The Expendables is as much an A to Z of every action movie cliché as it is a who’s who of the leading men who used to populate them.
Boasting a line-up of Sylvester Stallone, Jet Li, Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Eric Roberts and Steve Austin, as well as cameos from Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger, the film is a flawed throwback to the testosterone-driven action vehicles of the mid 1980s to early 1990s.
Stallone, as co-writer and director, isn’t trying to re-define the genre so much as remind viewers of a less politically-correct time when men were men and women needed rescuing.
Hence, when an ageing group of mercenaries find their consciences pricked by the plight of a female resistance fighter, they decide to ‘sacrifice’ themselves to rescue her. Macho posturing, bone-crunching fights and big pyrotechnics ensue. It’s ironic that the best moments are the smaller ones – a three-way between Sly, Willis and Arnie, or Mickey Rourke looking rueful.
General release from Thurs 19 August.