troperville

tools

toys


main index

Narrative

Genre

Media

Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
random
Film: The Expendables
No, this is not a Fan Made Poster

If testosterone could mate with an explosion, this movie would be its offspring.
IGN.com preview

A modest action movie franchise that intentionally contains pretty much every trope associated with 1980s action movies.

After the success of Rocky Balboa and Rambo (2008), Sylvester Stallone became interested in making a film that brought together as many action stars he could get with careers ranging from the 80's to modern day. The basic premise goes along with some grizzled mercenaries based out of New Orleans who call themselves "The Expendables." Stallone leads them as Barney Ross, with Jason Statham as Christmas Lee, his closest friend. Rounding out the rest of the team is Jet Li as Ying Yang, Dolph Lundgren as Gunnar Jensen, Randy Couture as Toll Road and Terry Crews as Hale Caesar. And, most famously, Stallone's box office rival Arnold Schwarzenegger plays Barney's Friendly Enemy Trench, who leads a rival team. Outside of that core group, many other stars have come and gone through the various movies, some as new allies and others as villains.

The Expendables (2010)

Opening with a mission to deal with boat hijackers, Gunnar is expelled from the team for his unpredictable behavior. Ross gets a new job from the mysterious Mr. Church (Bruce Willis). He hires the team to go into a Banana Republic and single-handedly take down a dictator's (David Zayas) regime. After a disastrous scouting mission, they learn Church is connected to the CIA and their real job is to upset the profiteering from a rogue CIA agent James Munroe (Eric Roberts), who has a particularly nasty bodyguard named Paine ("Stone Cold" Steve Austin). They agree the mission is suicide and doing CIA dirty work, but their contact Sandra (Giselle Itie) was captured by Munroe and they feel obligated to rescue her, and Gunnar is not happy with being rejected from the team.

The Expendables 2 (2012)

Opening with a mission to rescue a Chinese diplomat and introducing the new member to the team Billy the Kid (Liam Hemsworth), Church confronts Barney and demands a new mission to redeem him from the issue with how he handled the job in the previous movie. They are paired with Maggie Chan (Yu Nan) to recover sensitive information regarding a secret plutonium stockpile in Eastern Europe. Their mission is upset by Vilain (Jean-Claude Van Damme), a terrorist for hire leading his own team including his second in command Hector (Scott Adkins). Vilain humiliates the team and leaves one of them dead, with the rest vowing revenge. They chase after Vilain to stop his plans and are joined by lone wolf ally Booker (Chuck Norris) to finish the job.

The Expendables 3 (2014)

A third movie includes Antonio Banderas, Wesley Snipes, Harrison Ford, Kelsey Grammer, Kellan Lutz, Ronda Rousey, Victor Ortiz, and Glen Powell joining the cast, and Mel Gibson confirmed as the film's villain. In this outing, Barney is forced to recruit both old and new allies alike to take down his former partner and co-founder of the Expendables, Conrad Stonebanks, who is determined to wipe the team out once and for all.

The third movie was leaked online three weeks prior to its official release, with several thousand people torrenting it. There is no word yet on whether or not Lionsgate will be taking any legal action, although some are suspecting the company of leaking the film themselves, citing the fact that it mysteriously leaked right before the San Diego Comic Con, and that people at the convention were saying it's the best in the series - and also that this was a way of showing people the film before the critics had a chance to look at it.

This series is the closest we'll probably get to TV Tropes, the Movie.

An all-female Spin-Off is also being planned. Gina Carano, Katee Sackhoff, and Sharni Vinson have signed up thus far, and the director has expressed an interest in such names as Sigourney Weaver and Linda Hamilton. Also thrown into the mix: Milla Jovovich, Meryl Streep and Charlize Theron.


    open/close all folders 

    In General 

This series as a whole provides examples of:

