The Expendables (2010)
Hasn't been long at all since I watched this last, but it continues to hold up well and is above all else fun. This isn't a particularly well-crafted bit of filmmaking and I think Stallone was wise to take a backseat and not direct the second one. He really doesn't get a great performance out of most of the cast, particularly himself. Thankfully that's not really that big of a deal as everyone is obviously having fun and it's intended to be entirely tongue-in-cheek (I hope), so on the whole this movie works exactly as it should.
It was helpful to watch this and focus mostly on Statham's performance as he's certainly one of the best things about this. Sardonic Badass is a role he has down pat and is turning out to be the role I most enjoy from him. He comes across really well here and brings some much-needed stability to the rest of the cast. He steals the show with his down-in-the-dumps scenes about his girlfriend and his confrontation with her other boyfriend is fantastic. Certainly my favorite role of his in the seven years since Handsome Rob.
I know I'm prone to hating on him, and much of that is due to Iron Man 2, but I do have to call out Mickey Rourke again. Goodness gracious but he's miscast here. His scene recounting the horrors he's seen is actually quite well done and is about the only genuine bit of emoting by anyone in the entire movie, but it comes out of nowhere. Really doesn't fit the rest of the tone and the movie doesn't earn the right to have a solemn moment like that. Those sorts of scenes play far better in the sequel. Every time I see this, Rourke continues to pull me right out of the movie. I used to like him quite a bit, but man 2010 was not a good year for him: Iron Man 2, 13, and expendables. Must have been between agents.
Badassery Quotient - 10
I wouldn't have minded seeing a little more martial arts out of Statham, but that's more than made up for by the excellent gun and knife play throughout. Great lines, great charisma, and about as much random violence as you reasonably can hope for in a movie.
Rewatchability - Sure
I think 3 times in 6 months is enough watching this for the moment, but it remains an enjoyable romp as long as you don't watch with too critical an eye. Hopefully for #3 they can keep the gritty realism of this one with the acting and attempt at a story of the 2nd.
Up next - The Mechanic! This is probably the most promising of the Statham movies I've not yet seen. I've enjoyed most of Simon West's other films, so hopefully this will at least be somewhat of a return to form for Statham. At least he's not starring opposite J-Lo or anything crazy like that.