The Expendables

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No, this is not a Fan Made Poster
If testosterone could mate with an explosion, this movie would be its offspring.
IGN.com preview

A 2010 action movie that intentionally contains pretty much every trope associated with 1980s action movies.

After the success of Rocky Balboa and Rambo (2008), Sylvester Stallone has been enjoying a new-found success: making films entirely for the entertainment of his fans and for himself. And thus began this project, an action film aficionado's wet dream.

The story is simple enough, Stallone is Barney Ross, the leader of an elite group of mercenaries who are hired to go into a Banana Republic and single-handedly take down a dictator's (David Zayas) regime.

What makes this film so unique is not the story, but the people involved. Alongside Stallone, Jason Statham and Jet Li play his closest friends Lee Christmas and Yin Yang. Beyond that Mickey Rourke (Tool), Dolph Lundgren (Gunnar Jensen), Randy Couture (Toll Road), Stone Cold Steve Austin (Paine), Eric Roberts (as, unsurprisingly, a slimy bad guy) and Terry Crews (Hale Caesar) all have major supporting roles. Even Bruce Willis (Mr. Church) and Arnold Schwarzenegger (Trench) have minor supporting roles. There were rumors and official reports of even more action heroes being offered roles, cause that was just what this movie was about.

The movie opened to somewhat mixed reviews, but the moviegoing public liked it plenty well and Stallone has gone on to make two sequels.

The people added to The Expendables 2? Jean-Claude Van Damme and Chuck Norris, with both Willis and Schwarzenegger taking on bigger roles and an up and coming actor Liam Hemsworth featured prominently. You couldn't put more masculinity on one piece of celluloid if you tried. The Plot? Willis' character has another job for Ross, dealing with a dangerous weapons shipment being overseen by Van Damme. As they deal with the new challenge, things get personal and the stakes get higher.

This is the closest we'll probably get to TV Tropes, the Movie

An extended Director's Cut of the first film was temporarily available via On Demand and is now out on Blu-Ray (only. Sorry, DVD fans). In addition to containing a bit of extra character development and tightened CG effects, this cut also uses Shinedown's "Diamond Eyes," which was commissioned by Stallone specifically for use in the film, during the climax and again in the credits.

