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Review: The Expendables is high on muscles, low on IQ

August 24, 2012 14:52 IST

A scene from The ExpendablesThe Expendables is high on muscles and low on IQ, writes Shaikh Ayaz.

With all due respect to Sylvester Stallone fans, this is a dumb movie.

To watch it, is like entering into a war zone where at the mere command of their chief Barney Ross (Stallone), the old boys -- and an utterly undesirable Chinese lass, who seems to know everything about everything -- won't think twice before jumping into the fray.

The problem is they don't think at all. Their low IQ banter could put the other Stallone dud like Get Carter to shame. To those who have seen the first part, the dumbness would be familiar.

Armed with battle tanks, the opening sequence sees Ross and his mercenary team closing in on a site in Nepal. They rescue the captured mercenary (Arnold Schwarzenegger) in the most uninteresting manner possible. Yet, when the Governator is released, the audience at the theatre whistled and hooted, underlying his craze among action movie buffs.

Once the job is successfully done, Ross and his team escape via the forest route, swinging from tree to tree. They get back home safe, only to find another assignment awaiting them.


In a scene bringing together Bruce Willis and Stallone for the first time in the movie, the latter, as CIA agent Mr Church, barges in to shout instructions into Stallone's ears. They now have to set out on another mission, to recover a secret blueprint from a code-protected safe. Maggie, the only woman in this all-men's club, is to accompany them. As if insulted, Stallone turns to Willis and says: 'I don't make a good baby sitter.'

But Maggie and Stallone get along well. There is a moment when she finds him alone and approaches to get him to talk about why he is always so nervous around her and why he is wary of people and of friendships. This could have been a good transition point for the film to turn into something profounder. But the opportunity is lost simply because the writing is so sloppy, just as it is throughout its running time.  

Meanwhile, we're introduced to Jean Vilain (Jean-Claude Van Damme), who has been terrorising a village and forcing young men to work as a labour force for mines.

Uplifting moments in the film are few and far between. Yes, Stallone even at this age, appears as strong as a bulldozer. But one wishes his muscles were matched with some brains.

Rediff Rating:

Shaikh Ayaz in Mumbai