by Clint Fletcher
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The release of the long-awaited mangasm The Expendables is just a little surreal to guys my age. Sure, as young lads we often spoke of witnessing such a movie where all of our favorite action heroes do battle with one another on the big screen, but very rarely does it actually happen in reality. Fathoming an event like The Expendables always seemed too good to be true. This is the same reason why many fan boys just can’t believe an Avengers movie is coming together.
But low and behold, a magical picture we’ve dreamed about since we were young teens creaming in our jeans has finally come to fruition. If you’re reading this and have a penis, you know exactly what I’m talking about. How many times in your life have you had the “versus” conversation with your buddies about who could kick who’s ass and why? How many times did you spend countless hours thinking of the perfect fight match-ups between action stars? Thanks to Stallone and his holy combination of old and new, some of the answers racking our male brains for decades finally arrive.
I won’t waste time with plot since every other review on the planet mentions it. Truthfully, in a flick like this, plot matters not. All that matters is death and destruction, and this baby delivers both in hordes. Let’s get straight to it. There are three legendary fights that will get your 13 year-old juices flowing again. First, there’s Jet Li versus Dolph Lundgren. I wish I could say this was a fight to the death like the others, but alas, we’ll settle for a lengthy match in a dark warehouse. It’s always fun to see little Asian bad-asses fight bad actors three times their size, and this is no exception. Lundgren, as wretched as he is in the talent department, has been a typical contestant in our minds with versus fights. I blame Rocky IV for this (and for the Cold War).
Next is Stallone versus Stone Cold. Again, much like the fight mentioned above, you root for Stallone to win simply because Steve Austin’s acting is so bad that you want him to die as quickly as possible. But the fact that Stallone can still throw down at age 64 is flat out amazing. This fight had a lot of buzz this Summer thanks to the fact that Austin broke Sly’s neck, delaying filming for 3 months. Injuries well worth it, I’d say. Now, this isn’t quite as entertaining as a Stallone versus Schwarzenegger match (it’s to note that such a fight was written in the script, but Bruce Willis scratched it for their trifecta scene) but it’s still pretty damn spiffy. Then finally, there is a delicious Li/Statham tag-team match versus a baddy that will leave you with a decade-long boner and a craving for a War sequel. This whole scene where the gang infiltrates a South American palace (the last two fights happen simultaneously) will go down in history as one of the most entertaining action pieces in cinema. Success is also due, in part, to Terry Crews and his automatic shotgun. Absolutely deathtastic!
The Expendables gives every action star a scene or two to shine, with Stallone and Statham picking up most of the acting slack. This is a good thing, too, because other than these two and Mickey Rourke, the rest of the cast belongs in the Hasselhoff Hall of Fame. But I digress, as you may notice below, the acting doesn’t affect my perfect grade. Stallone wanted to recreate the 80’s action picture and that just wouldn’t be complete without superbly cheesy bad guys (go Eric Roberts!). Though I’m a little disappointed Van Damme, Snipes and Seagal couldn’t make it out for all the fun. Guess they’re too busy in court, raping somebody, or not working. I’m also curious as to why Sly and Co. didn’t reach out to more modern stars like Diesel, Tony Jaa and The Rock. Perhaps the budget didn’t allow too many big names? But it was pretty fucking sweet to see Sly, Bruce and Arnold finally share the screen, even if for a brief moment. Go Planet Hollywood!
In case I haven’t made it clear, I friggin loved every second of The Expendables. Much like the last Rocky and Rambo, I was glad this movie came together before all these guys got too damn old. It oozes 80’s nostalgia which will always be my favorite movie era. And Stallone’s twenty-first century comeback is, at long last, complete!!!
Clint Fletcher is a comedy writer who wants people to love him.
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