Today’s Prayer Focus

The Expendables

also known as “Os Mercenários,” “Cehennem melekleri,” “Expendables: Unité spéciale,” “Gasaghebulni,” “Les sacrifiés,” “Los indestructibles,” “Los mercenarios,” “Niezniszcza”
MPA Rating: R-Rating (MPA) for strong action and bloody violence throughout, and for some language.

Reviewed by: Sheri McMurray

Very Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults Teens
Action Adventure Thriller
1 hr. 43 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
August 13, 2010 (wide—3,000+ theaters)
DVD: November 23, 2010
Copyright, Lionsgate Films click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Lionsgate Films Copyright, Lionsgate Films Copyright, Lionsgate Films Copyright, Lionsgate Films Copyright, Lionsgate Films Copyright, Lionsgate Films Copyright, Lionsgate Films Copyright, Lionsgate Films Copyright, Lionsgate Films
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Lionsgate Films

strong friendships that knows no bounds

defending the oppressed and helpless

VIOLENCE—How does viewing violence in movies affect families? Answer

Featuring Danny Trejo, Sylvester Stallone (Barney “The Schizo” Ross), Jason Statham (Lee Christmas), Jet Li (Yin Yang), Mickey Rourke (Tool), Dolph Lundgren (Gunnar Jensen), Arnold Schwarzenegger (Trench), Bruce Willis (Mr. Church), Eric Roberts (James Monroe), Randy Couture (Toll Road), Steve Austin (Dan Paine), David Zayas (General Garza), Giselle Itié (Sandra), Terry Crews (Hale Caesar), See all »
Director Sylvester Stallone
Producer Millennium Films, Nu Image Films, Rogue Marble, See all »
Distributor Lionsgate Films

“Semper Fight. Heroes today. Legends forever.”

Movies in this series: “The Expendables” (2010), The Expendables 2 (2012), The Expendables 3 (2014)

Expendable: Capable of being sacrificed in order to accomplish a military objective.

Sylvester Stallone has done it again. He has crafted an action thriller that moves his Rambo image up a notch into the 21st century and proves he’s still got it. The screenplay was written by Stallone and screenwriter Dave Callaham, and the film was directed by Stallone, as well. On a well thought out promotional note, Stallone has seen to it the younger crowd has access to his “The Expendables” characters, as a comic book prequel, written by American comic book writer Chuck Dixon and illustrated by Esteve Polls, which was released ahead of the film’s début, in May 2010.

For the action/thriller crowd, “The Expendables” will be action hero heaven, as this film includes just about every major actor connected with that film genre in the last 25 years. With cameo appearances by none other than California Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger as well as Bruce Willis, “The Expendables” offers not just hard hitting action, but tongue in cheek dialogue that will satisfy those of us who know their modern day warrior reputations well.

After long time rival Trench (Arnold Schwarzenegger) turns down the mission, Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) leader of a band of mercenaries more like brothers than a military unit, are hired by the mysterious Mr. Church (Bruce Willis) to infiltrate the South American country of Vilena and overthrow its ruthless leader, General Garza (David Zayas of “Dexter” fame). Their objective is to bring some resemblance of peace to its war torn people.

The team behind Ross is made up of Lee Christmas (Jason Statham), Ross’s best friend and a former SAS who is a master with a blade. Yin Yang (Jet Li), supreme at close-quarter combat, fast and lethal for his size. Hale Ceaser (Terry Crews), also Ross’s close friend of ten years, a long-barrel weapons specialist. Toll Road (Randy Couture) skilled in demolitions and considered the intellect of the group. Gunner Jensen (Dolph Lundgren) a combat veteran, an expert in precision sniping, but who is struggling with an addiction and proves to be the thorn in Ross’s side.

As a cover, the band all meet at Tool’s Tatoo owned and run by long time confidant Tool (Mickey Rourke). It is within these hard walls the plans for all their strikes are planned. It is here that they all fraternize, and it is here they are allowed to be themselves, under the sage counsel of the ever present Tool. They all love muscle cars, Harleys (complete with the ‘Expendables’ insignia) and women.

