The Expendables delivers- with guns, knives, bullets, blood and the adrenaline charged action that fans of a long forgotten genre have been clamoring for.  Retaking the box office that had been dominated by the "female perspective," with a staggering weekend performance of 35 million dollars taken in (which is actually the highest of Stallone's storied career), The Expendables proves that despite being nearly 70 years old Sylvester Stallone is still money at the box office.  Don't expect me to spoil the plot because the plot is really just a delivery system for a film who's tag line should have been, "You want it? You got it." 

            The first movie ever to deliver Schwarzenegger and Stallone on screen at the same time! Along for the ride with their good buddy, and fellow Planet Hollywood owner Bruce Willis, The Expendables is the first movie ever to reunite Stallone with his Rocky IV arch nemesis Dolph Lundgren. This is the first ensemble action piece that set ego's aside and brought together a group of actors who are typically all about have their name above the title.  Listen, if you're going into this movie looking for academy award nominated performances, or character driven drama that will pull at your heart strings, save yourself the ten bucks and wait till November when Oscar season starts.   However, if you're looking for a throwback to the type of films that made guys like Stallone and Schwarzenegger stars in the first place, get your popcorn ready because this movie's pure entertainment.
   
            As a fan of all genres of films I'm aware that at it's core The Expendables is cliched, conventional and classic over the top video game violence that at times is so bad it's good.  The thing that makes the film flow is that the actors realize they're not Sir Laurence Oliver and rather rely on breezy natural performances that make you feel this group of guys have actually been friends for quite some time.  Pleasantly surprising was the on-screen chemistry between Sylvester Stallone and Jason Statham (who actually has more on screen time then even Stallone), as in my opinion Sly was using this film as a sort of endorsement to Statham as the closest thing we have to a current action hero.  Equally pleasing was the breezy comedic performance of Jet Li who embraces his role as comedy sidekick and steals the show in the film.  Couple that with Mickey Rourke who continues to cash in on playing character's close to his actual self, Steve Austin unleashing his inner evil as the silent but violent number one henchman, and numerous frenetically paced fight scenes which deliver a bow on a movie that seems to be a present to fans who probably used to spend their Sunday's watching "movies for guys who like movies" on TBS.

            Understandably, this is the type of movie that you can watch with your prudish girlfriend, or know it all best friend, and hear an hour and a half worth of, "oh come on, that couldn't really happen."  Nevertheless, to me, it's the ridiculously unrealistic battle scenes and the chaotic carnage that make you step back and smile.  See Terry Crews assassination of 36 guerrillas with an A-12 riffle to get the gist of that statement.  I've always maintained that if you want realism, perhaps you shouldn't be searching for it in fiction. Sometimes the various genres of Fantasy strive a bit too much to be "realistic."  This movie however is a work of fiction that is crowd pleasing, tongue in cheek violence with big explosions, a high body count, cheesy one liners, name dropping cameos and a stereotypical Stallone action packed thrill ride that completely abandons realism. 

            Having said that, if you know what you're getting into when stepping in the theater to see The Expendables, I doubt you'll be disappointed.  In three months I guarantee you this film will be picked apart by the critics who endorse movies with absolutely no box office draw simply to further their smug and snide personalities or mocked by sarcastic stand-up comedians who have never rolled up their sleeves the way Stallone has, to create characters that have been forever immortalized.  Nevertheless, the 35 million dollars taken in this weekend screams that sometimes people just want to go to the movies and have a good time!