  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: Ross chops off a guard's hand and beheads another with his knife.
  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene:
    • In the first film, Tool (Mickey Rourke) has a scene regarding a woman he could have saved in Bosnia, and the personal cost of not doing so. He laments that if he saved her, he could have saved what remained of his soul. His story inspires Barney Ross (Stallone) to go back to Vilena. It's probably the most powerful moment of the film.
    • In 2, the scene where Billy the Kid tells the story of losing several of his comrades during a firefight in Afghanistan, then returning to base to discover that a stray dog he'd adopted had been shot due to the base commander deciding to disallow animals on base. Billy's funeral also counts, with Barney reading the letter Billy had written to his girlfriend, then asking aloud why so many people who deserve to live get killed, while people who deserve to die survive repeatedly.
  • Action Girl:
    • Maggie in 2.
    • Luna in 3.
  • Advertised Extra:
    • Commercials for the first film paid special attention to the scene between Stallone, Willis and Schwarzenegger, as it was the first time the trio had appeared on-screen together. Of course, that's the only scene that Willis and Schwarzenegger appear in.
    • The sequel included more action scenes for them. On the other hand, there's the example under Put on a Bus.
  • The Alleged Car: The planes in the first and second movies. Especially in the second.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The Japanese version uses the song "Kizuna" by Tsuyoshi Nagabuchi.
  • Anti-Hero: The Expendables.
  • Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy:
    • Lee (loves his knife-throwing a bit too much) and Yang ("I would have win!"). "The Brit" is also a bit of a dick.
    • Doc in the third film, to the point of developing a rivalry with Christmas.
  • Artistic License - Physics:
    • The Expendables wear magical body armor that regularly shrugs off a lot of rounds that should penetrate it. They also suffer no ill-effects as per genre conventions (no broken ribs or severe blunt force injuries that come with being shot, even wearing armor, in real life).
      • Jarring to anyone who knows much about firearms in the third film when Stonebanks shoots Ross in the vest with a S&W .500 magnum. For those who don't know, the gun holds a certain level of infamy because it can go through ballistic armor rather easily. It's called the "vest buster". As expected, Ross gets up; not only did the vest stop the round, but he can continue to fight.
  • Audible Sharpness: Just about every time any blade is drawn or moved slightly through the air, there's always that familiar zzing sound.
  • Awesome McCoolname: Hale Caesar, Toll Road and Doctor Death.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses:
    • Ross and Lee.
    • Galgo and Luna in 3.
  • Badass: Just about every character played by a "name" actor.
  • Badass Boast:
    • In the first one:
      • Barney's "We are the shadow, the smoke in your eyes, the ghosts that hide in the night", which only appears in the trailers, and is the first line in the song "Diamond Eyes" by Shinedown, which was commissioned by Stallone himself. Too bad the song doesn't appear in the film, either (The extended cut fixes both issues, however).
      • "We will kill this American disease!"
      • "If you fuck with us in any way... my people will come and get your people."
    • In the second one:
      • "If she returns any different from the way she went, you and your bunch of psychotic mercenary cur will never be seen again in the face of the Earth."
      • "Are you afraid of me?" "No." "You really should be."
  • Badass Crew: The Expendables.
  • Badass Grandpa: Kind of the point of the series.
    • One of the first images of the movie was a shot of Stallone's character, barechested and covered in tattoos. Nearly everyone was slack-jawed, saying, "That guy is over 60?!"
    • The series also stars 47-year-old (in the first film) Randy Couture, then-actively competing mixed martial artist and MMA's original Badass Grandpa.
    • Chuck Norris is 72, and looks no older than 40-50.
    • Jean-Claude Van Damme still looks every bit as capable at 53 as he did in his prime.
    • Mel Gibson is 58, but is equal to the task of being an action villain in 3. He isn't in Lethal Weapon shape anymore, but his Final Battle with Ross is brutal and physical.
    • After a four-year prison sentence, Wesley Snipes emerges at 52 looking like he hasn't lost anything.
    • Jet Li sure doesn't look like he's nearly 50 in the first movie either, does he? Could convincingly pass for lower 30s.
  • Bald of Awesome: Lee, Mr. Church, Paine, Toll Road and Hale Caesar. Apparently hair is for sissies.
  • Bash Brothers: All of the Expendables.
  • Better than a Bare Bulb: What were you expecting from an action film homage?
  • BFG: Caesar wields a fully automatic drum-fed shotgun that fires 250 rounds a minute. They later get loaded with FRAG-12 rounds - grenade rounds.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Take splace once a movie:
    • A truly, truly epic one in the first one when half the squad is pinned down in the tunnels under the palace. Enter Hale Caesar and suddenly all you hear is "BOOMBOOMBOOMBOOM" and chunks of guards go flying across the screen.
    Caesar: REMEMBER THIS SHIT AT CHRISTMAS!
    • This is Chuck Norris' only role in the second one, including taking out a tank by himself!
    • Drummer, Trench and Yang pull a Gunship Rescue when the Expendables are in a particularly tight spot in the third one.
  • Bloody Hilarious: Many of the casualties in the first two movies, but any victim of Omaya Kaboom takes the cake.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Everyone to some degree, but in particular Hale Caesar and Gunnar.
  • Bond One-Liner:
    • "Now I can see inside you. And I see lies."
    • In 2: "Rest in pieces!"
    • In 3: "I am the Hague."
  • Born in the Wrong Century: Gunnar seems to think he should have been a Viking warrior. Or at least, his Ax-Crazy interpretation of what Vikings were like.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Subverted; everyone has run out of ammo for their main weapons, and even Barney's full-auto M1911s need reloading after a few shots, for obvious reasons.
    • Barney's 1911s are not fully-automatic. He's simply using a technique (which Stallone apparently practiced for hours on the range) to very rapidly fire the pistols in semi-automatic. The shots of him laying down fire, dumping the magazine, reloading and resuming fire is not sped up - that's just how fast you can fire a 1911 with sufficient skill. (Also a testament to how tough the 1911 is.)
  • Chase Scene: Once a movie.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Caesar's FRAG-12 rounds.
    • How do you make an armored guard tower explode? Fire a few miniature warheads at it.
    • His shaving knife is also used to save Ross from being shot in the back near the end of the finale.
    • Gunnar giving Christmas his bowie knife. Christmas later gives it to Munroe.
    • Ross and Lee's Quickdraw contest at the beginning.
    • Played straight and averted with Sandra's drawings - they look almost intended to be tattoos, but nobody let Tool have a look at 'em. At the same time, the General is shown to share his daughter's appreciation for art, and designs his soldiers' warpaint at the end.
    • Caesar describing the psychological effect of the sound of guns. He mentions that shotguns in particular scare the shit out of people. Later, when a couple of the team are pinned down...
    Hale: Remember this shit at Christmas!
    • Gunner's degree in Chemical Engineering has been brought up early in the sequel. So when they get stuck inside a caved-in mineshaft, he uses his knowledge to concoct an explosive to blow up an escape route. Then it went pfft, and the crew gets rescued by Trench instead....
    • In 3, Gunner mocks Thorn for using a wrist computer, but then begrudgingly decides to wear it during the mission to rescue the captured members. It later saves the group when Thorn uses the computer to disable the explosives in the abandoned hotel before the final battle.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture:
    • IN the first one Munroe has Sandra mercilessly water-boarded in an attempt to make her confess "What the Americans want." Whether the use of water-boarding was intended to be a topical statement on the unsavory intelligence gathering methods of the US Government or an attempt at invoking recent news events that the audience might recognize isn't clear.
    • The second one had Maggie do this offscreen to a couple of Sang mooks.
  • Cool Bike: Every Expendables member has one.
