2010 Preview: The Expendables
Release Date: August 13

Studio: Lionsgate

Genre: Action

Director: Sylvester Stallone

Writer: Dave Callaham and Sylvester Stallone

Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Eric Roberts, Randy Couture, Steve Austin, David Zayas, Terry Crews, Mickey Rourke

Studio Description: The Expendables is a hard-hitting action/thriller about a group of mercenaries hired to infiltrate a South American country and overthrow its ruthless dictator. Once the mission begins, the men realize things aren't quite as they appear, finding themselves caught in a dangerous web of deceit and betrayal. With their mission thwarted and an innocent life in danger, the men struggle with an even tougher challenge—one that threatens to destroy this band of brothers.

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Analysis: After Inglourious Basterds cleaned up last August, another "men-on-a-mission" movie is set for this August. Resurrecting a number of actors from the 1980s and mixing them up with a few recent action stars, The Expendables appears to be chock full of stunts, explosions, humor and muscles, so much so that it feels like it could have been made in the 1980s. 2010 already has a reputation for being an homage to the '80s with remakes like Red Dawn, adaptations like The A-Team and sequels like Tron: Legacy in the offing. The "men-on-a-mission" sub-genre also seems to be getting a mini-revival in 2010. In addition to The Expendables, there will be The Losers, The A-Team and Red.

Sylvester Stallone (who is also director and co-writer), Jet Li and Jason Statham headline a retro cast that includes Eric Roberts, Dolph Lundgren, Mickey Rourke and rumored cameos from Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis (it seems like it's just missing Chuck Norris, Carl Weathers and Mr. T). Mr. Stallone has made a mini-comeback in recent years, reviving his old franchises. Rocky Balboa grossed a solid $70.3 million, while Rambo was less pumped with $42.8 million, but neither recaptured his former box office glory. Statham and Li have worked together before on WAR, but that picture fizzled with $22.5 million. Separately, both have had consistently modest followings.

While its subject matter isn't as exciting as Inglourious Basterds and these pictures rarely reach $100 million, The Expendables is well-positioned to find its audience, opening opposite the Julia Roberts drama Eat, Pray, Love and the comic book comedy Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. An old school action movie could be a welcome respite come August and the high profile cast will generate a lot of publicity, but how the marketing campaign is mounted will determine The Expendables' fate.

Similar Movies: Rambo, First Blood, Rambo: First Blood Part II, Rambo III, Rocky Balboa, WAR, Inglourious Basterds, Commando, Predator, Collateral Damage, The Punisher, Tears of the Sun, The Losers, The A-Team, Ocean's Eleven, The Italian Job, True Lies, Tropic Thunder

Related Charts: Series: Rambo

Related Story:

'Inglourious Basterds' Scalps the Box Office

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2010 Preview