The Expendables – Review (Film)

I remember hearing more and more casting news on The Expendables – with an ever expanding list of action stars added to the list we were expecting something special.

So did Sly Stallone and co. deliver on the promise of The Expendables?

Pretty much I’d say.

The Expendables are a bunch of highly trained mercenaries who take care of people’s problems, for a price.

The film tells the story of a mission gone wrong as The Expendables head to South America to overthrow a dictator.

The plot is as outlandish as you’d expect and with a cast list featuring Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture, Steve Austin, Terry Crews, Mickey Rourke and Bruce Willis you know what’s in store. Explosions, gunfire and shouting.

But it’s not just about that. Some of the banter between characters is excellent (usually featuring the great Jet Li) and the feeling of togetherness the group has is portrayed well.

It’s not without its share of mis-steps though. The ’emotional’ scene with Rourke and Stallone was ridiculous and could’ve been handled with a lot more subtlety. As much good banter as there was between characters it didn’t stop other parts feeling stiff or just too cheesy.

Overall then The Expendables is well worth a watch if you like action films. There is enough going on and plenty of explosions to keep you entertained, unfortunately it’s when Stallone tries to dig a little deeper that things fall a bit flat.

Rating 8/10

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Rambo: First Blood – Review (DVD)

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It’s nice to be able to watch a ‘classic’ film for the first time and be old enough to appreciate it.

I remember watching countless 18 rated films from the age of 15 upwards – Robocop, Alien, Friday The 13th (the later parts :smile:) and many more besides. Whether it was down to my friends or my own taste at the time, none of them were war/army films.

So I know I have a lot of catching up to do over the years and this started at the weekend with a DVD viewing of Sylvester Stallone in Rambo: First Blood.

As an aside one quick comment on how amazing this looked (for such an old film) on the PS3’s DVD Upscaler. As my friend said, I can’t imagine it would be much better on Blu-Ray.

The film itself was a pleasant surprise. My knowledge of Rambo consists of seeing trailers and paradies in other films so I was expecting a bullet-fest with Rambo taking on all comers.

What I got was the story of a war veteran clearly struggling to adapt to life after the conflict. Realising he is the only one to have survived in his squad (not all were killed in battle, one of the men died from cancer (albeit contracted in action) upon his return) it’s a chance meeting with local sheriff Will Teasle that triggers the events that see John Rambo go on the offensive.

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The sheriff tries to escort Rambo out of the town because they don’t want drifters or vagrants settling in the town. He gives him a lift to the edge of town and tells him to be on his way.

Rambo pays him no heed and heads straight back towards town and Teasle arrests him. During his initial incarcaration the brutal treatment by the police officers sees Rambo (in full post traumatic stress disorder mode) flashback to ‘Nam and beat his way out of the station to make his escape.

The story continues with the police hunting Rambo through the local forest and a great final battle back in the town.

One of the things I liked best about this film was the restraint of the main character. Rambo seemed reluctant to actually kill anyone – instead setting up traps to incapacitate them.

Another plus point was the awesome Brian Dennehy as Will Teasle – Dennehy, in my opinion, is a fantastic actor.

The story was well written and John Rambo was played well by Sylvester Stallone as a troubled man – a killing machine who suddenly finds himself with no purpose back in ‘civilsed’ society.

I really enjoyed Rambo: First Blood, it was genuinely surprising for me to get a great, well crafted story when I was expecting gun fluff nonsense and a high body count.

Rating: 8/10

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