    • Also the Rokon (2-wheel drive motorcycle) from the second movie. However, the Rokon is painfully slow, so it would not have been capable of launching off a roof, clearing a 20-foot gap and taking down a helicopter
  • Cool Car:
    • Barney's pickup truck.
    • The Smart car in 2, by virtue of its passengers being Schwarzenegger and Willis shoulder to shoulder, though it had to lose its doors to contain that much manliness.
  • Cool Shades: Appear here and there.
  • Combat Pragmatist: All of the Expendables display a realistic disregard for the Marquis of Queensbury rules, making liberal use of Groin Attack, drawing pistols during protracted CQC bouts and teaming up on outnumbered foes.
  • Covers Always Lie: Tool? Suited up and ready to roll out with the team? Riiiiight. The bad photoshopping should have tipped you off there. Some posters even add Steve Austin and Bruce Willis to the lineup, but that's a lesser case. One should note that Tool and Church (Mickey Rourke and Bruce Willis, respectively) aren't in combat-appropriate uniforms.
    • The sequel had Jet Li appear like they always do, but he's Put on a Bus at the end of the intro.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    Lee: What's he saying?
    Caesar: He's saying we're dead with an accent.
    • Christmas in particular loves finding ways to work in some snark.
  • Demoted to Extra:
    • In order to accommodate the larger roles of Willis and Schwarzenegger, and the additional roles for Jean-Claude Van Damme, Chuck Norris, Nan Yu and Liam Hemsworth, a lot of the returning Expendables got the shaft. In particular, Yin Yang vanishes after the first ten minutes and Toll Road barely has any lines in the entire film. Yang made up for it by giving us Jet Li's specialty before he left: a One-Man Army Good Old Fisticuffs beatdown for a good five minutes.
    • Arguable for Jet Li, as The Other Wiki reports that scheduling conflicts with another film prevented him from participating in anything more than the first part of the film.
    • This also occurs in the third film, as a result of Doc, Galgo, the new Expendables, Trench, Drummer and Yang all taking part in the final battle. Hale is nearly killed during the second mission and incapacitated until the last scene, while Toll Road and several others get next-to-no dialogue for most of the film.
  • The Dragon:
    • Paine.
    • Hector was this in the sequel, and quickly formed a rivalry with Lee.
  • Dueling-Stars Movie: May just displace Face/Off and Ocean's Eleven
  • Easily Forgiven:
    • Gunnar
    • In the sequel, Lacey.
  • Elite Mooks:
    • In the first movie, General Garza's special forces, identified by their red berets, jungle camouflage, and green-and-yellow facepaint. Notably, they're actually able to force the Expendables to seriously work to kill them, unlike the regular soldiers who they mow down with regularity.
    • Dispensed with in the sequels, absolutely nobody but Vilain and Hector present any challenge to any of the team in the second one, and Stonebank’s lackeys in the third one are all mooks.
    Ross: "Look at these clowns. Hand-picked monkeys."
  • Establishing Character Moment: Most everyone gets one, but Gunnar's in the opening scene really sets the tone for the entire movie.
    • "Warning shot!"
    • "It's good to hang pirates!"
    • The new addition to the team, Billy the Kid, gets his by rescuing Barney and Lee from six mooks, sniping them in unison with Barney's pantomimed hand pistol.
    • The third one gives one of these to every new addition to the team, as Barney and Bonaparte recruit each one.
  • Evil Brit: Err... the Brit. Also, Hector in the second one. He's not specifically noted as such, but he speaks with a British accent and the actor playing him is British.
  • Evil Counterpart: Towards the end of the first movie Monroe berates Ross for doing the CIA's dirty business and says they are basically the same, mercenaries who are dead inside and have no allegiances. Unfortunately for him Ross' character arc in the movie was doing something good not simply for money. In the sequel, Vilain seems to think of him and his men to be this, and gives the team a speech about it. In fact, it's the reason he doesn't kill them when he has the chance.
  • Five-Man Band:
  • Fragile Speedster - If this was a World of Warcraft party, Yang would be the striker. In his fight with Gunnar he was faster and more agile but Gunnar was a Mighty Glacier who kept on taking his hits. The sequel puts him in Lightning Bruiser territory when he takes out a roomful of mooks bare-handed without taking a single scratch.
  • Friendly Enemy: Ross and Trench to each other. By the second film they have clearly come to respect, if not actually like each other. By the third one they’re in extremely good terms and Trench offers his assistance multiple times.
  • Genius Bruiser:
    • Toll Road is implied to be fairly well read, when the crew is heading back after their Opening Gambit doing something, most are maintaining their weapons or flying the plane while he is studiously reading a book. This occurs in both films, in fact.
    • Gunnar has a degree in chemical engineering, just like Dolph Lundgren.
  • Genre Savvy: The Expendables seem to be fully aware that they're in an action movie, and take full advantage of it.
  • Genre Throwback: If Stallone, Willis, and Schwarzenegger's involvement doesn't tell you anything. Stallone wrangled even more 80s action stars for the sequels.
  • Grey and Black Morality: The Expendables' most frequent employer is the CIA, and they are portrayed as being shady and amoral. However, the targets that the Expendables are sent to take out are even *worse*.
  • Groin Attack: Yang's fighting scenes will include several kicks to the balls. Used multiple times when Ross and Christmas take on a truckload of bad guys in the field. In the sequel, Maggie makes use of a groin kick during the team's ambush of the Sangs in the village.
  • Guns Akimbo: Ross
  • Hero of Another Story: Trench, who is implied (and in the sequel, stated) to have his own team in the same manner as the protagonists.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Ross and Lee.
  • Homage: The movie is intended to be an homage to seventies and eighties action films, invoked with a thin story, ludicrous action and exploitative violence.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: The bad guys. Sometimes realistically, sometimes not.
    • The climax of the first film does show this fairly realistically, as the Expendables open up by destroying the entire palace, and in the ensuing chaos they charge out and are constantly maneuvering and blowing up vehicles and setting things on fire, using speed, mobility, firepower, deadly accuracy, and intimidation to keep Garza's soldiers off-balance.
    • In the second movie, the badguys are largely an army of poorly-trained East European militia and gangsters who aren't terribly accurate at best, and are getting mowed down constantly, often before being able to return fire. Also played somewhat for comedy when the group encounter a village where the menfolk had been taken away and the only ones left to defend the place was a handful of untrained civilian women who starts shooting on them. Christmas even jokes that the safest place to be is right in front of their guns.
    • The climax of the third movie takes this Up to Eleven when and entire battalion of the Azmenistani army, with tanks and air support still can’t hit the good guys.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: The good guys.
    • Munroe displays impressive ability with his pistol. While restraining Sandra with one arm he manages to shoot Garze twice in the back and kill three of his guards before any of them got a chance to retaliate. These were elite soldiers wielding automatics under orders to fire on him immediately if he attempts betrayal. He was lucky of course; none of them started aiming at him until the camera pointed at them.
    • Ross shoots a mook almost directly behind Christmas. Christmas isn't quite as confident in his ally's aiming skills.
    • Occasionally averted, the most notable being near the end when Ross clearly fires many, many pistol shots before taking down just one soldier in a group of many.
    • Ross's skills detonate the primer on a thrown artillery round, in such a way that it actually destroys the intended target.
    • Billy the Kid was able to fall six guards surrounding Barney and Lee with his sniper rifle within about 2 seconds. He apologized for the delay. Later, he was head-shotting mooks cruising by on boats.
    • A more subtle one toward the end of the second movie when Church, Trench, and Barney open up on the Sangs. They unload at full-auto on the massed Sangs, and not one nearby civilian is hit. Every bullet hits a Sang.
  • Invincible Hero:
    • The Expendables are infallible, indestructible ubermensch. They are not, however, Boring.
