The Expendables

Sylvester Stallone can write good scripts ("Rocky" and I LIKED "Rhinestone"), but this isn't one of them. At least as an actor (AND he directed), he didn't look so Botoxed this time, although I wish he'd let his eyebrows get shaggy again... That is also true of Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger, who made clever but colorless cameos.

When Stallone knows he has a flimsy script, he ramps up the action: There is endless gunfire, lots of blowie uppie stuff, continuous fisticuffs, some Asian martial arts (Jet Li is one of the action stars), and they even destroyed several fruit carts! Enough already!

Jason Statham ("Crank" and "Transporter") has the most well- developed and sympathetic character. At least he is one guy in the cast we can root for; the rest are cardboard cutouts. The action is too murky and cluttered for us to give a rip who is the shooter and who is the shootee.

Eric Roberts ("Heroes" and "Crash" on TV) makes an elegant but hiss-worthy villain, while Giselle Itié (lots of Spanish-language TV) is the clichéd damsel in distress. Mickey Rourke ("The Wrestler") runs a tattoo parlor which seems to serve as a hangout for "the guys."

When a cattle call for action movie retreads is this broad based, Stallone has opportunity for lots of humor, but this is a fairly leaden outing. Sigh....