The Expendables (2010 film)
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Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Sylvester Stallone|
|Story by||David Callaham|
|Music by||Brian Tyler|
|Running time||103 minutes|
The Expendables is a 2010 American ensemble action film written by David Callaham and Sylvester Stallone, and directed by Stallone. Filming began on March 28, 2009, in Rio de Janeiro, New Orleans, and Los Angeles, and the film was released in theaters on August 13, 2010 in North America. It is the first installment in the Expendables film series.
The film is about a group of elite mercenaries tasked with a mission to overthrow a Latin American dictator whom they soon discover to be a mere puppet controlled by a ruthless ex-CIA officer. It pays tribute to the blockbuster action films of the 1980s and early 1990s, and stars an array of action veterans from those decades, including Stallone, Eric Roberts, Dolph Lundgren, Jet Li, Mickey Rourke, Gary Daniels, Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger (Schwarzenegger in a cameo role), as well as more recent stars such as Randy Couture, Jason Statham, Terry Crews, and Steve Austin. It was distributed by Lionsgate.
The Expendables received mixed reviews but was commercially successful, opening at number one at the box office in the United States, the United Kingdom, China and India. A sequel was released on August 17, 2012.
PlotThe Expendables, bikers and elite mercenaries based in New Orleans, Louisiana, deploy to the Gulf of Aden to save hostages on a vessel from Somali pirates. The team consists of leader Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone), former British SAS soldier and blades specialist Lee Christmas (Jason Statham), martial artist Yin Yang (Jet Li), sniper Gunner Jensen (Dolph Lundgren), weapons specialist Hale Caesar (Terry Crews) and demolitions expert Toll Road (Randy Couture). Jensen instigates a firefight, causing casualties for the pirates. Jensen then tries to hang a pirate, but Yang physically stops him when Ross and the team discourage it. Ross then reluctantly discharges Jensen from the team due to his psychological problems and drug use. Later, Christmas is upset to discover his girlfriend Lacy (Charisma Carpenter) has left him for another man, because she did not see Christmas often or know his line of work.
Ross and rival mercenary leader Trench Mauser (Arnold Schwarzenegger) visit a man called "Mr. Church" (Bruce Willis), naming himself after their meeting venue, for a mission. A busy Trench passes the contract to Ross, which is to overthrow dictator General Garza (David Zayas) in Vilena, an island in the Gulf of Mexico. Ross and Christmas fly to Vilena for initial undercover reconnaissance and meet their contact, Sandra (Gisele Itié), but are discovered. It is then revealed that ex-CIA officer James Munroe (Eric Roberts), with his henchmen Paine (Steve Austin) and The Brit (Gary Daniels), are deriding and keeping Garza in power as a figurehead for their own profiteering operations, while Sandra is revealed to be Garza's daughter. Ross aborts and causes casualties among the army as they escape, but Sandra refuses to leave Vilena and let her people suffer. Meanwhile, a vengeful Jensen approaches Munroe to help and Garza is angered further when Sandra is captured by Munroe, who has her waterboarded for information.
Lacy has been physically abused by her new man, so Christmas beats him and his friends, then takes her home, having revealed his work. Ross and the group discover that Mr. Church is a CIA operative and the real target is Munroe, who has gone rogue and joined forces with Garza to keep the drug money that funds the CIA to himself, resulting in profit losses for the CIA, but the CIA cannot afford a mission to kill one of their own directly because of bad publicity. Ross meets Expendables mission coordinator Tool (Mickey Rourke) to express his feelings. Tool makes an emotional confession about letting a woman commit suicide during the Bosnian War, instead of finding redemption by saving her. Ross is then motivated to go back for Sandra alone, but Yang accompanies him. Jensen and hired men pursue them on the road, ending in an abandoned warehouse, where Yang and Jensen fight a second time. Jensen attempts to impale Yang on a pipe, but Ross shoots him. A wounded Jensen makes amends and gives the layout of Garza's palace. Ross boards the plane with Yang and finds the rest of the team, ready to aid him.
The team infiltrate Garza's compound. Thinking Munroe hired the Expendables to kill him, Garza has his soldiers' faces painted, preparing them for a fight. Christmas, Yang, Caesar, and Toll plant explosives throughout the site but Ross, while saving Sandra, is captured by the Brit and Paine. The team save him and kill the Brit, but are pinned down by Garza's men as Paine wrestles Ross. Caesar fights back with his AA-12 shotgun so Paine escapes. Garza finally stands up to Munroe, ordering him out and returning his money. Instead, as Garza rallies his men against the Expendables and Munroe that he believes to be the same, Munroe kills him and takes off with Paine and Sandra. Garza's men open fire in rage against the team, who fight their way through, detonating the explosives, demolishing the palace and destroying the compound. Toll kills Paine by burning him alive while Ross and Caesar manage to destroy a helicopter before Munroe can escape. Ross and Christmas catch up to Munroe, killing him and saving Sandra. Later, Ross gifts the mission payment to Sandra to restore Vilena.