    • Not so invincible in the second movie, where due to heavy fog, the Sangs are able to get the drop on them and take Billy the Kid hostage. The scene ends as a total failure for them, with the prized item lost and Billy dead.
    • Caesar gets shot twice by the Big Bad near the beginning of the third movie. He spends the rest of the movie, barring the epilogue, in the hospital.
  • Ironic Nickname: Church, who curses up a storm and is generally un-church-like.
  • Jump Cut:
    • Every fight scene in the first film is saturated with these. A shot will rarely be held for over three seconds, and tracking shots use Jitter Cam.
    • They cut down on it somewhat in the sequel, and dispensed with Jitter Cam altogether, reportedly due to the fan complaints.
  • Knife Nut:
    • Lee Christmas prefers to fight with his knives and will sometimes use a throwing knife instead of a pistol. Lampshaded by Gunnar, who carries a huge bowie knife himself, and later hands it to Christmas. Ironically, Statham's breakout role in Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels had his character get very creeped out by a Knife Nut.
    • Tool as well, with whom Christmas has throwing knife competitions.
    • Doc quickly kindles a rivalry with Lee almost as soon as he's sprung from the box, when he tells Lee that one of his knives' balance is off. Also, Doc's stuff, which Barney kept around, is a backpack full of all sorts of cutlery.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: Averted. Mooks are mutilated, blown apart and cut through like wet tissue paper, yet there is little blood in the wake of any firefight and their viscera seems to be composed of boneless Kool-aid.
  • Made of Iron: None of the protagonists suffer meaningful injuries for the duration of the films. Gunnar gets shot just above the heart and is hale and hearty by his next scene.
  • Manly Tears:
    • Tool lets out a few near the end of the story he tells to Ross, who can't see his face but the audience can.
    • Most of the members during Billy's funeral.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • A pretty obscure one. Lee Christmas was a mercenary during the real-life Banana Wars. Genius Bonus for history buffs, and a huge hint that the name is really an alias.
    • The team's name "Expendables", given the plot of the movie, although it also borders on Non-Indicative Name. The CIA considered them expendable, but they showed themselves to be a badass crew of invincible supermen.
      • They are called the Expendables because Barney has become so jaded and dark over the years, that he believes the world would be no better off if he dies. Tool manages to convince him to change this.
    • Is Mauser as a last name merely a cliched stock reference... or a portmanteau of 'Mars' and 'Hauser'?
    • James Munroe could well be a reference to James Monroe, the U.S. president most known for formulating the "Monroe Doctrine", which served as a justification for U.S. meddling in Latin American affairs.
    • Barney Ross was the name of an American boxer from the 1930s. His name could be a reference to the fact that one of Sylvester Stallone's best known characters is a boxer.
    • The Big Bad of The Expendables 2 crosses the line into Speed Racer levels of naming ridiculousness. He's a villain played by Jean-Claude Van Damme, and his name is...Jean Vilain. The reference to sheep, and the fact that the name might allude to a "farm hand" could put this in Punny Name territory for vocabulary geeks.
  • More Dakka:
    • About 60% of the film is pure dakka. Hale's AA-12 makes up 59.9% percent of that dakka.
    • In the second one, one scene stands out. After one battle, there's a single mook remaining. When he pops out, one of the Expendables shouts a warning, and all of them immediately and hilariously turn and fill him with about 200 rounds.
  • Multicultural Team: Barney, Caeser, Toll Road, and Billy are Americans, Christmas is British, Gunner is Swedish, Yin Yang and Maggie are Chinese.
    • Explicitly pointed out (and mocked) in the sequel, when confronted by the women in the village:
    Ross: We're Americans.
    Lee: British.
    Caesar: Blackfoot.
    Maggie: Chinese.
    Toll Road: (looking at team) Retards.
  • Never Bring A Knife To A Fistfight: The team kick much ass using real weapons in CQC. Mooks? Not so much.
  • Non-Indicative Name:
  • Noodle Incident:
    • The Expendables talk between themselves about previous adventures in well-known hot spots of the Eighties and Nineties. Subverted in the case of Mickey Rouke's character - he describes a woman he could have saved in Bosnia. In the sequel, Billy the Kid talks about his prior tour of duty in Afghanistan.
    • Mauser and Ross seem to hate each other due to a Noodle Incident, judging from their exchange in front of Church in the first movie.
  • The Not-Love Interest:
    • Sandra to Ross. There seems to be some chemistry, but nothing ever comes of it - his primary reason for saving her is that she's a resistance leader.
    • In the sequel, Maggie and Ross have even more chemistry than Sandra and Ross did. But Ross refuses to become involved with her because so many people who have gotten close to him have died.
    • In the third movie Luna implies that if Barney was 30 years younger, she’d go after him.
  • One-Man Army:
    • "Four and a half men" but close enough.
    • Booker, who cements it in his entrance when he wipes out the entire force (including a main battle tank) that has the Expendables pinned down singlehandedly. The team also notes that he works alone.
    • The others get their moments from time to time. Yang in particular made up for his lack of CQC scenes in the first movie by kicking the hell out of a squad of mooks alone in the sequel.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname:
    • Mr. Church devised his own nickname on the spot and suggests that Barney Ross (and possibly his entire team) is just an alias.
    • Toll Road? Hale Caesar? Yin Yang? If those aren't aliases this might as well be called "A Boy Named Sue: The Movie"
  • Outrun the Fireball: Several times. Usually by the bad guys, and it sometimes works for them.
  • Punny Name: Toll Road, Hale Caesar, Yin Yang. In the sequel, the villain's name is... Vilain.
  • Put on a Bus:
    • Yin who is present only for the opening mission of the second movie. He air drops out of the cargo plane with the rescued hostage after the mission and is never seen for the rest of the film. When asked when he'll be back, he replies "Maybe soon...maybe never. Maybe start a new life." Jet Li reportedly asked for a reduced role himself. [[spoiler:TheBusCameBack in the third movie.
    • Church is explained by Drummond as having retired prior to the events of the third movie. Like Li, this was motivated by Bruce Willis' attitude and salary demands prior to filming, which led to him being removed from the project altogether.
  • Rated M for Manly: Look at the cast! It's like a singularity of manliness!
  • Real Men Wear Pink:
    • Tool's obsession with "decorating" pretty much anything, whether it's Lee's head with a tattoo or a guitar he plans to smash once it's completed.
    • One of the first things Doc mentions after being freed is his desire to put on some “fine threads”
  • Rule of Cool: The entire series. Special mentions go to:
    • Stallone's character uses a single-action revolver which he fires in bursts by fanning the hammer. Badass? Yes. Homage to classic Westerns? Probably. Utterly illogical? Who gives a fuck?!
      • Fanning is something a trained shooter could do. Taking down several targets in the process? Not so much.
    • Ross and Caesar blow up a chopper by throwing a shell and then setting it off in midair. By shooting at it. Wait, aren't those things, like, built to make sure stuff like that doesn't happen? Fuck that! Who needs physics when you've got HSQ?
  • Sequel Escalation:
    • How do they top the previous movie's cast? Add Jean-Claude Van Damme, Chuck Norris and Arnold Schwarzenegger back in action plus weapons grade plutonium as the MacGuffin.
    • 3 has the entire cast of Expendables from the first film (minus Caesar, who's sidelined because of a near fatal injury), new recruits Doc and Galgo, plus the new, younger group of Expendables, and Harrison Ford flying air support while Schwarzenegger and a returning Jet Li fire out of a helicopter.
  • Shoot the Dog:
    • Barney to Gunnar.
    • In the sequel, Billy talks about his time in the military, specifically an event where his base commander literally shoots the dog. This was part of what lead to his being disillusioned with the military and ultimately joining the Expendables.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The mercenaries posing as ornithologists for their recon is likely a reference to the film of The Dogs of War.
