The Expendables (2010): ** 1/2 (out of 4) / * 1/2 (out of 4)

Seriously, Stallone and Schwarzenegger? You win, I'll see your movie - and that's before you toss in the other half dozen major action stars. But I'm not expecting anything besides excessive amounts of explosions and gratuitous violence.

As it turns out, the teaser trailer for The Expendables contained all of the information about the movie that anyone would ever need to know: major action stars mug for the camera, blow things up, occasionally interact with attractive women, and blow more things up, all in the style of a 1980s-style mercenary flick. That's it, that's the whole story. The plot was so bad as to be better off not existing. The characters were... no, they weren't characters, they were basic personas of action stars. The explosions were over-the-top and fairly constant. The violence was gratuitous and borderline racist. And every one of the action stars had their chance to shine/play to their type.

Yes, it was funny. Mostly, that humor was laughing at the absurdity of the action scenes and related dialogue; but there were a few inspired moments here and there, especially the scene with Bruce Willis, Stallone, and Schwarzenegger cursing at each other and generally carrying on silly.

Should you see the movie? Me, I'm happy I went, but I can't say that it was actually worth seeing; merely knowing that the movie existed was probably good enough. The anticipation was more fun than the reality, and honestly, I probably would have enjoyed seeing Scott Pilgrim again.

Still, it's probably worth pulling out the two-scale review. I had a fun time, but by any objective scale it was an awful movie. As is often the case, if you like this kind of thing, you'll be happy to see it; but at least this time you know whether you like this kind of thing.

** 1/2 (out of 4) / * 1/2 (out of 4)

Trailer note - while I can't necessarily fault the studio for knowing their audience, it was still quite a strange collection. The first trailers were for the new Narnia and Harry Potter movies, aiming at the younger crowd; the later trailers were for straight-up horror flicks, including the new Eli Roth flick and the next Saw. Is that what 80s action flick fans have become - torture-porn/fantasy-movie fans? Maybe so...