The team travels back home and celebrate at Tool's tattoo parlor, with the recovering and redeemed Jensen. Christmas and Tool have a game of knife throwing and Christmas recites a limerick about Tool, then throws a bullseye from the street.
- Sylvester Stallone as Barney Ross
- Jason Statham as Lee Christmas
- Jet Li as Yin Yang
- Dolph Lundgren as Gunner Jensen
- Randy Couture as Toll Road
- Terry Crews as Hale Caesar
- Mickey Rourke as Tool
- Eric Roberts as James Munroe
- Steve Austin as Dan Paine
- David Zayas as General Garza
- Giselle Itié as Sandra Garza
- Gary Daniels as The Brit
- Charisma Carpenter as Lacy
- Amin Joseph as Pirate Leader
- Senyo Amoaku as Tall Pirate
- Lauren Jones as Cheyenne
DevelopmentScreenwriter David Callaham pitched The Expendables to a producer at Warner Bros. His draft of the screenplay eventually drew the attention of Sylvester Stallone, who took control of the project and re-wrote the script.
ProductionFilm production began on March 3, 2009, with a budget of $82 million. Filming commenced 25 days later in Rio de Janeiro and other locations in Brazil, including Mangaratiba, Niteroi, Guanabara Bay, Colônia Juliano Moreira and Parque Lage. Filming originally ended on April 25 but was continued on May 11, in Elmwood and New Orleans, Louisiana, including the French Quarter, St. Peter Street, Fort Macomb, Claiborne Avenue and the Interstate 10 overpass. Filming officially ended on July 1, but on October 27 there was a pick-up scene at a church in Los Angeles, California featuring Stallone, Schwarzenegger and Willis (the latter two doing the scene without compensation, according to Stallone in the Blu-ray Disc director commentary). On June 2, West Coast Customs Street Customs built three customized 1955 Ford F100s for Sylvester Stallone for the film. One was built for a crash scene, the second for green screen and the third for Stallone to keep. "The Expendables has a seventy million-dollar budget," says Stallone's co-star Dolph Lundgren, adding, "It's an old-school, kick-ass action movie where people are fighting with knives and shooting at each other." The flying boat used for filming is a Grumman HU-16 Albatross and the ship used as a setting in the opening scene was a Russian SA-15 class Arctic cargo ship Igarka.
In summer 2010, Brazilian company O2 Filmes released a statement saying it was still owed more than US$2 million for its work on the film.
CastingJean-Claude Van Damme was personally offered a role by Stallone, but turned it down because he felt there was no substance or development to the character. Stallone said that Van Damme told him that he should "be trying to save people in South Central." At the premiere of the film, Stallone claimed to have been speaking to Van Damme over the phone and had said, "I told you!", to which Van Damme concurred and expressed his regret over not participating. Van Damme would later appear as the main antagonist, Jean Vilain, in the film's sequel, and is currently in talks to return for a possible third film as Claude Vilain, Jean Vilain's brother.
The role of Hale Caesar was initially conceived as a role for Stallone's Demolition Man co-star Wesley Snipes, but later rewritten for Forest Whitaker. Due to a scheduling conflict prior to filming, Whitaker was then replaced by 50 Cent before the part of Hale Caesar finally went to former NFL player Terry Crews.
Steven Seagal was asked to make a cameo appearance, but turned down the offer due to negative experiences with producer Avi Lerner.
Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Ben Kingsley, and Ray Liotta were all considered for the role of James Munroe before Stallone's The Specialist co-star Eric Roberts was eventually cast in the role.
By May 2009, the script had undergone a number of rewrites. Stallone's Demolition Man co-star Sandra Bullock was rumored to have a role in the film, but revealed that she did not even know about the project. Despite the news, she did express interest in working in another action film and would have liked to appear in the film, depending on the storyline.
The role of the man who hires the Expendables, Mr. Church, was difficult to cast. Schwarzenegger was offered that role, but instead appeared as fellow mercenary leader Trench. The role was then offered to Kurt Russell, whose agent replied that he was not interested in "ensemble acting at the moment". Stallone spent several months after principal photography determined to find a big action name for the part. Rumors suggested that the role had been offered to friend and fellow former Planet Hollywood co-owner Bruce Willis, who was busy filming Cop Out. Willis' casting as Mr. Church was confirmed by August 2009, as was the fact that he would appear in a scene with both Stallone and Schwarzenegger.
|The Expendables: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack|
|Film score by Brian Tyler|
|Released||August 10, 2010|
|Brian Tyler chronology|
Godsmack vocalist Sully Erna was approached by Stallone himself to write a song for the film. Erna showed him a potential unfinished piece of Sinners Prayer and Stallone liked it and wanted to use it in the film. However, during the films post-production, the scene that Sinner's Prayer was originally meant to be used in was reworked and the song was taken off the film and its soundtrack. The American hard rock band Shinedown contributed a brand new track, "Diamond Eyes (Boom-Lay Boom-Lay Boom)", recorded specifically for the movie but the song does not appear in the film nor its official soundtrack. The song was used in the theatrical trailer and the finished piece was released on June 15, 2010. Both the songs where finally used for the Extended Director's Cut of the movie. One of the alternate trailers uses the song "Paradise City" by Guns N' Roses. The song "The Boys Are Back in Town" by Thin Lizzy played in TV spots and is played over the credits.