    • Mickey Rourke still has Vanko's haircut and eye slant.
    • The whole church scene.
    • "What've we got? Four and a half men?"
    • Christmas acquiring a ruby from Burma. Alfred relates a similar tale, and closer to home Burma was the setting of the most recent Rambo film, starring...you know.
    • The drilling vehicle that Trench (Arnold Schwarzenegger) uses to bust the Expendables out of the collapsed mine bears a STRIKING resemblence to the drilling vehicle that Quade (also played by Arnold Schwarzenegger) shoves a drill into in Paul Verhoeven's adaptation of Total Recall (1990). And of course, the homage to his actor's most beloved Catch Phrase as soon as he appears:
    Trench: I'm Back!!
    Lee: Nothin' beats a classic.
    • In yet another shoutout to the series, in the end, upon seeing that the Expendables are to be taken back home in a very, very old Russian propeller plane:
    • In 3, when the team is running to the extraction chopper, Trench implores everyone to "Run to da choppa!" Later, when asked why he said he was leaving the special ops life for good, he simply replies, "I lied."
    • Barney is the Hague.
  • The Snark Knight: Christmas. Up to Eleven in the sequels.
  • Strictly Formula: If you have seen any action movie ever, you already know how the plot of every instalment in the franchise goes. Then again, you're probably not watching it for the story anyway.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: The Movie. Somewhere, Michael Bay is watching this movie, dabbing a tissue at the single Manly Tear at the corner of his eye, and whispering, "it's beautiful". Then he throws away the tissue. And it explodes.
  • Summer Blockbuster
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: The guys' motto, it seems.
    • A memorable moment in the second has the team finishing off a platoon of mooks and while standing together Barney calls out "One more!" and the entire team empties their collective arsenal into a solitary gunman.
    • Stonebank pulls all the stops in the third one to take out the team. It’s still not enough.
  • Throw Away Guns: Sometimes to ditch extra weight, sometimes out of necessity. Special mention goes to Yang in the second movie, who throws his gun at a mook to knock them out before grabbing the frying pans.
  • Title Drop: Averted. While the name "Expendables" appears on weapons and motorcycle decals, the name of the group is never actually spoken. Some countries call the film The Mercenaries, and that term shows up a lot.
    • Played straight in the third movie. Where the name of the team is brought up repeatedly.
  • Token Evil Teammate: Gunnar.
  • Token Romance:
    • Averted. Nothing between Stallone and Sandra, which is nice considering how tempting it must have been. And while Statham also has a Love Interest, most of their interactions concern the fact that she dislikes his lifestyle.
    • Similarly averted in the sequel. It hints that Maggie has a crush on Barney and they have a verbally affectionate parting by the end, but nothing more.
    • Galgo shows an interest in Luna in the third one, but is not reciprocated.
  • Torture Always Works: Subverted. Sandra is waterboarded for information on the Expendables but does not give in. Instead, Monroe needs to get his information from Gunnar.
    • Played straight in the second one, with Maggie and her set of surgical instruments.
  • Troperiffic: It even provides the page image.
  • True Companions:
    • Plays with it. An early scene implies that the team try to maintain completely professional relationships and nothing else, which is the reason behind their Code Names (Yang suggests he is in it only for the money, claiming he needs more to support his son). The only members who seem to be genuinely close friends are Barney, Lee and Tool. But in spite of that they trust each other with their lives and mid-way through the movie you see them rallying around Barney and his personal mission, the ending scene is everyone having drinks together. Becomes even more clear in the sequel when the entire team hangs out in a bar(even Lacy was there) together during their downtime, then shows again with them all being very visibly upset about Billy's death, with Gunnar even seeming to wipe a tear from his eye.
    • The third film has the line "Everybody needs friends" thrown around a couple of times.
  • Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny: invoked Basically the reason these films are made. In the first film there was specifically Dolph Lundgren vs. Jet Li and Sylvester Stallone vs. "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. Surprisingly enough, Stallone and Li are playing the heroes and are clearly outmatched by Austin and Lundgren. The sequel promised Stallone vs. Van Damme early on. And the third? Rambo vs. Mad Max (or Judge Dredd vs. Martin Riggs)!
  • The Unintelligible: Stallone, Statham, Li, Lundgren and Schwarzenegger are all known for sometimes being rather hard to understand either due to their accent or just kind of growling out their words. Put them together in the same movie and it's even more noticeable.
    • In the third movie, Drummer hilariously keeps calling Lee out for this.
    Lee: What's the advice?
    Drummer: What language is he speaking?
    Barney: What's the advice?
  • Unorthodox Reload: Played with - Barney reloads his M1911 normally, he just does it incredibly fast. With enough practice, any experienced shooter can do it, too. Now, doing it while being shot at by fifty men with assault rifles in the open...
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Inverted: Barney and Trench hate each other's guts, but talk as if they were old buddies.
    • Surprisingly, Yang and Gunnar are like this in 2, after having no shortage of real anger at each other in the first film. When Yang departs the group, Gunnar even sounds a little sad when he says, "Who am I going to pick on now?"
  • War for Fun and Profit:
    • Ultimately averted by the end of the first movie, finally going in to kick ass because an innocent woman's going to get murdered if Barney doesn't save her.
      • Initally played straight for the rest of the team, since a $5 million paycheck made goo-goo eyes at them.
      • And Barney was highly considering not rescuing the girl until he talks to Tool and realizes he'll get to deal with the guilt of not rescuing her for the rest of his life.
    • Also averted in the sequel. Church accuses Barney of stealing the $5 million and threatens to make them disappear from the face of the earth unless they do another job to make up for it. Later, they decide to chase down Vilain to avenge Billy.
      • Played straight with Vilain, though, who's only interested in selling the plutonium.
    • In the third movie Stonebanks claims their differing approaches to these trope is what led to his original falling out with Barney.
  • Weaponized Seaplane:
    • With four machine guns hidden in the nosecone, and a fuel dump to ignite and use as a Fuel/Air Explosion. Very very good at spreading out a cushion of air that turns people's innards to jelly.
    • In 2, they have a new (though very similar) plane with what appears to basically be a small hand-loaded howitzer in the nose. However, it's not especially accurate given it can only shoot at exactly what the plane is pointed at, so it acts more like a tank cannon.
    Ross: "You missed!"
  • Weapon of Choice - An interesting case in that each character has their preferred weapon, but all characters switch between guns and fists/knives to fit the situation - or are forced to drop them due to situation change.
  • World of Badass: Everyone but the girl fits in the first film; the girl is totally included—in both sequels.
  • World of Ham: Considering it's a movie with Sylvester Stallone, Dolph Lundgren, Stone Cold Steve Austin and Arnold Schwarzenegger, this trope was pretty much unavoidable.
  • Would Hit a Girl:
    • In the original movie, Paine and Lacy's new boyfriend.
    • In 2, Maggie beats the hell out of several mooks in hand to hand combat, none of whom seemed squeamish about trying to hit (or shoot) her.
  • Wrestler in All of Us: A lot of wrestling moves are used, even though only one actor is a (professional) wrestler.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness:
    • Gunnar gets upset with the Mook he's stuck with during his high-speed ambush of Ross and Yang, up to the point he crushes the Mook's head against the dashboard with his boot.
    Gunnar: Insect.
    • Munroe, to General Garza after the dictator decides to kick his ex-CIA partners as well as the Expendables out of his country.
    • In 2, Vilain does this to his laborers, shooting a few and leaving the rest entombed in the uranium vaults.
    • In 3, Stonebanks shoots a military general and tech operator after getting frustrated that the Expendables are mowing through the army he sent to kill them.