Tropes used in The Expendables include:
  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: Ross chops off a guard's hand and beheads another with his knife.
  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: Tool (Mickey Rourke) has a scene regarding a woman he could have saved in Bosnia, and the the personal cost of not doing so. He laments that if he saved her, he could have saved what remained of his soul. His story inspires Barney Ross (Stallone) to go back to Vilena. It's probably the most powerful moment of the film.
  • Actor Allusion: Lots:
    • Ross notes that Arnold Schwarzenegger's character wants to be president, referencing Schwarzenegger's political career and the old buzz about him running for president.
    • Christmas' girlfriend not knowing what he does - and him promptly showing her - is a reference to Crank.
    • "Give this job to my friend here, he loves playing in the jungle, right?" Said to Bruce Willis, who also had a battle-in-the-jungle film of his own.
      • Then followed by this quip: "What's his problem?" "He wants to be president".
    • Mickey Rouke still has Vanko's haircut.
    • Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone are regarded as the best in their field; two musclebound action heroes and leading men who seem to be stuck in a friendly rivalry with each other; it's a mystery to everyone why they don't just work together. That's just their characters in the movie of course. In the real world that was only true in the eighties.
    • 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin has his climactic fight showing nothing but wrestling moves, fighting UFC legend, Randy Couture.
  • Advertised Extra: Commercials paid special attention to the scene between Stallone, Willis and Schwarzenegger, as it was the first time the trio had appeared on-screen together. Of course, that's the only scene that Willis and Schwarzenegger appear in.
    • The sequel promises more action scenes for them, so... yeah.
  • All-Star Cast: The whole point of the film, though most of the "stars" are past their glory days.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The Japanese version uses the song "Kizuna" by Tsuyoshi Nagabuchi.
  • Always Save the Girl: "I didn't come here for you, dipshit! I came back for her!"
  • Anti-Hero: The Expendables, of Type V level.
  • Arrogant Kung Fu Guy: Lee (loves his knife-throwing a bit too much) and Yang ("I would have win!"). "The Brit" is also a bit of a dick, if "a bit" could be considered that for working under a Complete Monster.
  • Attempted Rape: Averted, and then played straight. It looks like the bad guys are going to do this to Sandra when he put her on the table. But then she gets waterboarded instead. Later on, two random soldiers burst in and attempt to rape her, but Ross objects. And his objection is very, very sharp.
  • Audible Sharpness: All. The. Time.
  • Awesome McCoolname: Hale Caesar.
  • Back from the Dead: Gunnar at the end.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Ross and Lee.
  • Badass: Just about every character played by a "name" actor.
  • Badass Boast:
    • Barney's "We are the shadow, the smoke in your eyes, the ghosts that hide in the night", which only appears in the trailers, and is the first line in the song "Diamond Eyes" by Shinedown, which was commissioned by Stallone himself. Too bad the song doesn't appear in the film, either (The extended cut fixes both issues, however).
    • "We will kill this American disease!"
    • "If you fuck with us in any way... my people will come and get your people."
  • Badass Crew: The Expendables.
  • Badass Grandpa:
    • One of the first images of the movie was a shot of Stallone's character, barechested and covered in tattoos. Nearly everyone was slack-jawed, saying, "That guy is over 60?!"
    • The film also stars 47-year-old Randy Couture, actively competing mixed martial artist and MMA's original Badass Grandpa.
  • Bald of Awesome: Lee, Mr. Church, Paine, Toll Road and Hale Caesar. Apparently hair is for sissies.
  • Banana Republic: Played straight as an arrow, with all the stereotypes in place. To the movie's credit, it goes back to the trope's real-world historical roots (not exactly a Deconstruction, but still...): the island's regime is actually controlled by an American profiteer, which was very often Truth in Television when the Banana Republic trope originated in the late 19th century. See also the Meaningful Name section.
  • Band of Brothers: Why Gunnar is still with the crew at movie's end.

Lee: (to Barney) "It's not easy being your friend."
Yin: (nods) "It's not."