The team soon embark on what seems to them as a routine mission—to overthrow Garza, but on a reconnaissance mission to the island country of Vilena and meeting with their contact, Sandra (Giselle Itié), they learn who their true enemy is. Rogue ex-CIA operative James Monroe (Eric Roberts) and his right hand man Paine (Steve Austin) who have infiltrated the government, using Garza as a puppet ruler, while Monroe and his cronies rake in millions of dollars from illegal drug trafficking.

When the mission goes dangerously wrong, Ross and Christmas are forced to leave Sandra behind as a hostage, essentially sealing her fate, knowing it’s a death sentence. Haunted by this failure, Ross sets out to return to Vilena on his own to save her, but when his comrades learn of his personal mission, the bonds they have forged as brothers remain intact. They all return with Ross to finish the job they started, leaving some serious damage in their wake.

With a rating of “R” for strong action and bloody violence, and for some language, it’s obvious an action movie of this type will have an abundance of theatrical violence. There is a scene with a very ‘busty’ woman on a motorcycle, but no other obvious nudity or explicit sex. There is a scene near the end in which the heroin, Sandra, is about to be raped, but the Ross character comes to her rescue, long before anything happens. Surprisingly, I only noted five uses of the f-word along with a few d*mns, along with one person being referred to as a dip-sh*t. Objection-meter: There is one scene with Willis where he refers to a vulgar sexual act.

For all the violence, the red flag warnings here are much more cerebral than in your face foul language. There are scenes of beating, stabbing, bones breaking, hands, arms and heads being cut completely off, and all very realistic. Blood spurts everywhere, and the realistic way this all takes place is mind-blowing, even for adults. Add to that non-stop scenes of torture, people being blown up, burned up, sliced up, and beat up, and you’ve got yourself an action flick not for the faint of heart or NOT for any one under the age of 18. It is a classic action fest, at best, and traumatizingly realistic, at worst. A Christian who feels it is objectionable to his/her beliefs to view this violence and graphic action is advised not to buy a ticket.

If anything is redeeming in the story of “The Expendables,” it is the portrayal of friendship that knows no bounds and the struggle to defend the oppressed and helpless. In true action film style, the good guys do their dirty work while never harming one innocent bystander, as opposed to the bad guys, who barrel through the movie with reckless abandon, never caring if the innocent get in their way.

In the end, Ross and the entire band, forgive Gunner for his transgressions to their trust, and take him back into the fold. I know some will feel this is a stretch and not very realistic, but this is a very Christ-like action and should not be taken lightly. I feel the fact that an action hero can be so dirty, bloody and gritty by the end of the movie while his knives and guns remain sparkling and spotless, is way more of a stretch.

I could go on and on about the obvious problems a Christian movie goer would have with the violence, spattering of foul language and bloodshed in this or any action flick, but suffice it to say, “The Expendables” is an action packed, hard-hitting thriller that is sure to please anyone who enjoys the genre. The script as well as the story are predictable and holds no intellectual epiphanies.

Stallone has done a great job of what he’s always done, and that is to entertain us with a bevy from the action hero hall of fame, some great car chases, blow-em-ups and fight sequences while presenting us with a memorable character, which by the way, he intends to return to us in a sequel already in the works.

As a Christian who is not violent, I will not be going back to see this film, once was enough. But for others who are true Stallone fans, you will not be disappointed.

Violence: Extreme / Profanity: Heavy / Sex/Nudity: Heavy

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Positive—…I saw the movie “The Expendables” last night and I must say, if you like loud movies that involve guns that make people explode, trucks with engines that sound like monster trucks involved in chase scenes, and lots of explosions caused by men that even at 60 would still own you, then, yes, see this movie.

