It is a simple fact that as the times change so must the styles and trends. The American film industry is no exception, more specifically the action/adventure genre. In recent years we have seen countless displays of martial arts, new weapons, and ever more complex and thought-provoking heroes.
In comparison to older films like "Rambo" and "Terminator," the movies of today might seem better. This notion would come under serious scrutiny after revisiting the classic style seen in Sylvester Stallone's newest feature, "The Expendables." Since its release on August 13th, this film has made a respectable $82 million at the box office, proving that there are still things we can learn from the old-school days of action.
At first glance, the most appealing aspect of "The Expendables" is the cast. To put it simply, take some of the most notable action idols from the previous generation as well as a few of the rising stars of today and put them together. What results is the most diverse collection of mercenaries for hire in recent memory.
From the new school of action we have former UFC champion Randy Couture, WWE wrestler Steve Austin, Old Spice promoter and former NFL linebacker Terry Crews, as well as the popular Jason Statham. As for the old-school-style of action, this movie brings back real heavy hitters: martial artist Jet Li, comeback—actor Mickey Rourke, and of course the all time classic Sylvester Stallone. In keeping with the tradition of using the best of the best, Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger were given brief, but memorable, cameos.
Aside from the impressive cast listing, "The Expendables" has been successful because it adheres to the basic principles of what makes action movies so great. There is no shortage of gun fire or explosions; bodies are left by the hundreds and bullets are fired by the thousands. Instead of trying to confuse audiences with countless plot twists and revelations, "The Expendables" presents a simple story of seven soldiers who must take down a dictator. This, in turn, is also one of the drawbacks as the dialogue is very cut and dry like the story. Still, anyone who has ever watched an action movie should know that there are no Shakespeare-worthy speeches.
Not only did Sylvester Stallone play the lead role, but he also co-wrote and directed "The Expendables." Given his past roles of "Rocky" and "Rambo" and the success of his career behind the camera, it goes without saying that Sly knows what he is doing. The original direction of "The Expendables" is just what action movies of today need: a balanced combination of new and old styles. Because of its success, Stallone is said to be giving thought to a sequel. As for the audiences, we can only wait and see.
Christopher Spall can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.