Who's In It: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Eric Roberts, Randy Couture, Steve Austin, David Zayas, Giselle Itie, Charisma Carpenter, Gary Daniels, Terry Crews, Mickey Rourke
The Basics: Rogue CIA agent Eric Roberts muscles his way into a South American dictatorship to control the drug trade, which makes Bruce Willis (one scene, three minutes max, with about 60 seconds of that cameo devoted to sharing the screen with the Governor of California) hire Sly and his crew of professional snarling people to go in and make things explosion-y. They do quite a bit of this.
What's The Deal: There's nothing meta going on here. It's not an homage. It's simply a generic '80s action movie featuring several '80s action heroes, one former wrestler, one Jet Li, one ultimate fighter and the guy from Everybody Hates Chris. It's got plenty of the stuff you want from this kind of movie--lots of shooting and stabbing and kicking and punching and exploding. And that's fine. It's enough. I'll even say there are isolated moments of exuberantly satisfying nasty violence. It's just not making me want to run around and destroy stuff right now even though I just finished watching it less than 30 minutes ago. Ideally I should be trying to set something on fire at this moment and instead I'm in front of a laptop sipping tea.
What Goes Wrong And What Goes Right: Statham is the star of this thing. It's technically an ensemble but in reality it's his movie. He's the baddest if not the biggest (although, if you're watching closely, the knives he's so expertly throwing into necks and guts get larger and larger as the film rolls on, which of course equals penis, don't pretend it doesn't) and he's the only one who can act. Stallone, with his highly unusual current face, is so busy making googly eyes at Statham and nursing a man-crush that he forgets that the goal of this movie is MORE KILLING. This comes as a great disappointment after the recent WTFness of the latest Rambo, where Sly created skull-shattering moments of transcendence all with just a gun and a grunt.
The Problem With Jet Li, Also The Problem With Mickey Rourke: Is that there isn't enough of either of them. Li is third billed and used about as much as Randy Couture, which is not too much at all. And when he gets all martial-artsy on bad guys the movie forgets to stop waving the camera around long enough for him to show off what he does best. Meanwhile all Mickey Rourke does is sit around a tattoo parlor/motorcycle garage ad-libbing and wearing a really weird cowboy hat you know he brought with him from his house.
We've Got Company: Someone actually says this. That's the kind of lack of effort I'm talking about.