  • Bang Bang BANG: Happens with all the gunfire, but particularly Caesar's automatic shotgun. He lays out why he loves his automatic shotgun, and it includes that hearing a shotgun spitting out 250 rounds a minute will scare the shit out of the enemy. Sure enough, after he uses it, he comments that the gun is frigging loud.
  • Bash Brothers: All of the Expendables.
  • Better Than a Bare Bulb: What were you expecting from an action film homage?
  • BFG: Caesar wields a fully automatic drum-fed shotgun that fires 250 rounds a minute. They later get loaded with FRAG-12 rounds - grenade rounds.
  • Big Bad: At first presumed to be General Garza, but later revealed to be ex-CIA agent James Munroe (Eric Roberts).
  • Big Damn Heroes: A truly, truly epic one when half the squad is pinned down in the tunnels under the palace. Enter Hale Caesar and suddenly all you hear is "BOOMBOOMBOOMBOOM" and chunks of guards go flying across the screen.
  • Bling Bling Bang: Gunnar wields a Bowie knife with golden hand guards. Despite fighting in night camo. On a similar note, Hale uses a shaving razor with a fluorescent green plastic handle as a melee weapon.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Half the movie's cast. The other half are Lightning Bruisers.
  • Bond One-Liner: "Now I can see inside you. And I see lies."
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: Munroe seems to be a Combat Pragmatist, but falls into stupidity anyway. After getting Barney to disarm himself via Hostage Situation, Munroe wisely shoots him. After noting that he is still alive Munroe abstains from shooting him again and instead yells at him for ruining his plans long enough for Barney to get back up and for Lee to flank his position and is promptly killed as a result.
  • Book Ends: The Expendables entering, and later, leaving the Toolshed on Cool Bikes.
  • Boring Invincible Hero: Subverted. Barney's crew is undoubtedly badass and it's played straight when they absolutely decimate common mooks. But it's inverted when they end up fighting the other big stars of the movie, as they often have quite a bit of trouble taking them down.
    • Austin nearly kills Stallone, but is scared off by the sound of the aforementioned automatic shotgun.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Subverted; everyone has run out of ammo for their main weapons, and even Barney's full-auto M1911s need reloading after a few shots, for obvious reasons. Still... how many rounds does an AA-12 drum magazine hold? A couple of hundred, right?
  • Bullet Dodge: Done by Yang. Played With, he jerks just in time as the bullet is fired, but still.
  • Call Back: In Demolition Man, Stallone's character was shocked to learn that Arnold Schwarzenegger eventually became president in the future.
  • Casual Danger Dialog: The guys standing around arguing as to who should kill who in the middle of a Mexican Standoff.
    • During the climax, while General Garza barks orders to his men, Caesar remarks, "He's saying we're dead with an accent."
  • Chase Scene: Twice.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Caesar's FRAG-12 rounds.
    • How do you make an armored guard tower explode? Fire a few miniature warheads at it.
    • His shaving knife is also used to save Ross from being shot in the back near the end of the finale.
    • Gunnar giving Christmas his bowie knife. Christmas later gives it to Munroe.
    • Ross and Lee's Quick Draw contest at the beginning.
    • Played straight and averted with Sandra's drawings - they look almost intended to be tattoos, but nobody let Tool have a look at 'em. At the same time, the General is shown to share his daughter's appreciation for art, and designs his soldiers' warpaint at the end.
    • Caesar describing the psychological effect of the sound of guns. He mentions that shotguns in particular scare the shit out of people. Later, when a couple of the team are pinned down...
  • Chewing the Scenery: Monroe's final speech.
  • Classically-Trained Extra: Not in the usual sense. General Garza's two bodyguards, who look mind-boggingly similar to one another? Twin MMA fighters Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, who currently compete in the UFC alongside Randy Couture. Sadly, they're not seen in any hand-to-hand combat.
  • Cluster F-Bomb - Church really likes swearing. Even when he's in a church.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Munroe has Sandra mercilessly water-boarded in an attempt to make her confess "What the Americans want." Whether the use of water-boarding was intended to be a topical statement on the unsavory intelligence gathering methods of the US Government or an attempt at invoking recent news events that the audience might recognize isn't clear.
  • Cool Bike - Every Expendables member has one.
  • Cool Car - Barney's pickup truck.
  • Cool Shades: Appear here and there.
  • Cool Sword: The General brandishes one when he finally stands up to Monroe. In the spirit of authority figures who demand respect at the point of a naked blade. Don't bring a knife to a swordfight, boyo.
  • Combat Pragmatist: All of the Expendables display a realistic disregard for the Marquis of Queensbury rules, making liberal use of Groin Attack, drawing pistols during protracted CQC bouts and teaming up on outnumbered foes.
  • Conspicuous CG: Garza's palace collapsing. The explosions before that, however...
    • Paine on fire. The compositing is painfully obvious.
    • The blood as well. And potentially even the blade on Gunnar's knife looks to have been at least touched up, if not wholly fabricated.
  • Covers Always Lie: Tool? Suited up and ready to roll out with the team? Riiiiight. The bad photoshopping should have tipped you off there. Some posters even add Steve Austin and Bruce Willis to the lineup, but that's a lesser case. One should note that Tool and Church (Mickey Rourke and Bruce Willis, respectively) aren't in combat-appropriate uniforms.
  • Curb Stomp Battle: Christmas against Lacy's abusive boyfriend and his basketball team. Guess who walks out without a scratch?
  • Damsel in Distress:
  • David Versus Goliath: Yang (Li) vs. Gunnar (Lundgren), who is about 1.5 times taller and at least twice as heavy. Subverting the norm, Gunnar would have killed Yang if Ross hadn't intervened.
    • Used tactically by Yang during the fight. By moving the fight under a walkway where Gunnar can barely stand up straight.
  • Deadpan Snarker:

Lee: What's he saying?
Caesar: He's saying we're dead with an accent.

