Here they are, “the REAL A-Team,” the pride and joy of big, bloody ’80s action movies, back for a last roundup.
“The Expendables,” Sylvester Stallone’s all-star mercenary movie, is a deliriously retro ride into Reagan-era blockbusters. The testosterone drips off the screen as Sly, Dolph Lundgren, Jet Li, Jason Statham, Terry Crews and Randy Couture go out rootin’, tootin’ and shootin’ black- and brown- people in various Godforsaken parts of the world.
It’s a gonzo action film from a guy who has forgotten more about making action films than most of the filmmakers who followed him. So the brawls are bigger, the guns are louder, the explosions more epic than in any other film this summer.
Stallone is Barney, the leader of the pack of mercenaries hired first to free some sailors taken hostage by Somali pirates, then sent to take down the dictator of a fictional Caribbean nation.
All these dudes ride motorcycles. They get their jobs through a tattoo artist, played with a grizzled glee by Mickey Rourke.
There’s a rogue American behind the dictator/drug lord. He’s played by Eric Roberts, of course. Ex-wrestler Steve Austin is his muscle.
And there’s a girl (Giselle Itie) who needs rescuing. Of course.
Here, for the first and probably only time, are Stallone, Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger, in one (pointless) scene together.
Here, for what will almost certainly be the last time, Stallone takes a serious licking, struggles to sprint away from bullets and bombs (dude has some hard mileage) and dreams of getting the girl.
Li is here for the “short” jokes. And short shrift; he only gets one decent martial-arts fight and one truck chase.
Statham, the heir to the action hero crown that Sly, Bruce and Arnold once shared, out-kicks and out-cools them all.
The shootouts are epic, but the stuff leading up to them is lame. The macho men still deliver, but this is less an ensemble piece than “Losers” or “A-Team” – not that Lundgren, Crews or UCF fighter Couture could carry more than a scene each.
Novelty aside, with “Losers” already on DVD and “A-Team” on its way there, “The Expendables” feels, well, disposable – a movie whose nostalgia isn’t enough to make this .50-caliber trip down Memory Lane worth the fake napalm.
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