Posts Tagged ‘The Expendables’


87699“The Expendables,” the new film starring every action star known to man, including Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham and Arnold Schwarzenegger (and that’s just the Ss!), is a nostalgia fest celebrating those cinematic days of yore when gangs of mercenaries led by action heroes like Dolph Lundgren could bring down governments and spread the American way of life armed only with an arsenal of guns, knives, grenades and one liners. That the heyday of this kind of movie, and most of the actors in it, was twenty-five years ago is not going to prevent “The Expendables” from kicking butt and lots of it.

In this blood and testosterone splattered story Stallone leads a group of freelance soldiers—knife tosser Lee Christmas (Jason Statham) hand-to-hand expert Ying Yang (Jet Li), sniper Gunner (Dolph Lundgren), big gun toter Terry Crews and MMA superstar Randy Couture—whose motto is “if the money’s right we don’t care where the job is.” When they take a job to bring down a dictator (David Zayas who plays Angel on “Dexter”) and American drug lord (Eric Roberts, whose sister Julia has a very different kind of movie opening on the same day as this one) on the South American Isle of Vilena, however, they may have finally found one hotspot worse than Bosnia, Sierra Leone and all the other hellish places they’ve fought for pay, combined. The only thing than can get them to go back there is—you guessed it—a woman. Cue the explosions.

Like the classic rock that makes up the bulk of the soundtrack from “The Expendables” the whole movie has a familiar ring to it. All the usual direct-to-video action movie clichés are well represented from big guns—6’ 5” Dolph’s guns and knives are almost as big as he is—to tricked out motorcycles and tattoos to tough guy talk—“I’ll cut you up into dog treats!” says one character—but despite guns big enough to turn anything that gets in the way into “instant red sauce and jello” the action scenes aren’t as over-the-top as they should be. Any movie where Action Stars from Another Age©–Stallone, Lundgren, Arnold—meet the up-and-comers—Couture and Crews—should be ninety minutes of trigger happy, mindless manish boy fun, but screenwriters Stallone and David Callaham had to go and ruin the enjoyment by inserting character arcs and God forbid, subtext. Way to ruin a perfectly good action pic Sly.

Not that there aren’t some retina scorching action scenes. Stallone (who also directed) uses each of the individual talents of his actors well—it’s always a pleasure to see Jet Li in action—and several things blow up real good, but when the movie tries to go deep it stumbles. When Mickey Rourke, who plays Tool, a former soldier of fortune who now sets up their engagements—think Charlie on “Charlie’s Angels”—drones on about trying to “save what was left of my soul” it grinds the movie to a near halt.

Luckily the movie’s climax should give action fans what they’re looking for—lots of punching, kicking, flying bullets and knives and a spectacular explosion—but like its Action Stars from Another Age© the rest of film seems a little long in the tooth by that point.

Dolph Lundgren is Back with “The Expendables” Thursday, August 12, 2010 By Richard Crouse

MOVIES_Expendables_DolphConsidering what happened after the last time they appeared on screen together it’s a wonder Sylvester Stallone would consider working with Dolph Lundgren again. While shooting the boxing scenes for Rocky IV, the movie that made the 6′ 5″ Lundgren a household name, the Swedish actor hit Stallone so hard the Italian Stallion’s heart slammed up against his breastbone and began to swell, limiting the oxygen flow throughout his body.

An eight day stay in intensive care cured the problem, but may also explain why Stallone waited twenty-five years to invite Dolph back into the ring. The pair, along with action movie legends Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jason Statham (and that’s just the Ss!), star in The Expendables, an all star all action movie opening on August 13.

When asked why he’s reteamed with Stallone after so many years Lundgren says, “Well, first of all Mr. Sly Stallone. Anything he writes and directs is something I’d be interested in doing.”

He was cautious, however, of keeping up with some of the younger members of the cast. “All my roles are tough physically, but this one was different because I knew I was up against people like [former NFL footballer] Terry Crews and [wrestler] Stone Cold Steve Austin. Not small guys and pretty rough and developed so I thought I gotta do more weights. So I did a lot of weights for my upper body to get a little beefier. My arms were still smaller than Terry Crews, but I think I was somewhere up there.

“Physically, I do a lot of martial arts fighting, and that is pretty much what I did for this film although I can pretty much handle the fighting at any time.”

Lundgren has been practicing Kyokushinkai Karate (a Japanese style of martial arts) since age fourteen, has a third degree black belt and next year, at age 54, plans on getting his fourth degree and will do a demonstration at the world championships in Tokyo.

As a child he says the study of karate helped him to develop self confidence, discipline and a sense of who he was. Today he finds the practice aids him in keeping grounded and is “an antidote to Hollywood and the trappings of that lifestyle. It takes discipline, etiquette and you have to have a certain outlook on life that is simple and elegant. It’s not a self centered or egocentric type of sport.”

Lundgren still works out four or five days a week and has no plans to slow down on his work schedule of pumping out one or two action films a year. “It’s a way of making a living for me because people want to see me do it,” he says. “In an action movie you can have fun and be a kid and play with guns and cars… and a few beautiful women if you’re lucky. At the same time when you are directing you get an intellectual challenge as well because you are making all the decisions about music and editing. It’s is a great job. It’s hard work but very challenging and very rewarding.”