    The Expendables 

The Expendables provides examples of:

  • Always Save the Girl: "I didn't come for you, dipshit! I came for her!"
  • Attempted Rape: Averted, and then played straight. It looks like the bad guys are going to do this to Sandra when she gets forcibly thrown down on the table. But then she gets waterboarded instead. Later on, two random soldiers burst in and attempt to rape her, but Ross objects. And his objection is very, very sharp.
  • Back from the Dead: Gunnar at the end of the movie.
  • Bald of Evil: Paine is a nasty piece of work.
  • Banana Republic: Zigzagged. Vilena is ruled by an at-first stereotypical evil generalissimo with a brutal army, and there's the classic determined rebel group fighting them. However, the movie does go back to the trope's real-world historical roots: the island's regime is actually controlled by an American profiteer, which was very often Truth in Television when the Banana Republic trope originated in the late 19th century. The generalissimo is actually a reluctant dictator who only accepted American money to help his country and got caught up in the power and dependent on their support. The determined rebels turn out to only be remotely effective because they are led by the general's daughter, and once he stops treating her easily the rebels pretty much evaporate. See also the Meaningful Name section.
  • Band of Brothers: Why Gunnar is still with the crew at movie's end.
    Lee: (to Barney) "It's not easy being your friend."
    Yin: (nods) "It's not."
  • Bang Bang BANG: Happens with all the gunfire, but particularly Caesar's automatic shotgun. He lays out why he loves his automatic shotgun, and it includes that hearing a shotgun spitting out 250 rounds a minute will scare the shit out of the enemy. Sure enough, after he uses it, he comments that the gun is frigging loud.
  • Big Bad: At first presumed to be General Garza, but later revealed to be ex-CIA agent James Munroe (Eric Roberts).
  • Bling Bling Bang: Gunnar wields a Bowie knife with golden hand guards. Despite fighting in night camo. On a similar note, Hale uses a shaving razor with a fluorescent green plastic handle as a melee weapon.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: Munroe seems to be a Combat Pragmatist, but falls into stupidity anyway. After getting Barney to disarm himself via Hostage Situation, Munroe wisely shoots him. After noting that he is still alive, Munroe abstains from shooting him again and instead yells at him for ruining his plans long enough for Barney to get back up and for Lee to flank his position and is promptly killed as a result.
  • Book Ends: The Expendables entering, and later, leaving the Toolshed on Cool Bikes.
  • Bullet Dodge: Done by Yang. Played With, he jerks just in time as the bullet is fired, but still.
  • California Doubling:
    • The "Albania" of the sequel was filmed in Bulgaria.
    • In 2, the abandoned military "simulation town" is clearly a Hollywood studio backlot, most likely that of Warner Bros.
  • Casual Danger Dialog:
    • The guys standing around arguing as to who should kill who in the middle of a Mexican Standoff.
    • While General Garza barks orders to his men, Caesar remarks, "He's saying we're dead with an accent."
  • Chewing the Scenery: Monroe's final speech.
  • Classically Trained Extra: Not in the usual sense. General Garza's two bodyguards, who look mind-boggingly similar to one another? Twin MMA fighters Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, who currently compete in the UFC alongside Randy Couture. Sadly, they're not seen in any hand-to-hand combat.
  • Cluster F-Bomb - Church really likes swearing. Even when he's in a church.
  • Cool Sword: The General brandishes one when he finally stands up to Monroe. In the spirit of authority figures who demand respect at the point of a naked blade. Don't bring a knife to a swordfight, boyo.
  • Conspicuous CG:
    • Garza's palace collapsing. The explosions before that, however...
    • Paine on fire. The compositing is painfully obvious.
    • The blood as well. And potentially even the blade on Gunnar's knife looks to have been at least touched up, if not wholly fabricated.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Christmas against Lacy's abusive boyfriend and his basketball team. Guess who walks out without a scratch?
  • Damsel in Distress:
  • David Versus Goliath:
    • Yang (Li) vs. Gunnar (Lundgren), who is about 1.5 times taller and at least twice as heavy. Subverting the norm, Gunnar would have killed Yang if Ross hadn't intervened.
    • Used tactically by Yang during the fight. By moving the fight under a walkway where Gunnar can barely stand up straight.
  • Disney Death: Gunnar.
  • Domestic Abuse: Lacy's new boyfriend got a little carried away with his jealousy.
  • Dramatic Necklace Removal: Done by Munroe to Sandra.
  • The Dulcinea Effect:
    • Part of Ross' motivation. He seems to realize that it doesn't make much sense.
    • Christmas defending the honor of his cheating ex could be interpreted as this.
  • Eagleland: Type 2 for the ex-CIA guys (Munroe and his baddies) who represent the nastier aspects of American activity in Central America. Not bad guys, though. Just gray.
  • Easily Forgiven: Gunner is accepted back into the gang without any trouble, in the final scene.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Garza turns on Munroe because of this, and the fact Munroe isn't keeping his promises.
    • Munroe alludes to it, saying that he was raised not to hit a woman...but he employs people who don't have "that moral dilemma."
    • In the Extended Director's Cut it's mentioned that, even though the Expendables are mercenaries, they do abide by a simple code: "The target has to deserve it."
  • Evil Is Hammy: Eric Roberts as Munroe is a pretty triumphant example.
  • Fruit Cart: They hit one during the Chase Scene at Vilena.
  • The Generalissimo: The Expendables' mission is to eliminate one such general. He is slightly more sympathetic than the usual examples.
  • Gross-Up Close-Up: The long focus on Tool's face during gives the audience a lovely view of his spit-moistened lips.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: Munroe calls Garza's men out on this, for letting Ross and Lee into the country. Special mentions go to the soldier tasked with guarding Munroe and the General. He lets Gunnar walk in with a shotgun (!) because "He wouldn't let me take it from him."
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: Gunnar's "warning shot" to the pirate leader. It's worth noting that the victim of this single shot has his legs fall off and his upper body launched fifteen feet backwards into a wall rather than being horizontally bisected at the waist, which might have made sense by comparison. It does however set the tone for the rest of the film rather nicely; not to mention establish his character.
  • Hannibal Lecture:
  • Heel-Face Revolving Door: Gunnar is a particularly indecisive version of this. First, he's kicked off the team for being psychotic, is promptly hired by Munroe to kill Barney, and nearly impales Yang. During the chase scene, he also seems to be trying to run down his allied mooks and also kills his overseer. Then he gets shot by Barney, and... is back on the team, having been forgiven. It's suggested he's been known to have problems with drugs and so long as he stays sober they trust him.
  • Heel-Face Turn:
    • General Garza starts having second thoughts when it's his own daughter being tortured by Munroe and Paine. Pity Garza turns his back on Munroe to speak to his soldiers...
    • Subverted Trope: One of the rarest characters in film: The sympathetic South American Generalissimo.
  • Hoist Hero Over Head: Gunnar does this to Yang.
  • Honour Before Reason: Why Ross decides to finish the mission, despite the odds they're up against.
  • I Call It "Vera": Caesar has names for his weapons.
  • It's What I Do: Lee demonstrates to Lacy what he does for a living.
  • Karma Houdini: Gunnar.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: What Lee does to Lacy's boyfriend.
  • Kill It with Fire: How Paine is killed.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: Gunnar. It gets him kicked off the team.
  • Let Me Get This Straight: Lee to Ross.
  • Loud of War: Hale Caesar mentions how the sound of the AA-12 automatic shotgun is just as effective as any weapon on the battlefield. Never mind that it fires shotgun shells at 250+ rounds per minute, according to Hale in his speech.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Munroe.
  • Man on Fire: A CMOA results when Toll knocks down Paine with a flying punch while Paine is on fire.
  • Motive Rant: Munroe gives one.
  • My Greatest Failure: Not saving a woman attempting suicide in Bosnia is one to Tool. His telling the tale to Ross motivates him to go back to Vilena and save Sandra.
  • Never Heard That One Before: Tool clearly gets a kick out of taunting Lee by mentioning "Christmas time".
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Sandra stops Garza from killing Munroe. And two seconds later, Munroe proceeds to kill Garza.
  • Noble Demon: General Garza, though he's a dictator, he would rather be ruling peacefully than having to grow drugs for his CIA dealer. He even admits that his daughter is who he should have been.
  • No One Gets Left Behind: Double Subverted. Sandra is left at Vilena because she insists on staying, but then Ross goes back for her. She still doesn't seem to leave, though.
  • Not So Different: Munroe attempts to make Ross believe that they are both mercenaries who are "dead inside."
  • Now It's My Turn: Gunnar to Yang
  • Offscreen Teleportation:
    • Played to the hilt from the very first scene. When Gunnar attempts to lynch the pirate for the lulz, Yang suddenly appears next to him after silently traversing his way between the cargo hold fifty feet below to the deck of the ship in under three seconds and engages him in a short CQC fight. Seconds later when Yang is at Gunnar's mercy, Barney follows suit, making the same trip just as silently and almost as quickly.
    • The use of Jump Cut in every fight scene means that the protagonists appear to fight like Nightcrawler.
  • Oh, Crap:
    • After the alarm is raised at the Garza's palace, the guys run into the entire army, and are forced to take cover and detonate the charges.
    • The look on the Big Bad's face when his escape helicopter explodes is priceless.
  • Prison Rape: Sandra almost falls victim to this, but is saved by Ross.
  • Psycho Party Member: Gunnar.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Invoked; the two soldiers who try to rape Sandra receive among the most brutal deaths in the movie.
  • Rebellious Princess: Sandra, General Garza's daughter.
  • Re Cut: An extended Director's Cut of the film was temporarily available via On Demand and is on Blu-Ray (only. Sorry, DVD fans). In addition to containing a bit of extra character development and tightened CG effects, this cut also uses Shinedown's "Diamond Eyes", which was commissioned by Stallone specifically for use in the film, during the climax and again in the credits.
  • Redemption Equals Death: General Garza
  • Retired Badass: Apparently, Tool (Rourke) has retired from mercenary stuff, but can still easily hit a bull's eye with a knife.
  • Ruthless Modern Pirates: The African pirates at the beginning.
  • Same Story, Different Names: The story has invited comparisons to The Dogs of War and Dolph Lundgren's earlier film Men of War.
  • Shell-Shocked Senior: Tool, when he reveals his guilt to Barney.
  • Shirtless Scene: Sylvester Stallone's character and his insane abs.
  • Short Range Shotgun: Awesomely averted with the AA-12. Helps it's loaded with frag rounds meant to go farther than usual.
  • Showy Invincible Hero: It wouldn't be an old school movie throwback without one.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: "I didn't come for you, dipshit; I came for her!"
  • Smug Snake: Eric Roberts is, shall we say, not straying far from his comfort zone here.
  • Snowy Screen of Death: The footage of the custom office's CCTV when Barney shoots the camera.
  • Spiritual Successor: This could easily be seen as a modern reimagining of Commando, especially the grand finale.
  • Stealth Expert: All the Expendables, as seen in the first and final fight, despite Barney running around with a high beam torch waving all over the place. Averted by Toll in the final fight, who just beats the shit out of all the guys he runs into.
  • Storming the Castle: Garza's palace. Not surprisingly, the plan involves blowing it up.
  • Take That: This trailer.
    • One could see the Austin/Couture fight as a Take That from MMA to pro wrestling.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: the Extended Cut of the movie has Shinedown's "Diamond Eyes" blaring as the crew storms the courtyard.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: If several .45 bullets doesn't end Munroe's life, a huge honking Bowie knife clear through the heart will.
  • Too Stupid To Live:
    • The leader of the pirates. Seriously? You have a group of elite badasses who have all of their Laser Sights directly on you, they have just tossed down a bag of money to peacefully let the hostages go. And you have the audacity and stupidity to ask for more money?
    • It comes with the territory. As Lee so exasperatedly comments: "Well, what do you know. A greedy pirate."
  • Trailers Always Spoil: Gunnar is clearly seen lifting Ying over his head and over a sharp spike, which makes it obvious from the beginning he betrays the team. They try cheating by making his face blurrier and speeding up the action, but it doesn't work.
  • Unexplained Recovery: Gunnar. Lampshaded by Barney.
  • Underside Ride
  • The Unfair Sex: Averted. Lacey's cheating isn't portrayed sympathetically at all, but Lee does take her back after beating down her abusive boyfriend.
  • Warrior Poet: Lee Christmas, at the end.
  • Wife-Basher Basher: Yes, Lee's girlfriend left him for a violent drunk, but that doesn't mean he isn't going defend her honor by beating the absolute tar out of him and his fellow wife-bashing basketball-buddies in broad daylight for beating her.
  • Written-In Infirmity: Randy Couture's ear deformity is now Expendables canon.
  • You ALL Look Familiar: The soldiers' black war paint allowed the director to keep re-using the same stuntmen and actors in close-up fights. Knowing bad 80s movies, this was intentional.
  • "Yes"/"No" Answer Interpretation: Barney shoots the team traitor Gunnar. He asks Barney if he's going to die. Barney just tells him that the shot hit him two inches above the heart. He takes that as a yes. However, he shows up alive and healthy at the end of the film.
  • Your Mom: Let it not be said that Stallone is not down with what the kids are into.
    Paine: (While torturing Barney) How many men do you have?
    Barney: Just your mother!

