Posts Tagged ‘The Expendables’

Review: The Expendables

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010

In making The Expendables, Sly Stallone had a mission: To assemble the world’s greatest action stars and make the world forget that these men can barely walk up a flight of stairs anymore, let alone jump from a rooftop into the back of a flaming pick-up truck full of zombie soldiers with Uzis. He accomplished this goal by leaving out the truck, the undead monsters and the fire-arms. As a result, the pace of this film is somewhat slower than one might expect.

Stallone and Jason Statham star as a couple of insurance salesmen who long to throw off the shackles of corporate life and open up a Chinese restaurant. They know how to run a business and they have the capital to get it off the ground, but neither man is Chinese. That’s where Jet Li comes in. Stallone and Statham find Li in an alley feeding rancid tuna to stray cats. When they notice that Li is Chinese, they decide to hire him as their head chef. The only problem? Li can’t cook to save his life. When he was was a small child, he accidentally dropped a huge pot of boiling water on his head while trying to make breakfast for his mom. Since then, Li has been too terrified of stoves to even set foot in a kitchen. Still optimistic, Stallone and Statham decide that all Li needs is a little therapy and some culinary lessons. Bruce Willis makes a cameo as Li’s psychiatrist, and Dolph Lundgren plays the uptight master chef who teaches Li how to cook. In one hilarious scene, Willis confronts Lundgren with a wooden spoon because he feels the grizzled chef is being too hard on Li. For the most part, though, this movie is very serious.

Arnold Schwarzenegger plays a health inspector sent to evaluate the new restaurant. Anyone who thinks Arnold Schwarzenegger doesn’t have the acting chops for drama needs to see the scene where he realizes he has been poisoned and is about to die after Li accidentally serves him rancid tuna. There was not a dry eye in the theater when, with his dying breath, Arnie forgives Li and tells him to never give up his dream of being a chef. All those other actors that you’ve heard are in the movie play customers who are also accidentally poisoned by Li. It’s pretty anti-climactic, actually. Still, if they’re not going to get Van Damme or Steven Seagal, who really cares what happens to Eric Roberts or Mickey Rourke or Randy Couture. I don’t even know who Randy Couture is, actually. Did I even spell his name right? I’m too lazy to check. Anyway, I think this is a pretty good movie. Especially if, like me, you’ve always wanted to open up a restaurant but were too afraid that you might accidentally kill people with your cooking. Inspiring stuff.