Got around to watching The Expendables last night. It was not the worst film I have ever seen…but, not impressed.
My mind kept going back to one that surprised me when I first saw it two years ago…Tropic Thunder is what this movie should have been. Tropic Thunder was directed and even written by Ben Stiller, a generally funny guy.
Unlike The Expendables, Tropic Thunder does not take itself seriously…at all. If one can get past some of the crassness of language and such, it is a riot on story and casting.
Example, Robert Downey, Jr. playing a high-ego Australian actor who gets pigmentation surgery in order to play the part in Tropic Thunder…it was inspired. I would say Downey here was the equivalent of casting Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow. An actor who is not exactly known for the genre, but fits brilliantly.
Jack Black was somewhat typecast in his part…but that is part of the joke, really.
I figure Sylvester Stallone could have learned a lot from Tropic Thunder before he did The Expendables…but he missed the boat as this was simply another A Team that was too predictable. All the expected action hero actors were there…even Arnold while he was still governor of CA made a cameo…but this film should have been more comedic. Eric Roberts, as the bad guy in this was fine…but ‘fine’ is perhaps the problem, and that is not Roberts fault as he gave them his performance as he should. Instead, it was a typical buddy group film with lots of explosions, gun battles and fist fights.
Had I been casting, I think I stay with all the action guys, but instead of Eric Roberts I would have gone after a comedic improv expert as the villain…say a Robin Williams or Mike Meyers. Make the bad guy a complete joke…on purpose. Considering the cast already involved, the two I mentioned just might have gone for this, but there are others.
Anyhow…long story short, if you are looking for an average action movie, The Expendables was fine…Tropic Thunder, however, is much better.