    The Expendables 2 

The Expendables 2 provides examples of:

  • Ascended Meme: Chuck Norris' character in general. He shows up and destroys an army by himself. Lampshaded with one of the Chuck Norris Facts (the one about the King Cobra) used as a legend about the character.
  • Awesome Personnel Carrier: The three armored vehicles used by the team in the beginning of the movie. Part truck, part battering ram, rounded off with ironic phrases spray painted on their business ends. ("COMING SOON", "KNOCK KNOCK", "BAD ATTITUDE".) And speaking of '80s references, it's probably not a coincidence that "Bad Attitude" (B.A.) looks like something The A-Team would have built, and is driven by the black member of the team...
  • Badass Preacher: Invoked when Christmas shows off his martial arts skills while disguised as a priest.
    Lee: By the power vested in me, I now pronounce you... Man and knife.
    (Proceeds to unload knife frenzy on some rooks...)
  • Bad-Guy Bar: Barney an Lee visit one to get information.
  • Bad To The Bone: Chuck Norris' first two appearances in the film draw a Leitmotif from another, older, badass - namely, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.
  • Bare-Fisted Monk: Yang/Jet Li. The film puts an emphasis on this by giving him an entire sequence where he takes out an entire squad this way. He also used a pair of frying pans.
  • Call Back:
    • A good portion of the movie features dialogue specifically referencing moments in the first film, including: a direct reference to Vilena, Yang and Gunnar "I would have winned" exchange, Gunnar referring to people as "insect", and Caesar's famous AA-12 shows up in the first scene.
      Gunnar: Did you win?
      Yang: Of course I win.
    • Ross, like Tool before him, is given a chance to save women. Unlike Tool, he takes the opportunity.
  • Casanova Wannabe: Gunnar proves to be this towards Maggie, clamming up attempting to impress her with a Rubik's Cube and firing off the lamest pun in the history of lame puns.
  • Celebrity Paradox: "Who's next, Rambo?"
  • Cigar Chomper: Both Ross and Trench are frequently seen with a cigar.
  • Combat Breakdown: Played straight and then inverted in the final fight between Barney and Vilain. They start out trading bullets, but then decide to put their guns away after Vilain runs out of bullets, and Vilain even throws away the knife he took from Barney so they can fight bare-handed. But as the fight progresses, Vilain gets desperate enough that he actually snatches the knife back up to defend himself, and Barney counters by grabbing a heavy chain and using it as a weapon.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: "You gave me a shit job, I'm gonna shoot you in the face when I see you!"
  • Dynamic Entry:
    • Trench plus a small tunnel-boring machine during the sequel.
    • And, of course, the intro, featuring KNOCK-KNOCK, a giant battering ram on a jeep.
  • Finger Gun: Exaggerated in one scene, when Barney treats his Finger Gun as if it were actually his revolver, complete with cocking the 'hammer'; subverted when all the baddies he 'fires' it at fall over dead as though he actually shot them; then double subverted when it turns out all the bullets were actually fired by Friendly Sniper Billy the Kid.
  • From Bad to Worse: The heroes get pinned down during a firefight, and Barney mentions that the only way they could win is if they have a tank. The bad guys then roll out a tank.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: While the movie offers up a lot of blood spatter, we cut away during the bit where Maggie performs some painful Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique on a Sang mook.
  • He Had a Name: this is used during the confrontation between Barney and Vilain.
  • He's Back: Arnold Schwarzenegger, both in-story and metafictionally - this was one of his first roles, after his tenure as Governor of California ended.
  • Hopeless Suitor: Gunnar clearly has a huge crush on Maggie, but he is just too awkward and drunk around her to make any sort of sense.
  • Hollywood Density:
    • The plutonium in the second film is handled easily; one man was shown to casually carry three rather large "bars" in his hands in one scene. In reality these bars are sealed storage containers, and are usually made from thick lead-lined steel, weighing no less than 20 kilo each.
    • What actually makes them lighter than plutonium bars, because plutonium is one and half density of lead.
    • Even worse, it looks like there's just about 200 cylinders with the plutonium. So each cylinder should contain around 25kg of plutonium and the critical mass of plutonium is around 10kg for a perfect sphere. So these cylinders would be very close to it. And then the villains stack them in a regular hexagonal grid. Can you say "criticality accident"?
  • Improvised Weapon:
    • When he runs out of bullets, Yang does work with some frying pans.
    • Christmas makes use of a thurible(!) while disguised as a Catholic priest. Not to mention Ross and Caesar's use of an artillery shell as a hand thrown weapon...
  • Ironic Echo:
    • "You look nervous."
    • "Question is, will you die like a man, or a sheep?"
    • "Now, what?" First spoken by Ross right before Billy is killed... later is spoken by Vilain right before he killed by Ross.
  • It's Personal: Billy's death makes the mission to retrieve the plutonium this for the team.
    Lee: What's the plan?
    Ross: Track 'em. Find 'em. Kill 'em.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Church is not a nice guy and he and Barney do not like each other. Still, when Billy is killed he offers sympathy to Barney and decides to give him more support. He also specifically told Ross to make sure no harm comes to Maggie. It appears that he's usually only concerned about fellow CIA agents.
  • Lighter and Softer: There were rumors and even an official statement saying they were making the sequel PG-13. Probably due to the fandom backlash they ultimately went back on that idea and the movie is rated R like the original. It's been also said that the PG-13 was due to the removal of so much swearing in the script, a condition made by Chuck Norris before he'd join in. The final movie does have virtually no cursing, a contrast to the occasional Cluster F Bombs from the first.
  • Mood Whiplash: Lamshaded and used in-universe. Maggie notes how the team bounces between light-hearted humor and dark nihilism concerning themselves. Barney notes that at this point they just try to keep things light for as long as they can, but they get pitch black dark when it's time to get serious.
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: The monstrous bad guy played by Jean-Claude Van Damme in the sequel is named Vilain. So basically "Villain" if it were pronounced with a French accent.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Ross and Vilain's fight at the end of the second film is suitably brutal.
  • Obviously Evil: Van Damme's character’s last name is "Vilain", which is basically the word "villain" with a Francophone accent. He is in fact a villain with a Francophone accent. Even Ross seems shocked at the idea. As if it weren't enough, Vilain used a satanic pentagram with goat horns as his gang's symbol!
  • Off with His Head!: Billy's headshots disintegrates heads in the beginning of the movie, and Ross later does it to Vilain.
  • Put Down Your Gun and Step Away: Vilain manages to get the drop on Barney and his crew in the sequel, and after a lengthy standoff, Barney agrees to drop their weapons and hand over the device. Vilain then expresses his respect for Barney and leads his men away. Then he kills Billy as an afterthought to remind Barney that "respect must be earned."
  • Red Right Hand: Vilain and his Dragon both have big neck pentacle tattoos with a goat (which, as Vilain helpfully reminds us, is Satan's pet).
  • Red Shirt: The interviews and promotional material of the film made it clear that the plot would revolve around the team avenging the death of, "one of their own." Looking at the cast, it was the guys from the first film and Thor's little brother. No points for guessing who gets the axe.
  • Remember When You Blew Up a Sun?: Mr. Church recaps the team's exploits in the original movie while talking to Barney.
  • Retirony: Billy talks about how he's going to retire at the end of the month, he doesn't even make it to the end of the next day.
  • Sacrificial Lion: Billy the Kid is brutally tortured and killed right in front of his crew by Vilain.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Yin Yang drops out early in the film to deliver a Chinese national, though, in his words, there's a fifty-fifty chance he might make the separation from the team permanent.
  • Self-Deprecation: At the very end of the movie, when Church gives Barney an An-2 biplane:
    Barney: That thing belongs in a museum!
    Trench: We all do.
  • Sinister Shades: In part 2, Vilain spends pretty much the entire movie wearing sunglasses, even when underground in a mine. He only takes them off when he's preparing to face Ross in a hand to hand combat fight to the death.
  • The Villain Makes the Plot: Van Damme received a lot of praise for his role as the bad guy.
  • Worthy Opponent: Jean Vilain considers Barney one of these. Unlike many examples of this trope, however, that doesn't mean he is nice to Barney, and he kills Billy just to remind Barney that "respect must be earned."

