“What’s his fucking problem?” a CIA agent (Bruce Willis) asks after a gun for hire (Arnold Schwarzenegger) storms out of the movie.
“He wants to be President,” Stallone replies.
When you’re done doubling over from that exchange—and really, these cameos are the best the film can do—you’ll have plenty of time to ponder the lameness of The Expendables, which uses the slender pretext of a reunion of ’80s action stars as an excuse to mount one of the laziest action movies in memory. Juiced on smugness, a gang of mercenaries banded together since the dawn of time is hired to take on a rogue agent–turned–drug lord (why not?) on a fictitious Spanish-speaking island. That’s about it. The carnage is cut together so sloppily that it’s impossible to keep track of who is blowing up and why. If there’s a civilian death toll, it’s kept safely in the background.
It might be an overstatement to call The Expendables boring, but I did spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about a backward apostrophe in the sign for Rourke’s tattoo parlor. A smidge of humor or character interest might have helped, but these guys don’t fight for love or even, seemingly, for money. They fight for fighting. Are we sure that title was meant to be plural?