  • Disney Death: Gunnar.
  • Domestic Abuse: Lacy's new boyfriend got a little carried away with his jealousy.
  • The Dragon: Paine.
  • Dramatic Necklace Removal: Done by Munroe to Sandra.
  • Dueling Stars Movie May just displace Face Off and Ocean's Eleven.
  • The Dulcinea Effect: Part of Ross' motivation. He seems to realize that it doesn't make much sense.
  • Eagle Land: Type 2 for the ex-CIA guys (Munroe and his baddies) who represent the nastier aspects of American activity in Central America.
  • Easily Forgiven: Gunnar
  • Elite Mooks: General Garza's special forces, identified by their red berets, jungle camouflage, and green-and-yellow facepaint. Notably, they're actually able to force the Expendables to seriously work to kill them, unlike the regular soldiers who they mow down with regularity.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Most everyone gets one, but Gunnar's in the opening scene really sets the tone for the entire movie.
    • "Warning shot!"
    • "It's good to hang pirates!"
    • The opening scene is basically the film's Establishing Character Moment. It lets you know this is a movie where the heroes kick ass and take names, and isn't going to muddy the waters with things like realism.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Garza turns on Munroe because of this, and the fact Munroe isn't keeping his promises.
    • Munroe alludes to it, saying that he was raised not to hit a woman...but he employs people who don't have "that moral dilemma."
  • Evil Brit: Err... the Brit.
  • Evil Counterpart: Towards the end of the first movie Monroe berates Ross for doing the CIA's dirty business and says they are basically the same, mercenaries who are dead inside and have no allegiances. Unfortunately for him Ross' character arc in the movie was doing something good not simply for money.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Eric Roberts as Munroe is a pretty triumphant example.
  • Excuse Plot
  • Fake Nationality - the "Somali" pirates that don't even look remotely Somali.
  • Mr. Fanservice: From The Other Wiki: "Research by Lionsgate found that between 38% and 40% of the film's viewers were female".
  • Fragile Speedster - If this was a World of Warcraft party, Yang would be the striker. In his fight with Gunnar he was faster and more agile but Gunnar was a Mighty Glacier who kept on taking his hits.
  • Five-Man Band: -
  • Friendly Enemy: Ross and Trench to each other.
  • Fruit Cart: They hit one during the Chase Scene at Vilena.
  • The Generalissimo: The Expendables' mission is to eliminate one such general. He is slightly more sympathetic than the usual examples.
  • George Lucas Throwback - If Stallone, Willis, and Schwarzenegger's involvement doesn't tell you anything. Stallone is trying to wrangle in even more 80s action stars for the sequel.
  • Groin Attack: Yang's fighting scenes will include several kicks to the balls. Used multiple times when Ross and Christmas take on a truckload of bad guys in the field.
  • Gross Up Close-Up: The long focus on Tool's face during gives the audience a lovely view of his spit-moistened lips.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: Munroe calls Garza's men out on this, for letting Ross and Lee into the country. Special mentions go to the idiot tasked with guarding Munroe and the General. He lets Gunnar walk in with a shotgun (!) because "He wouldn't let me take it from him."
  • Guns Akimbo: Ross
  • Half the Man He Used To Be: Gunnar's "warning shot" to the pirate leader. It's worth noting that the victim of this single shot has his legs fall off and his upper body launched fifteen feet backwards into a wall rather than being horizontally bisected at the waist, which might have made sense by comparison. It does however set the tone for the rest of the film rather nicely.
  • Hannibal Lecture: Monroe gives one, before being silenced by six bullets to the chest and a giant knife to the back.
    • Also subverted. Munroe is sure that mercs were sent by the Agency after him. Ross responds by saying that he just came for the girl.
  • Heel Face Revolving Door: Gunnar is particularly indecisive version of this. First, he's kicked off the team for being psychotic, is promptly hired by Munroe to kill Barney, nearly impales Yang. During the chase scene, he also seems to be trying to run down his allied mooks. Then he gets shot, and... is back on the team, having been forgiven.
  • Heel Face Turn: General Garza starts having second thoughts when it's his own daughter being tortured by Munroe and Paine. Pity Garza turns his back on Munroe to speak to his soldiers...