    The Expendables 3 

The Expendables 3 provides examples of:

  • Ax-Crazy:
    • Doctor Death might be. He is at first for sure.
    • Conrad Stonebanks.
  • Blood Knight: Galgo. He's desperate to get back in the mercenary game, because killing is all he knows — He's more than willing to take a "one way trip" because that's better than no way, which is where he's going now.
  • Black Dude Dies First: Downplayed with Caesar. He doesn't die, but sits out all but the last few minutes of the film.
  • Chekhov's Skill:
    • Doctor Death is stated to be a former medic when he's introduced. Later his skills stabilize Caeser and save his life when he's wounded.
    • When he's introduced, Smilee leaves his meeting with Ross and Bonaparte on a motorcycle, showing he does have training. During the final battle sequence, he not only uses a motorcycle taken from a goon to destroy a tank, but then uses it to save Ross' life by riding up the side of a crashed plane and ambushing the goons trying to kill him.
  • Conspicuous CGI: All over the damn place. In one of the most egregious examples, there's a notable "halo" around Barney and Bonaparte as they complete the simple task of driving a car.
  • Gatling Good: Caesar uses some kind of microgun in the job that Doc was sprung for. He's pretty excited about it, but it expends its ammo after ten seconds of sustained fire.
  • Fight Clubbing: Both Bonaparte and Smilee are introduced during two separate illegal fighting matches. One as a spectator and the other as a participant.
  • I Have Your Wife: Well, not his wife, but Stonebanks captures Ross' younger team and sends him a video ultimatum to draw him out. The language used was a little confusing in the trailer — "I have your kids." conjures up a different image than what actually happens in the movie.
  • It's Quiet... Too Quiet: When the team enters the abandoned hotel before the final battle sequence.
  • Knee-capping: Galgo does this to a pair of goons in the final battle.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: The poster for 3 blatantly spoils that Yin Yang returns, after being absent for the majority of 2.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Luna's fighting style relies on her speed, agility and flexibility to compensate for her lack of size and strength. At times she looks like a luchador.
  • Like a Son to Me: How Ross views the young recruits, lampshaded by Christmas.
    "You look like a proud, demented, father."
  • Long Runner Lineup: Averted. Doc, one of the original Expendables, asks about the team he served with eight years ago. Ross tells him they're "gone". Doc's subsequent speech about the dog tags really drives home that The Expendables is a Meaningful Name.
  • Motor Mouth: Galgo.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Luna wears a low-cut, short, red dress and high heels in her introduction and then proceeds to fight in them. You'd think a bouncer who flips around and kicks people would wear something that wouldn't turn into a Panty Shot the first time she does that. Later on during the missions, she wears a Spy Catsuit that shows plenty of cleavage while the rest of the team is wearing sensible tactical armor.
  • Oh, Crap: Barney and Doc when they realize their target is Stonebanks.
  • Old Hero, New Pals: Barney assembles a new and younger group of Expendables in order to spare his old comrades a bloody fate. However, when those comrades insist on rejoining Barney to rescue those youngsters, they all find that once they get their personal frictions out of the way that they are a very effective team with the veterans' experience and the rookies' new skills finds them capable of holding off an army.
  • Only in It for the Money: Yin Yang reveals that he began working for Trench off-screen because the pay was better.
  • Put on a Bus / Bus Crash: The dialogue is ambiguous. Church was either killed off-screen, or just reassigned somewhere else where The Expendables don't have to deal with him anymore.
  • Race Against the Clock: During the final battle the team is racing against time to escape before the charge on Gunnar's wrist computer (which is jamming the signal from the explosives planted in the abandoned hotel) runs out.
  • Reality Ensues: Two really peculiar examples give the overall tone of the film:
    • Hale Caesar has a huge gun at the beginning which he is very excited about. Gunner tells him he'll "...shoot it for about ten seconds and blow (your) wad." This ends up being exactly what happens, and exactly what would happen with an M134 in real life with the small ammo drum he had on it. In a franchise known for Bottomless Magazines, it's very noticeable.
      • Actually, throughout the series the main characters are shown reloading their weapons, or drawing/acquiring secondary weapons when their primary weapon runs out many times, Bottomless Magazines don't show up nearly as often as you'd think for this sort of film.
    • When he's briefly detained, Stonebanks tells about how he and Barney came to be enemies. He mentions taking three rounds in the chest, adding, "Thank God for body armor. But it still hurt like hell." As just about anyone who's been shot while wearing a Bulletproof Vest can tell you, it still hurts a lot. In fact the blunt force trauma will break ribs, bruise organs and could kill you anyway. It gets subverted later when Stonebanks shoots Ross with a .500 Smith & Wesson Magnum, a gun called the "vest buster" and Ross is not only not killed, he's well enough to start the Final Battle thanks to his armor.
  • Ruritania: Azmeristan, the country whose government is in Stonebanks’ pocket.
  • Spy Catsuit: Luna wears one that shows cleavage aplenty when the rest of the team is wearing tac gear and body armor. By way of contrast her Action Girl predecessor in 2 (Maggie) dressed as sensibly as the rest of the team.
  • Survivor Guilt:
    • Why Barney keeps the dog tags hanging in the plane.
    • Barney disbands the original team to avoid this.
    • Galgo tells Ross that he felt responsible for the death of his teammates during a mission in Benghazi many years back, and is trying to make up for it by rescuing the captured group members.
  • Throwing the Fight: Smilee does this to make some extra money when he's prize-fighting in Mexico. Only Barney notices.


Every ExtendXbox LIVE ArcadeFable Heroes
The Eye Of JudgmentPlay Station 3 Final Fantasy X
FilmImageSource/Live-Action FilmsAll-Star Cast
Die HardFilms of the 2010sFairy Tail

alternative title(s): The Expendables; The Expendables 2
random
TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from thestaff@tvtropes.org.
Privacy Policy
169800
33