If only Stallone, who co-wrote the script, had hired a collaborator with a sense of humor. "The Expendables" is stuffed with the kind of wisecracks that substitute for men comparing their private parts, and these lines fall dead at a rate that rivals the flesh-and-blood carnage outside.
The banter is most painful in the short scene where Bruce Willis (in his only appearance onscreen, despite getting equal billing on the poster) meets Stallone to offer him an assassination mission. In walks a certain bulky Austrian who "wants to be president," and the two snap at each other like retired salesmen in Boca who once fought over the same account. Willis clearly enjoys pitting them against each other; why doesn't the script reheat some "Moonlighting"-era wisecrack for the occasion? (Only bad guy Eric Roberts ever gets a laugh here, and even he is hit-or-miss.)
When it comes to bullets and bombs, these guys expend plenty of them. But quantity doesn't guarantee quality. This is the kind of action that might satisfy you if you discovered it on a sun-bleached videotape in the 25-cent bin somewhere - a forgotten Cannon Films production whose biggest star was a shirtless guy with dead eyes and a funny name. But as the product of half the action stars still able to work in Hollywood? Sorry, IMDb users, but I'm not impressed.
Our grade: D
Genres: Adventure, Action
Running Time: 103 min
MPAA rating: R
Release Date: Aug 13, 2010