Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham
Chris Renaud and Pierre Coffin
3 and half
Duck for cover! A handful of iconic action stars — old-timers as well as their somewhat younger cohorts — are hell-bent on overthrowing a South American dictator and his army of minions.
Led by the 63-year-old Sylvester Stallone, who also co-wrote and directed the picture, they blow the opposition to smithereens in this testosterone-charged thriller. Besides Stallone, the wild bunch includes his knife-throwing sidekick (Statham) and a diminutive but lethal martial arts maestro (Jet Li).
After a local freedom fighter (newcomer Giselle Itie, alluring) is taken captive, the mercenaries return to rescue her in a series of explosive set pieces.
Fast-paced and often amusing (both Stallone and Statham are afforded nifty one-liners), The Expendables packs a visceral jolt.
However, the crackerjack action sequences are often offset by clichéd plot developments and some sketchy characterisations. Of the supporting ensemble, Eric Roberts has a blast in the role of the over-the-top villain. As the former commando-turned-tattooist, Mickey Rourke shares a poignant monologue about his experiences in war-ravaged Bosnia.
Memorably, too, three macho heavyweights Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger appear together on-screen, albeit only briefly for the first time.
If only for that much-ballyhooed scene which culminates with a well-timed political quip, The Expendables is worth a visit.