means say they were written well, but they were timeless because they were so corny. And when making the film, Stallone and the writers could have included this, and didn't. This is just the first point that lets the film down.
The next is the way the older generation has aged. Stallone and Rourke have been Hollywood A-listers for a substantial time, and this has rendered them, after decades of working on their looks, simply unbelievable as action stars. This was compensated for by writing them in as the most charismatic of the team, to try and give the viewers something to believe in, but this was ruined by two things. Firstly, Rourke's character must be somewhat notorious to be included in this exclusive ring of thugs, which I have already said is unbelievable. Secondly, Stallone is in almost every scene, which is understandable as the screenplay is his. This means that he has a very important role within the film. His wit is written to make up for the lost believability, but for an actor who is recurrent throughout the entire film, his poor acting during scenes where he is not fighting lets the entire film down.
So, if the film does not fulfil it's criteria as 'the best action cast ever assembled', according to the posters, then we have to look for what else it is relying on. This must be it's merits as an action film. This said, it doesn't compare well. There are explosions throughout, tough characters, constant violence to the point of being gratuitous, but when there are other alternatives out there, and the public is expected to see it as being the standard of the cast's previous accomplishments, while even the likes of Statham don't appear to be doing their own stunts, the cast simply let themselves down.