    • Subverted Trope: One of the rarest characters in film: The sympathetic South American Generalissimo.
  • Heterosexual Life Partners: Ross and Lee.
  • Hoist Hero Over Head: Gunnar does this to Yang.
  • Homage: The movie is intended to be an homage to seventies and eighties action films, invoked with a thin story, ludicrous action and exploitative violence.
  • Honour Before Reason: Why Ross decides to finish the mission, despite the odds they're up against.
  • Hero of Another Story. Trench, who is implied to have his own team in the same manner as the protanogists.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: The good guys seem to have an awful lot of satchel charges, considering they didn't carry bags or backpacks with them. It helps that they're pocket sized.
  • I Am Not Leonard Nimoy: The names of the people in the movie might as well be Stallone, Statham and Li. The names they were given are almost inconsequential.
  • I Call It Vera: Caesar has names for his weapons.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: The bad guys. Not a single one of the protagonists is successfully hit by any ranged weapon for the entire duration of the film, and there are even multiple scenes when the mooks fail to open fire at all despite having the protagonists flatfooted and at their mercy. The closest we get is Toll getting hit in the flak jacket.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: The good guys.
    • Munroe displays impressive ability with his pistol. While restraining Sandra with one arm he manages to shoot Garze twice in the back and kill three of his guards before any of them got a chance to retaliate. These were elite soldiers wielding automatics under orders to fire on him immediately if he attempts betrayal. He was lucky of course; none of them started aiming at him until the camera pointed at them.
    • Stallone's character shoots a mook almost directly behind Statham's character. Statham's character isn't quite as confident in his ally's aiming skills.
    • Occasionally averted, the most notable being near the end when Ross clearly fires many, many pistol shots before taking down just one soldier in a group of many.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Ross's skills detonate the primer on a thrown artillery round, in such a way that it actually destroys the intended target.
  • Invincible Hero: The Expendables are infallible, indestructible ubermensch. They are not, however, Boring.
  • Ironic Echo: "You look nervous."
  • Ironic Nickname: Church, who curses up a storm and is generally un-church-like.
  • It's What I Do: Lee demonstrates to Lacy what he does for a living.
  • Jump Cut: Every fight scene is saturated with these. A shot will rarely be held for over three seconds, and tracking shots use Jittercam.
  • Karma Houdini: Gunnar.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: What Lee does to Lacy's boyfriend.
  • Kill It with Fire: How Paine is killed.
  • Knife Nut:
    • Lee Christmas always has a knife on hand. Lampshaded by Gunnar, who carries a huge bowie knife himself, and later hands it to Christmas. Ironically, Statham's breakout role in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels had his character get very creeped out by a Knife Nut.
    • Tool as well, with whom Christmas has throwing knife competitions.
    • Implied with Hale Caesar, if his application of the shaving razor is any indication.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: Gunnar. It gets him kicked off the team.
  • Let Me Get This Straight...: Lee to Ross.
  • Lighter and Softer: The sequel will be PG-13. Now averted. Stallone, despite originally saying the movie would be PG-13, has since said the movie will be rated R. Dolph Lundgren has also stated that last he heard the movie was being rated R.
  • Loud of War: Hale Caesar mentions how the sound of the AA-12 automatic shotgun is just as effective as any weapon on the battlefield. Never mind that it fires shotgun shells at something like 110 per minute.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: Averted. Mooks are mutilated, blown apart and cut through like wet tissue paper, yet there is little blood in the wake of any firefight and their viscera seems to be composed of boneless Kool-aid.
  • Made of Iron: None of the protagonists suffer meaningful injuries for the duration of the films. Gunnar gets shot just below the heart and is hale and hearty by his next scene..
  • The Man Behind the Man: Munroe.
  • Manly Tears: Tool lets out a few near the end of the story he tells to Ross, who can't see his face but the audience can.
