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September 20, 2010 | by  | in Film | [ssba]

The Expendables

The Expendables
Director: Sylvester Stallone

The Expendables is marketed as a throwback to the eighties; a vehicle starring a bunch of the action stars from the last twenty years with a plot about a Latin American dictatorship. In a way, it is Sylvester Stallone’s answer to Charlie Chaplin’s Limelight, but instead of a film about being a vaudevillian, Stallone made a film about what it means to be a hard-bodied 1980s action star. It’s the closest Stallone will ever come to doing an art film, and in this respect the movie works: the film’s too flashy and ‘new’ to be one of those 1980s hard-body films, yet too ‘real’ to be a pastiche. That said, it’s still viscerally exciting and undeniably manly, with bros beating on bros and breaking their bonds of broship before becoming bros again.

Because of its atemporality (a fancy word for it being a throwback) there is a heap of things that just miscarry throughout the film, the most egregious being an attempt to find something for Jason Statham to do. Stallone does this by giving Statham a tarted up Charisma Carpenter to avenge when the man she cruelly replaced Statham with starts beating on her. The women of the film are paper cut-outs to be brutalised and save, but that’s the source material—isn’t it? The film does do something remarkable, going out of its way to present water-boarding as actual, unbearable torture, unlike almost every other facet of American media since 2004. Watching Stallone make political statements in that vein while maintaining his warped form of artistic integrity almost makes the film worthwhile.



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Nic Sando is a god amongst men, fifteen fathoms high he be, with strange and wyrd powers at his disposal. Only a fool won't harken his ears to the east when he hears The Sando man stumping his way.

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