The plot isn’t really all that relevant. In fact, you probably won’t even notice it because you aren’t watching this film for the plot: you’re watching for the actors. In any event, the film opens with the Expendables conducting a hostage rescue mission in Nepal. They pull off the rescue and rescue Trench (Arnold Schwarzenegger) in the process. After this, they return to New Orleans, where they are forced by Mr. Church (Bruce Willis) of the CIA to accept a mission.
The rest of the story involves Stallone, Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture, Terry Crews, and Yu Nan chasing Van Damme, who is using slave labor to try to dig weapons grade plutonium out of a mine, where the Russians stored it at the end of the cold war.
Why This Film WorkedI said at the intro that I didn’t really care for the The Expendables. That’s true. I loved the idea of all these 1980’s action stars getting together and making an action movie together. I also loved the idea that it was more like an 80’s action film than a modern film. The idea of those things rocked...
...but the execution left me cold.
When I watched the film, I felt that they made poor use of all these action stars. Some were only on screen for a few minutes and most didn’t do much. There was no “Battle Royale” so to speak either, where they all came together for one massive fire fight. Moreover, while the film had a bit of an 80’s feel to it, it wasn’t that different from modern action films. The ultimate problem was that the film took itself too seriously as an action film.
Ultimately, these things make this movie really enjoyable. This film absolutely captures the spirit of what this type of movie needs to be: a friendly trip down memory lane as you get to see all your old heroes joking around and having a good time as they have some fun with the excesses of their prior work. So is this a great movie? No. But it is a fun movie and it will leave you smiling. I definitely recommend this one.