  • Man On Fire: A CMOA results when Toll knocks down Paine with a flying punch while Paine is on fire.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • A pretty obscure one. Lee Christmas was a mercenary during the real-life Banana Wars. Genius Bonus for history buffs, and a huge hint that the name is really an alias.
    • The team's name "Expendables", given the plot of the movie, although it also borders on Non-Indicative Name. The CIA considered them expendable, but they showed themselves to be a Badass crew of invincible supermen.
    • Is Mauser as a last name merely a cliched stock reference... or a portmanteau of 'Mars' and 'Hauser'?
    • James Munroe could well be a reference to James Monroe, the U.S. president most known for formulating the "Monroe Doctrine", which served as a justification for U.S. meddling in Latin American affairs.
    • Barney Ross was the name of an American boxer from the 1930s. His name could be a reference to the fact that one of Sylvester Stallone's best known characters is a boxer.
  • Might Makes Right
  • More Dakka: About 60% of the film is pure dakka. Hale's AA-12 makes up 59.9% percent of that dakka.
  • Motive Rant: Munroe gives one.
  • My Greatest Failure: Not saving a woman attempting suicide in Bosnia is one to Tool. His telling the tale to Ross motivates him to go back to Vilena and save Sandra.
  • Mythology Gag: "Give the job to my friend here. He loves playing in the jungle." said by Arnold to Bruce Willis, who made his own jungle action flick in Tears of the Sun.
  • Never Bring a Knife to A Fist Fight: The team kick much ass using real weapons in CQC. Mooks? Not so much.
  • Never Heard That One Before: Tool clearly gets a kick out of taunting Lee by mentioning "Christmas time".
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Sandra stops Garza from killing Munroe. And two seconds later, Munroe proceeds to kill Garza.
  • Noble Demon: General Garze, though he's a dictator, he would rather be ruling peacefully than having to grow drugs for his CIA dealer. He even admits that his daughter is who he should have been.
  • Non-Indicative Name: All of the "Expendables" survive, even Gunnar.
  • No One Gets Left Behind: Double Subverted. Sandra is left at Vilena because she insists on staying, but then Ross goes back for her.
  • Noodle Incident: The Expendables talk between themselves about previous adventures in well-known hot spots of the Eighties and Nineties. Subverted in the case of Mickey Rouke's character - he describes a woman he could have saved in Bosnia.
  • The Not Love Interest: Sandra to Ross. There seems to be some chemistry, but nothing ever comes of it - his primary reason for saving her is that she's a resistance leader.
  • Not So Different: Munroe attempts to make Ross believe that they are both mercenaries who are "dead inside."
  • Now It's My Turn: Gunnar to Yang
  • Offscreen Teleportation: Played to the hilt from the very first scene. When Gunnar attempts to lynch the pirate for the lulz, Yang suddenly appears next to him after silently traversing his way between the cargo hold fifty feet below to the deck of the ship in under three seconds and engages him in a short CQC fight. Seconds later when Yang is at Gunnar's mercy, Barney follows suit, making the same trip just as silently and almost as quickly.
  • Oh Crap:
    • After the alarm is raised at the Garza's palace, the guys run into the entire army, and are forced to take cover and detonate the charges.
    • The look on the Big Bad's face when his escape helicopter explodes is priceless.
  • 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.
  • One-Man Army: "Four and a half men" but close enough.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname:
    • Mr. Church devised his own nickname on the spot and suggests that Barney Ross (and possibly his entire team) is just an alias.
    • Toll Road? Hale Caesar? Yin Yang? If those aren't aliases this might as well be called "A Boy Named Sue: The Movie"
  • Outrun the Fireball: Several times. Usually by the bad guys, and it sometimes works for them.
  • Prison Rape: Sandra almost falls victim to this, but is saved by Ross.
  • Psycho Party Member: Gunnar.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Never quite invoked, but heavily implied, as the two guards who go into Sandra's prison cell talk as if they'd better do it without any of their superiors knowing.
  • Rated "M" for Manly: Look at the cast! It's like a singularity of manliness!
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Tool's obsession with "decorating" pretty much anything, whether it's Lee's head with a tattoo or a guitar he plans to smash once it's completed.
  • Rebellious Princess: Sandra, General Garza's daughter.
