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YMMV / The Expendables

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  • Author's Saving Throw: Sylvester Stallone has said in interviews that he deliberately tries to cast guys who are either up-and-coming (Like "Stone Cold" Steve Austin) and give them a nudge, or he tried to cast guys who got derailed (like Dolph Lundgren) and hopes it gives them a second chance. He has said this is why he wanted Jean-Claude Van Damme and Wesley Snipes in the movie (he got them in the second and third, respectively), for example. He's also been trying to get roles for Michael Pare and Steven Seagal for upcoming installments.
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  • Cliché Storm: The film series quite deliberately uses every single trope common in the kind of hyper-violent '80s action films where Stallone made his career.
  • Complete Monster: Rogue CIA agent James Munroe is a drug smuggler and mercenary who is responsible for his partner, General Garza, transforming the island of Vilena into a Police State, using the people as labor in their drug operation. During his first scene, Munroe kills one prisoner, then derides Garza for his lack of spine, forcing the latter to murder a second prisoner in order to save face. When the Expendables raid Vilena, Munroe captures Garza's daughter, Sandra, who opposes her father's government, and has her waterboarded over Garza's objections. He contracts former Expendable, Gunnar Jensen, to kill the rest of the team, and when Garza turns on him following the Expendables' assault on Vilena, he shoots the general In the Back, kills the rest of his security detail, and tries to make good his escape, though not before instructing Paine and The Brit to torture Barney Ross, and taking Sandra hostage to use as a Human Shield. Caring only for his profits, Munroe is willing to wreck a country in order to increase them.
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  • Evil Is Cool: If the franchise is a love letter to 80's action movies, the villains are equally as fun to watch, it helps that they're played by Eric Roberts, Jean-Claude Van Damme and Mel Gibson.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: The Call to Arms trailer reminds you not to watch it off your torrents but "in a fucking theater where violence belongs". However, the third movie was leaked online prior to release. That line is also fairly wince-inducing in light of the mass shooting that took place in a cinema right around the second film's release.
  • Foe Yay: Mr. Church Lampshades this as he watches Ross and Trench trash-talk each other.
    Church: You two aren't gonna start sucking each other's dicks or anything?
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: The series does well there in general, with a fourth movie getting Chinese distribution rights and investments before it was even announced.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
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    • Steve Austin plays a man who, as a plot point, Would Hit a Girl. Steve Austin has faced charges for domestic abuse in the past.
    • This fanmade musical contains a chorus that says "PG-13 is for pussies". The third movie was rated PG-13, much to the annoyance of fans.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • In 2009, a year before the film's release, Mickie Rourke had an appearance in WWE thanks to his success with The Wrestler in order to work a storyline with Chris Jericho. As at first Rourke didn't trust the company, he brought with him an entourage of tough guys, including MMA fighter Frank Shamrock, boxer Clint Coronel and an Israeli bounty hunter, just in case he got double crossed or something. Naturally, after the film came out and this was made public, a fan in this page was quick to point out that Rourke had assembled his own real team of Expendables.
    • Talking about WWE, it has adopted Diamond Eyes as one of their themes. From a film that featured a classically trained wrestler (who also trained professional wrestling, actually) kicking a pro wrestler into a fire.
    • According to Barney, Arnold Schwarzenegger's character, Trench, wanted to be the President. In the 2007 film The Simpsons Movie, there is a President Arnold Schwarzenegger.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Munroe crossed it by either waterboarding Sandra or shooting Garza in the back when the latter realized the errors of his ways.
  • Most Wonderful Sound: In the first film, Toll Road's AA 12 produces an immensely satisfying "THUNK THUNK THUNK" sound that signals someone turning into hamburger.
  • Narm:
    • "I SAID: ARE YOU A REAL TOUGH GUY?!"
    • Also the close-up of Ross stabbing one of the mooks who were going to rape Sandra. Doubles as Special Effects Failure as the blood looks rather off in the shot and his knife kinda wobbles around unnaturally.
    • Gunnar's taunt towards Yin Yang is pretty cheesy: "What are you, size two? Bring it, Happy Feet!"
    • The CGI blood, which led to a lot of mockery from detractors and even some of the film's fans.
  • The Problem with Licensed Games: The console game. The Tower Defense webgame, not so much.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Trench and Church, played by Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis. Also, Mickey Rourke, who has about 5 minutes of screen time yet gives arguably the best performance of the film.
  • Romantic Plot Tumor: The subplot of Lee's pining for Lacy and his bemoaning about being unable to get together with her because of his job as a mercenary which took up a good chunk of the first film.
  • Special Effect Failure:
    • The guard that Ross decapitated somehow managed to grow his head back between shots.
    • The flames covering Paine when Toll Road sets him on fire are obviously CGI.
    • In many of the scenes involving mooks getting killed by the team it's painfully obvious that the blood is CGI.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: General Garza's twin bodyguards. What's the use of having two star MMA fighters like Antonio Rodrigo and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira in a film filled with many other fighters and martial arts experts if you don't work any hand-to-hand fight scene with them?
  • Took the Bad Film Seriously: Many critics who didn't like the movie were nevertheless impressed by Mickey Rourke's performance and wondered what such a dedicated performance was doing in a "brain-dead action flick". Oddly enough, a lot of critics, in a doubly inverted version of this trope, were expecting slam-bang action all the way through, but complained about the overuse of CGI (which was not a staple in 80s movies), the too-modern Shaky Cam, and, most unexpectedly, it having too much plot.

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