1980’s action movies are a strange beast. Like any genre, they must change with the times while adhering to a recognizable formula. But with a formula invented in a stylistically dated era, 1980’s action moves face problems when transitioning into new decades, specifically shitty decades like the 90’s and that last one we just had. All the sudden our 1980’s action heroes were replaced with skinny spies who specialized in wire-fu and computer shenanigans. They had sex with women, and sometimes the women didn’t even get killed afterwords. It was a dark, dark time for fat people with sword collections.

I was going to fix this problem by bringing testicles and badassery back to the action film, but Sylvester Stallone beat me to it when he made Rambo. Much as I appreciate that film, however, it’s not enough to just catch back up to a certain standard. 1980’s action films have to evolve outward from Rambo if they are going to survive more decades that aren’t the 1980’s. But how?

One day I made this movie called Twilight, and that’s when the answer came to me. I realized that no one had made a 1980’s action movie tailored toward women. People had tried, of course, but they went about it like stupid-heads. Films like Red Sonja, Xena: Warrior Princess, and Terminator 2 ultimately underperformed at the box office because the amateur filmmakers behind them failed to realize that shoving a bulky chick who acts like a bulky man into your movie does nothing for women.

See, women kind of hate other women. It’s understandable that many 1980’s action filmmakers skip romantic comedies, but they miss crucial information by doing so. I’ve made a couple, and I know those films only succeed to the extent that women can imagine themselves in the lead role. If you’re not going to get them that way (and with action movies you simply can’t) then you gotta appeal directly to whatever a woman’s penis is called.

My goal for The Expendables was to line up a who’s who of attractive 1980’s action movie stars for women to ogle over. Meanwhile, I’d make them all super sad and sensitive so women could go home and masturbate to the idea of applying ice packs to their grizzled, bruised souls. I’m in the Twilight business these days, and this is the Twilight of 1980’s action films.

Sylvester Stallone plays Barney Rubble, leader of a weirdly non-military group of badasses called The Expendables. They take all the really shitty jobs Arnold Schwarzenegger turns down. I didn’t know that this sort of mini-militia could be privatized until I did some research and found out for sure that it couldn’t. Whew! This film was almost realistic for a second!

Anyway, it’s a hard life for an Expendable. You have to fight assholes all the time, and your plane constantly smells like farts. Also, you have to get bird tattoos all over your body whether that fits with your personal aesthetic or not. Even the team motto is against you: “The Expendables: We’ll Leave A Man Behind, No Problem.” You can see the job’s physical toll just by looking at their faces; the average Expendable is only 23 years old.

So let’s meet the meat!

Stallone’s Barney Rubble has seen a lot, and it’s turned him into an Asian biker desperately in need of a nap. After a trip to some weird hell-country where people shoot people, he falls into father-love with a lady and decides to kill himself saving her because he’s worried that a lifetime of ass-kicking has turned his soul into a skull wearing a beret.

His best friend is Mary Christmas, played by Jason Statham. Technically, Statham’s not a 1980’s action movie star, but he’s just awesome and gay enough to fit the mold. Christmas goes with Barney, but fails to fall in love with Barney’s girl because he’s already smitten with Charisma Carpenter’s breasts. Since he’s gone for months at a time and won’t tell her anything about his job, she’s decided to start sleeping with a wife-beater. This totally ruins that year’s Christmas.

Dolph Lundgren plays Frank Castle. Lundgren has a chameleon-like ability with accents. He can, and does, change his vocal pattern to match whatever color he’s standing in front of. If a word’s long enough, you might hear French, Russian, Dutch, and Esperanto before he’s done. Without a woman’s shoulder to cry on, Castle’s turned to drugs and cruel murder to ease his aching Expenda-soul. This gets him kicked out of the group, and he becomes really needy and vulnerable as a result. In a desperate cry for help, he betrays everyone.

Jet Li plays the groups Chinese guy, Flied Lice. He’s just sad all the time because he’s short, and it makes him feel inferior and Chinese. To be honest, I kept forgetting I had a kung-fu guy while writing the script, hiring a kung-fu guy, and shooting the movie. Since I forgot he was there, I just had a stunt guy do it all. Regardless, American women aren’t the only American women who watch American movies. I’m just hoping all those Mexican ladies will settle for a Chinese guy.

Most damaged of all is Mickey Rourke who plays a kind of Ex-Pendable named Tattoo. Since he’s no longer an ass-kicker, his role is to give all the Expendables tattoos and a place to hang out while they talk about how sad their souls are. At one point, he tells the story of how his castle made of sand finally fell into the sea. One night after a long day of killing fools, he came across a lady who was about to roll her wheelchair off a bridge: “There was a young girl, brother. And her heart was…ah jeez…her heart was a frown cause she was crippled for life, man, and…and she couldn’t speak a sound (hell *sniff* sumptin in mah eye, kid, maybe a tear). And, shit man, she wished and prayed she could stop living, you know. So… ah hell, brother…so she decided to die.” Instead of saving her, he just kept on going. Tattoo’s story really touches Barney and encourages his return to hell-country so he can save the daughter-figure he might also bang.

There’s another guy too, but I forget his name or what he looks like. He’s mopey and sad because he has cauliflower growing out of his eyeball and feels that no one will love him because of it, poor guy.

Finally, there’s a black guy, but he’s not sad because women don’t want their black guys sad. Instead, he’s extremely fun and happy all the time. His penis can fire 200 shotgun shells a second.

So what’s the plot? 1. The Expendables kill some pirates. 2. Barney and Christmas meet the girl. 3. Christmas plays violent basketball with some guys. 4. Flied Lice and Frank Castle fight. 5. The Expendables rescue the girl and kill a country. 6. MMF BBW DP.

There are four bad guys. One is a henchman played by Ray Park. The next is a henchman played by both Hans and Franz. Higher up the totem is the hell-country’s General/Dictator played by James Gandolfini’s lisp. He’s emotionally conflicted because his daughter is the lady Barney’s fallen into father-love with. His boss says, “Kill her!” but he just can’t do it. You might call him a pussy, but to all the ladies he’s “Daddy–Jerry Orbach style.”

His boss is an American ex-CIA type played by Julia Roberts’ dad, Robby Roberts. Even he has a soft spot: he won’t hit a woman because of how he was raised. Sadly for the girl, he will waterboard her, regularboard her, and kill her ass off. He doesn’t get the chance, though, because The Expendables shoot him with twenty bullets and a gun that fires gigantic CG knifes through peoples’ chests.

That’s pretty much it. After they save the day, everyone agrees to wax their legs together after a nice round of beers and group therapy. Samantha’s totally a whore.

In the script, I had a part during the climax where all The Expendables’ tattoos light up and turn the team into a giant biker robot that lays waist to everything in sight, but my buddy Aintitcoolknowles told me to save that shit for the sequel. So I did. Let’s all hope we can look forward to that.

(three stars)