Last night was the first test screening of Sylvester Stallone’s 80s-action-movie throwback, The Expendables and reader reviews have started to hit the net. Collider reader “TexMexes” was good enough to send us his thought on the film and we’ve included it in full after the jump. It’s a highly positive review of the film but just as a standard disclaimer, studios do send out planted reviews so just keep that caveat in the back of your mind when you read this. Also, this was just a test screening so things can and will change between now and the film’s August 13th release date.
Additionally, AICN has also landed a couple of reader reviews. One that’s lukewarm on the film and another one that’s positive. We’ve pulled some quotes from those reviews as well so you can check out those after the jump as well.
Finally, there was also a test screening of MacGruber last night so if any readers who saw it would like to throw us their thoughts on the film, just shoot us an e-mail at frosty@ collider.com and matt@ collider.com.
Hey Sir Steve,
Ever heard of a little movie called THE EXPENDABLES?!?!
Well, I did, and I swore I would never return to Chatsworth unless I had a good enough reason… Last night, Sly gave me 7 — Rourke, Crews, Couture, Stallone, Statham, Li, Lundgren!!!!
These are the guys who make up The Expendables, a group of merceneraries hired to overthrow an evil dictator (David Zayas from Dexter) and his crew of thugs (Eric Roberts, Steve Austin and assorted soldiers in black face paint).
If the plot sounds simple to you — it is. You walk into a movie like this expecting to see ACTION and CAST, and I have to say, I saw some of the most famous action stars of our time sharing the screen and killing baddies in ways I never even knew possible.
Here are my thoughts on the film. I’ve never posted anything like this before, but I’ve only ever been to completely shitty advance screenings before (LAND OF THE LOST anyone?).
We all knew this film had the greatest action stars of all time in one film together, but I was worried coming in that there wouldn’t be enough screen time / dialogue to make the film feel meaty…
Safe to say, Stallone has written a script that gives plenty of bits to every Expendable. Obviously, Statham is the winner here as the knife expert. His character (the badass with a heart) is played perfectly and his fight scenes are absolutely amazing. Trust me, you will look at knives with a newfound respect.
My second fave was Mickey Rourke, the tattoo artist of the gang, who acts as the wise sage throughout the film (think: The Wrestler but with guns instead of elbow drops).
Jet Li definitely has the comedy throughout the film, playing “the little guy” as he shows everyone what’s what… Lundgren was a bit of a miss for me, but only because I couldn’t understand half the stuff he was saying. Terry Crews and Randy Couture both fill in their roles excellently (esp Crews, the ammunitions expert, with his magic bullets).
Stallone — He’s in virtually every scene as the ringleader, but I was impressed by how he kind of hangs back and lets all of these other great action stars play out their roles.
As for the bad guys, obviously Eric Roberts is pitch-perfect evil incarnate. He was born to play a bad guy. Steve Austin is a solid block of beast. (There’s a fight scene in a tunnel at the end of the movie where he just Won’t Go Down.) David Zayas from Dexter surprised me as the dictator, although I could’ve done without the beret.
I think the biggest news, aside from all of these BIG NAMES, were 2 guys that I didn’t even know were fully confirmed for The Expendables — ARNOLD (The Governator) and BRUCE WILLIS. They have a hilarious scene together that’s very tongue in cheek. I’m really surprised Arnold was in this and said the things he said. (I won’t spoil the dialogue.) It just made the entire film come together in a really unique way.
Aside from THE CAST, blood is what we came to see, am I right?? Having seen all of the Rambos and really admired Rambo 4, I would label the action as a throwback to the vintage 80s actions movies we all know and loved (First Blood comes to mind).
Obviously, Sly is no James Cameron – and he doesn’t care to be. This isn’t a film you watch with 3-D glasses on. This is a throwback to the pre-special effects days and I found that jarring at first – What, a movie with no blue people?! – but as the film went on, I was cheering and pumping my fists with the rest of the crowd.
As for specific scenes, there are a number of memorable ones that I’m sure we’ll be dissecting for ages – Statham on the basketball court, the explosion on the dock, the tunnel fight and especially the extended climax at the end (where nothing and no one is left standing).
At the end of the day, I really admire what Sly has done here. He’s always had this ability to write strong character-driven stories. What makes The Expendables unique is that there are at least 10 compelling characters to follow… Here’s hoping there’s a sequel!
Here’s a piece from the mixed review sent to AICN:
Caught the Winnetka Pacific Theater advance screening of “The Expendables”. I thoroughly enjoyed the latest Rocky and Rambo movies and grew increasingly excited about this movie as the updates came in regarding who was joining the cast. Stallone had shown with Rambo that he could direct action, wasn’t afraid to throw in some over-the-top violence and this killer line up of names would certainly, in the very least, prove fun and exciting. As the film stands right now, Jean-Claude made a wise decision.
Stallone set out to do a straight-up homage to 80’s macho action hero flicks. The problem is he sticks so close to that formula and makes no concessions for the changes that have taken place in the last 20 years, he actually creates a movie that suffers for its commitment to being a throw back with nothing new brought to the table. We all remember the hero who runs though a hail of hundreds of bullets and never gets hit, right?
And here’s a piece of the positive review:
Luckily, Stallone has re-invented the genre merely by re-uniting the actors who created it. The film is a magnificent culmination of everything you would hope to see in such a re-union, from the humorous and rival camaraderie, all the way to the ultimate show-downs between the film’s main characters.