I would like to mention this is a bloody movie. Men are ripped in half by shotguns, and an AA12, which is a heavy machine gun that sounds like a small cannon. Also, Jason Statham’s character doesn’t use guns, but knives, and man he’s like Legolas sometimes with that thing. See all »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
Ricky, age 18 (USA)
Positive—The movie was real good, and the acting to, but there was Bruce Willis and Mickey Rourke that were using the Lord’s Name in vain and few “f” word that shouldn’t have been used, and, also, there was one scene where Mickey Rourke was sitting on a Motorcycle with this woman that gotten off the bike, and she sat there and let him touch her on the bottom that was uncalled for, but the movie was itself was clean and no nudity, but I wouldn’t let any small children…
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 3
Bugsbunny, age N/A (USA)
Positive—Although this movie I rated as offensive for the violence, I still enjoyed it. There was no sex in it, which was impressive. This movie delivers as a fast paced fun action movie, with lots of butt kicking! My husband loved it, and I thought it was pretty good, too.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3½
Holly, age 34 (USA)
Positive—I saw the Extended Cut of “The Expendables” yesterday, and I think it’s a vast improvement over the theatrical cut. Whereas the theatrical version was very dark-literally-during the first half of the climax, the Extended Cut has light during the scene, so the viewer can see what is actually happening. Plus, there’s some additional character development, and a song featured in one of the television trailers plays during the second half of the climax.

The Extended Cut also begins with a voice-over by Stallone, who also wrote and directed the film. I highly recommend the Extended Cut of The Expendables. Biblically, the movie earns its R rating. There is literally strong violence throughout and some strong language, including several uses of a religious profanity, which I personally think is unfortunate. God saith, Thou shalt not take the Name of the LORD thy God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh His Name in vain. Surprisingly, there’s also a misuse of Jesus’ Name by Stallone, who doesn’t usually curse or swear in his films.

There are some mild sexual innuendos and one strong sexual reference in a key scene with three well-known actors. There is no nudity. With the above reservations concerning the language and the strong sexual reference, I recommend the movie, specifically the Extended Cut.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
D, age 27 (USA)
Neutral—I would have to rate this movie as a neutral. I can stand it when they put foul language in an action movie but there isn’t anything coming out of hollywood that doesn’t. Overall, I enjoyed the plot of the movie. But I can’t recommend it due to the 2 GD’s, numbers f-bombs, etc. As far as the violence it was pretty intense. There were a few moments were I thought they were trying to be excessively graphic which was unnecessary. But, it is an action movie, and as such I expected there to be violence. The movie was no were near as violent or as profanity laced as the last “Rambo” movie.

If I were to watch it again, I would wait for it to come out on DVD and using my language filter on my DVD player cut out the language. Either that or wait for it eventually to come out on cable. I would definitely not take children to see this movie.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
Ken, age 37 (USA)
Neutral—Went because the earlier review I read here did not list any blasphemy, however, I heard three G*D D*MNs, and I think at least one use of JESUS' name in vain.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
Mark, age 47 (USA)
Neutral—For months I waited for this movie to come out. It was, among many many other things, one of the objects I kept on the backburner, something to look forward to, while I was overseas. I knew I had to make it home to see my family, friends, Buffalo Wild Wings, “Predators”, and “The Expendables”. Verily, I can say I have now seen and spent time with all of these things. God bless America.

So, contrary to my initial belief that with SOOOOOO many “action stars” packed into one movie, this movie is neither really poor or really amazing. I *thought* there would be no middle ground with such a star-studded screen. Fail! There is a middle ground of mediocrity, 'twixt abomination and exultation, that “The Expendables” straddles rather nicely. See all »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3½
Mega Tron, age 24 (USA)
Neutral—This movie was the first movie I have ever watched that was that violent. I have to say, even though it did gross me out, it was a cool movie.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
Joanna Childress, age 20 (USA)
Negative—I agree with Mega Tron: this is a guy’s movie. Yet, even my husband was turned off by the lack of reality or story. Why should we care about any of the characters? Not one of them is developed beyond the point of a cardboard cutout. The whole thing just reminded me of the '80s bang 'em up action movies. I guess I’ve seen enough movies to expect something more. Glad I didn’t waste money on going to a theater to see this!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 2
MJ, age 40 (USA)