The Expendables (2010)

Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Jet Li, Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarznegger, Mickey Rourke, Charisma Carpenter, Eric Roberts, Randy Couture, Giselle Itié, Steve Austin, David Zayas

Directed by: Sylvester Stallone

Rating: 1 2 3 and a half

Jason Statham, Sylvester Stallone and Randy Couture in The Expendables

'If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire...'

Time out, time out, stop the bike. Wrong summer action blockbuster. This is the one where lots of old action movie heroes get together to chew gum and kick ass. And guess what? They're all out of gum.

Sly Stallone is Barney Ross, the seamy-faced leader of a crack team of outlaw muscle-bound mercenaries masterminded by Mickey Rourke's burnt out rockstar-esque tattooist-cum-underground M figure, Tools. (C'mon, don't tell me you aren't loving it already?)

But when these soldiers of fortune are hired (by Bruce Willis – who else?) to intervene in a military coup on a made-up South American island (yeah, well, the governor of California had turned the gig down)… oh hell, who am I kidding? There really is very little sensible plot to be salvaged from this seriously old school, action-packed shoot 'em up. And if, like me, you grew up loving the plot-lite fisticuffs that starred, well, most of the cast of The Expendables (Jean-Claude Van Damme, excluded, alas) you really won't give a damn.

Mickey Rourke as Tool in The Expendables

So, cross the cast's bullet-riddled back catalogue together and what do you get? Stallone as a world-weary, ropey-veined, gun-toting veteran seeking redemption from a career of violence. Jason Statham as his shaven-headed cockernee hardnut sidekick, seeking thrills down the barrel of a gun. Jet Li running up walls and kicking people in the head. Dolph Lundgren smashing people into walls before shooting them with big guns.  Stone Cold Steve Austin wrestling people.

Seriously, what more could you want? Explosions that shake the entire cinema? Tick. Stereotypical South American dictatorship nonsense that reminds you of that daft film Morecambe and Wise made? Tick. A beautiful Latino woman in peril (who thankfully escapes having to snog a Stallone who looks more like her battle-scarred granddad than her white knight)? All boxes checked.

Aside from the choppy-cutty Michael Mann style camerawork, there is nothing in this film that couldn't comfortably sit in an action movie straight from the mid '80s. Who needs mobile phones and computer hacking when you have motorcycles and jumping sideways firing two guns into the air?

Okay, so I feel slightly dirty for enjoying this ridiculously exploitative movie so much, but what can I say? Except maybe: 'Hasta la vista, baby…'

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