Reviewed by: Sheri McMurray
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 »|
|Producer:||Millennium Films, Nu Image Films, Rogue Marble, See all »|
“Semper Fight. Heroes today. Legends forever.”
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.