The score for the film was released on August 10. The tracklists have been revealed.
- Track listing
|The Expendables: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack|
|3.||"Ravens and Skulls"||4:49|
|4.||"Lee and Lacy"||2:15|
|6.||"The Gulf of Aden"||6:56|
|10.||"Scanning the Enemy"||3:47|
|16.||"Losing His Mind"||2:37|
|17.||"Take Your Money"||2:41|
|18.||"Giant with a Shotgun"||3:57|
|19.||"Time to Leave"||1:55|
|20.||"Mayhem and Finale"||5:47|
ReleaseThe film had an original scheduled release date set at April 23, 2010, but was later pushed back four months until August 13, to extend production time. On March 17, 2010, the official international poster for the film was released.
A promo trailer (aimed at industry professionals) was leaked online in August 2009. Sometime in October, nearly two months after the promo trailer was leaked, it was officially released online. The promo trailer was edited by Stallone and it was shown at the Venice Film Festival. On April 1, 2010, the official theatrical trailer for the film was released. The film had its red carpet Hollywood premiere on August 3, 2010. The grand premiere of the film was held at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip in Paradise, Nevada on August 10, 2010.
Critical responseThe film review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes shows that 41% of critics gave the film a positive review based upon reviews by 192 critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from critics, the film has received a mean score of 45, based on 35 reviews. CinemaScore polls, however, reflect solid audience approval with a B+ average grade.
Some reviews praised the film highly. The Hollywood Reporter said that "the body count is high and the personalities click in this old-school testosterone fest," and Boxoffice Magazine stated that "it's filled with literally explosive excitement" and that "a who's who of classic action stars light up the screen for pure combustible entertainment in Sly Stallone's The Expendables, a sort of Dirty Dozen meets Inglourious Basterds—and then some…" Richard Corliss of Time added that "what you will find is both familiar in its contours and unique in its casting." Peter Paras of E! Online said that the movie is "peppered with funny dialogue, epic brawls and supersize explosions," and that "The Expendables is the adrenaline shot the summer of 2010 needs," and the Boston Globe stated that the film is "a lot of unholy fun".
Some highly negative reviews appeared. In The New York Post, Lou Lumenick labeled it "the brain-dead male equivalent of Sex and the City 2", and in The New Yorker, Anthony Lane called it "breathtakingly sleazy in its lack of imagination". Peter Travers, writing for Rolling Stone, said, "Stallone forgets to include non-spazzy direction, a coherent plot, dialogue that actors can speak without cringing, stunts that don't fizzle, blood that isn't digital and an animating spirit that might convince us to give a damn." Claudia Puig, writing the review for USA Today, summed the film up as a "sadistic mess of a movie".
Mickey Rourke's performance was given special recognition by some critics. In the Chicago Tribune, Michael Phillips said, "Rourke delivers a monologue about his time in Bosnia, and the conviction the actor brings to the occasion throws the movie completely out of whack. What's actual acting doing in a movie like this?" Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle praised Rourke for the same scene, stating, "He's amazing…a great actor."
Awards and nominations
|Saturn Award||Best Action/Adventure Film||Nominated|
|Golden Raspberry Award||Worst Director||Sylvester Stallone||Nominated|
Box officeThe film made its US debut at 3,270 theaters with approximately 4,300 screens, which earned it the #10 spot on the list of the 'Biggest Independent Releases of All Time' at Box Office Mojo  and the #16 spot on their list of top opening weekends for August. It earned $34.8 million in its opening weekend and took the #1 position in the U.S. box office. On the day of its release, the film earned $13.3 million in sales, exceeding the $9.7 million sum from the debut of the last previous summer action film The A-Team.
Brandon Gray of Box Office Mojo has stated that the film "took a commanding lead in its debut", compared to competing films Eat Pray Love and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. Ben Fritz of The Los Angeles Times stated that the "over-the-top shoot-'em-up'" opened to a "very strong" reception. As well, he described it as "a crowd-pleaser even if critics didn't take to it." Research by Lionsgate found that between 38% and 40% of the film's viewers were female. The results were unexpected, for a film thought to have limited appeal to female filmgoers.
The Expendables remained at the top position in the U.S. box office during its second weekend, earning a weekend total of nearly $17 million.
As of December 17, the film has made $103,068,524 in the U.S. and $171,401,870 in the international box office, bringing its worldwide gross to $274,470,394.
Home mediaThe theatrical cut of The Expendables was released on DVD/Blu-ray Disc on November 23, 2010. The Blu-ray Disc is a 3-disc combo pack.
An Extended Director's Cut of the film was meant to be out for an early 2011 DVD/Blu-ray Disc release, but was first released on cable television instead. The Extended Director's Cut was released on Blu-ray Disc on December 13, 2011. A 90 minute documentary called Inferno: The Making of The Expendables was released exclusively to the theatrical cut's Blu-ray release.