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Stallone brings the boys together for 'The Expendables' Jeri Jacquin | Thu, Aug 12 2010 06:52 PM

Opening in theaters this Friday from director Sylvester Stallone and Lionsgate comes a action film with lots of star power: “The Expendables.”

This film tells the story of Barney Ross (Stallone), leader of a band of mercenaries that will do almost anything if the price is right. His men include Lee Christmas (Jason Straitham), a former SAS man who has a thing for knives.

Also in the pack are Yin Yang (Jet Li), the master of close contact combat, demolitions expert Toll Roads (Randy Couture), weapons specialist Hale Cesar (Terry Crews), and sniper Gunnar Jensen (Dolph Lundgren).

At Ross’ headquarters, Tool (Mickey Rourke) sets up another job. Ross has a meeting with Mr. Church (Bruce Willis) and Trench (Arnold Schwarzenegger) about a job that requires their special talents. The job is to overthrow dictator General Garza. It doesn’t take long for the men to pack their bags and head out.

As the job goes wrong, there are enemies without and within that cause innocent people to get hurt. Ross won’t stop until those responsible pay and those in trouble are freed.
What they don’t know is whom they can trust, and if you can’t be trusted, well, “The Expendables” will deal with it.

Final word:
Stallone as Ross is plain and simply Stallone. He does what he has always done and that’s get in the thick of things with the biggest gun he can find. He has aligned himself with a cast of guys who each has a role to play. So, although this might be a Stallone film, he doesn’t mind sharing the screen time.

Straitham is very cool as Christmas and plays off Stallone’s character extremely well. Li uses his martial arts talent here and is the butt of some short jokes. Couture, Crews and Lundgren are the tall muscle here.

Rourke, although his appearance is short, has a pretty cool speech thrown in that leads to the three big action heroes of Stallone, Schwarzenegger and Willis sharing a little bit of historical screen time together.

At Comic-Con only a few weeks ago, Stallone was asked what made him want to be an action hero. He said, “I was a late bloomer. I loved films where the underdog saves people. I never watched films like “On the Waterfront” because I was too busy watching Steve Reeves!”

On making the film, Terry Crews as Hale Cesar says, “Sly has created what action films are today. This film is a love letter to every fan of action films.”

Other cast include: Eric Roberts as Munroe, Steve Austin as Paine, David Zayas as General Garza, Gary Daniels as The Brit, Charisma Carpenter as Lacy, and Giselle Itie as Sandra.

Tubs of popcorn: I give “The Expendables” three tubs of popcorn out of five. This is exactly what you’d expect it to be. A big film filled with everything, including the kitchen sink of Schwarzenegger and Willis if the cast isn’t manly enough for you.

Coming in at 103 minutes you can be sure the success of the film will be the bang and bullets. This is an action film made the way most of us have come to love action films — raw, bare handed, knuckle busting, face ripping, very little CGI, male bonding and quips.

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