By: John M Jerva
Yeah, yeah, I know I’m a little late to the party because I’ve been on vacation but what kind of action film blogger would I be if I didn’t serve up my own little celebration of one of the greatest action film ideas to ever come down the line. On August 13th, 2010, Sylvester Stallone assembled one of the greatest action star casts ever in one feature film when The Expendables officially hit theaters with a vengeance.
While the film didn’t live up to some people’s rather lofty expectations, I thought that the film was one kick ass love letter from Stallone to action film lovers everywhere. Stallone made it his personal mission to crank out one epic barrage of masculinity and I felt that he succeeded in the film which saw a group of battle hardened mercenaries who waged war on a dictator and the corrupt ex- CIA operative who was the real villain.
When the trailer first came out which showcased Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Eric Roberts, Mickey Rourke and more doing what they do best to the song Diamond Eyes from Shinedown, I knew we had an action film bonanza on our hands. Was it perfect? No, but it still served its purpose and I consider it one of my favorites to this day.
The theatrical cut was good but Stallone’s Director’s cut enhanced the film with more depth, action and characterization. Not to mention that they corrected a major wrong in the theatrical release by not including Shinedown’s song in the film. I never understood why it was left out after it was all over the marketing for the film. The extended cut not only featured the song during the finale when Barney Ross (Sly) and his merry band of Mercs storm out of the palace with guns blazing but they also included the full length tune during the credits at the end.
As good as the final firefight was, I always loved the brawl in the tunnel even better as it was a wonderfully violent blend of fisticuffs and firepower. Not to mention that it had Action legend Gary Daniels taking on both Jet Li and Statham as well as Couture dumping people on their heads but it ended with one bombastic display of carnage as Terry Crews’ Hail Caeser mows down a small army with his automatic shotgun culminating in one of the greatest lines ever when he yelled “remember this shit at Christmas!”
The film, of course, delivered two sequels which I loved as well (yes I love the third film so sue me) and while we wait patiently for a fourth film that is constantly teased to us, we have this film to celebrate action and all its greatness. After all, this is the film that got Sly, Arnold Schwarzenegger, who was the governor of California at the time, and Bruce Willis all in the same room at the same time in a movie. That was worth it right there.
I remember when the film was first announced and that Stallone, Statham and Li would be teaming up but it seemed that every day after that was like Christmas when a new and awesome cast member was announced. Sure there are many candidates that they could have chosen but for the ones they got, it was truly Action heaven. This is my opinion of course and I’m sure there are many who would question it but I have my reasons for loving this film and its future entries so much.
This past Thursday was the ten year anniversary of the film and with it, we have one unapologetic film that knows what it is and makes no excuses for what it is. It is one of the best examples of a throwback action film to ever come down the pike and even though there’s some dreaded CGI blood, it still has the look and feel of a movie that came out in the 80’s and 90’s and Stallone, in my eyes, succeeded in delivering
With that, sit back, relax and enjoy the ferocious tunnel brawl (it’s the theatrical cut version but that’s ok) from the film where action legends and icons go toe to toe and we as an audience are better because of it. BOOM-LAY BOOM-LAY BOOM!!!