Beefed-Up Stallone Expands for The Expendables
Words: Mark 'Lenny' Linehan
SYLVESTER Stallone has leapt off the mobility scooter, kicked his stair-lift to the kerb and bulked up again to star as the leader of The Expendables. The basic plot revolves around Barney Ross (Stallone) heading up a crack team of Mercenaries to overthrow an evil dictator on a non-descript South American island.
That is all you need to know. Throw in a rogue C.I.A. Agent (Eric Roberts), a beautiful native (Giselle Itié), a naughty Dictator General, huge weaponry, several decapitations, huge explosions, tattoos, large bikes, a souped up pick-up truck, as well as a reunion of 1980s hard men exhumed from the movie grave, and you have every cliché ticked off in this painting by numbers flick.
So, why is it so much fun?!
Well, there's a cameo from the Governator himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger, who appears for the first time in cinema history alongside Bruce Willis and Stallone. It doesn't exactly crackle like the highly anticipated De Niro and Pacino scene in Heat, but it does feature a line which is, according to Stallone, "worth the ticket price alone." In referring to the sexual act, intimated by the Willis character, Mr. Church, he told The Sunday Times, "I can't believe Bruce said that us two, the Terminator and Rambo should go and do something like that!"
According to reports, Rocky himself suffered a bruised spine, a fracture in a disc, ruptured tendons, and had to have operations on both shoulders. It was reported that he broke his back while filming, but he is clearly willing to give it his all physically, "People dismiss action films as easy, but they should try it!" He said that he refused an operation and shot up cortisone on set instead. For a man about to hit pension age he has veins on his arms like contour lines on a map. Stallone isn't the only one putting his aging body on the line. Although it does look like he refuses to go gracefully (himself and Rourke look like they use the same Botox doctor, while the "beefing up" of the actors involved would make 'The Expandables' a more appropriate title).
The combined ages of the main cast make it sound more like an episode of Last of The Summer Wine or Grampa Simpson's WWII Unit - 'The Flying Hellfish'. Stallone (64) Schwarzenegger (63), Willis (55), Mickey Rourke (57), Dolph Lundgren (52) and Jet Li (47). Jean Claude Van Damme is supposed to have turned down a role as his character "didn't have enough substance" (Hey Jean, I do believe The Royal Shakespeare Company are rehearsing for a stage version of Timecop). Steven Seagal and Wesley Snipes also turned down roles.
However, as a revival of the quintessential no-brainer action flick of the 1980s, The Expendables is more like The A-Team than the The A-Team remake. It is awash with cheesy lines, ridiculous stunts and a comically high hit count, but it does exactly what it says on the tin. It is Universal Soldier, Rambo, Commando, Red Dawn, Cobra, Missing in Action, the list goes on. Watching this, I briefly returned to my early teenage years. This couldn't be more of a lad's movie if it sat on a couch with a can of lager scratching its neither regions. Stallone spends his time on screen letting us know that he still has 'it'. Although if 'it' means a vain beefed-up Dorian Gray who refuses to let go of his action man mantle, we could really be expecting to see Rambo: Nursing Home Vengeance: Part II and Rocky 17: The Complan Years hitting our screens over the coming years.
The Expendables is out now.
Check out Mark, aka 'Lenny the Movie Man' on TodayFM. Every Thursday night on KC's show 10-12midnight.
Story by EI Team | 09:00 | Friday 20th August 2010 | Movie
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