Directed by: Sylvester Stallone. First of all, let’s just come right out and say it—what am I expecting of this film? Before I go and rip this film apart for its “problematic” treatment of third-world struggle and C.I.A-backed coups, for its “problematic” treatment of gender, for its one-dimensional characterization, for everything in the film, let’s just get it out in the open. This is a bad film. This was always going to be a bad film. On paper it’s a bad film. In the planning stages it’s a bad film. In its execution it’s a bad film. Not just a simplistic action movie—I mean a BAD FILM. A poorly written, poorly acted, immature, melodramatic, insultingly crude action film appealing to the lowest, most juvenile aspects of pre-formed masculinity. I think I would have found this movie insulting to my intelligence when I was 14, and I would find it so today if I weren’t so practiced in the art of ironic detachment and critical self-observation. I know how to watch a “real” movie, and I know the difference between that and this. If you take the time to watch something that is so obviously a sub-neanderthalic, steroids-driven, cinematic bludgeon over the head like this, only do so with a readiness to toss aside your critical faculties and embrace that inner idiot. When I watched this, I wasn’t quite prepared, and the amazing crudeness of it shocked me. I’m used to scripts that people actually think about, to characterization that actually matters towards the plot in some minor way. In this film, we get lame jokes, lame characters, lots of muscles, lot of guns, lots of explosions, and not much else. I can’t say that I was disappointed. I got about everything I wanted to get out of The Expendables, and I think I will die happy if I never see this movie again, nor any of its sequels. When Mickey Rourke crying is the high peak of acting ability in the movie, you know you’re in trouble.