My son, oldest grandson, and nephew -- visiting from San Francisco with his lovely wife for a few days -- and I went yesterday to see The Expendables.
Boys going to see a man-flick. I was really looking forward to this one.
No two ways to say it: the movie wasn't very good. Paint-by-numbers, no surprises, nothing really memorable, give it a "C."
I had high hopes for it; Stallone wrote and directed it, and he's a good writer -- he wrote Rocky, recall. But if it hadn't had all the old action stars in it, it would have been totally forgettable. Well, except that I don't need to shoot anybody nor blow anything up for a while, having gotten my fill of that ...
What worked did so because the audience knew the actors and allowed a certain amount of warm nostalgia to make us grin. Wow, look what good shape he's in! How cool is it that a guy older than I am can roll around and smack into walls like that! (And get a broken vertebrae in the doing of it ...)
There they were, including cameos from Schwarzenegger and Willis, with Eric Roberts as the bad guy, and a couple token good-looking hot girls. It didn't lack for testosterone, and they blew through a truckload of ammo and bombs, but there wasn't any sense of joy or surprise: Action scene, ass-kicking, and here's the really clever dialog showing how cool everybody is -- can I get a rim-shot -- baddah boom! Over and over, bigger and bigger.
Yeah, there were some references to movies we knew. A few funny lines. And yes, the old guys still having a little life in them was a good premise, but they really didn't make use of it. I didn't expect Seven Samurai, but it could have been Butch and Sundance, or even The Wild Bunch; instead, it was Generic A-Team. No depth, no real character development. No sex, and the only twist they delivered made you shake your head at the end and go, "Aw, crap! Spare me!"
I wanted to see it and I did. And anybody who grew up with these guys onscreen will want to see it, and should -- just don't expect anything special.