  • Redemption Equals Death: General Garza
  • Refuge in Audacity: After a bit, this starts to look like a non-satirical version of Tropic Thunder.
  • Refuge in Cool
  • Retired Badass: Apparently, Tool (Rourke) has retired from mercenary stuff, but can still easily hit a bull's eye with a knife.
  • Rule of Cool: The entire film. Special mentions go to:
    • Stallone's character uses a single-action revolver which he fires in bursts by fanning the hammer. Badass? Yes. Homage to classic Westerns? Probably. Utterly illogical? Who gives a fuck?!
      • Fanning is something a trainer shooter could do. Taking down several targets in the process? Not so much.
    • Ross and Caesar blow up a chopper by throwing a shell and then setting it off in midair. By shooting at it. Wait, aren't those things, like, built to make sure stuff like that doesn't happen? Fuck that! Who needs physics when you've got HSQ?
    • Yang riding in the back of the pickup to shoot at the cars chasing them. In reality, this would make him a sitting duck. But the idiots shooting at them graduated from the Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy, so who cares?
  • Ruthless Modern Pirates: The African pirates at the beginning.
  • Same Story, Different Names: The story has invited comparisons to The Dogs of War and Dolph Lundgren's earlier film Men of War.
  • Sequel Escalation: how do they top the previous movie's cast? Add Jean-Claude Van Damme and Chuck Norris
  • Shell Shocked Senior: Tool, when he reveals his guilt to Barney.
  • Shirtless Scene: Sylvester Stallone's character and his insane abs.
  • Shoot the Dog: Barney to Gunnar
  • Short-Range Shotgun: Awesomely averted with the AA-12. Helps it's loaded with frag rounds meant to go farther than usual.
  • Showy Invincible Hero - It wouldn't be an old school movie throwback without one.
  • Shut UP, Hannibal: "I didn't come for you, fucknuts; I came for her!"
  • Smug Snake: Eric Roberts is, shall we say, not straying far from his comfort zone here.
  • Snowy Screen of Death: The footage of the custom office's CCTV when Barney shoots the camera.
  • Spiritual Successor: This could easily be seen as a modern reimagining of Commando, especially the grand finale.
  • Stealth Expert: All the Expendables, as seen in the first and final fight, despite Barney running around with a high beam torch waving all over the place. Averted by Toll in the final fight, who just beats the shit out of all the guys he runs into.
  • Strictly Formula: If you have seen any action movie ever, you already know how the plot goes. Then again, you're proabably not watching it for the story anyway.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: The Movie. Somewhere, Michael Bay is watching this movie, dabbing a tissue at the single Manly Tear at the corner of his eye, and whispering, "it's beautiful". Then he throws away the tissue. And it explodes.
  • Summer Blockbuster
  • Take That: This trailer.
    • One could see the Austin/Couture fight as a Take That from MMA to pro wrestling.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: The guys' motto, it seems.
  • Throw-Away Guns: Sometimes to ditch extra weight, sometimes out of necessity.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: If several .45 bullets doesn't end Munroe's life, a huge honking Bowie knife clear through the heart will.
  • Title Drop: Averted. While the name "Expendables" appears on weapons and motorcycle decals, the name of the group is never actually spoken. Some countries call the film The Mercenaries, and that term shows up a lot.
  • Token Evil Teammate: Gunnar.
  • Token Romance: Averted. Nothing between Stallone and Sandra, which is nice considering how tempting it must have been. And while Statham also has a Love Interest, most of their interactions concern the fact that she dislikes his lifestyle.
  • Too Stupid to Live: The leader of the pirates. Seriously? You have a group of elite badasses who have all of their LaserSights directly on you, they have just tossed down a bag of money to peacefully let the hostages go. And you have the audacity and stupidity to ask for more money?
  • Torture Always Works: Subverted. Sandra is waterboarded for information on the Expendables but does not give in. Instead, Monroe needs to get his information from Gunnar.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: Gunnar is clearly seen lifting Ying over his head and over a sharp spike, which makes it obvious from the beginning he betrays the team. They try cheating by making his face blurrier and speeding up the action, but it doesn't work.
  • Troperiffic: It even provides the page image.
  • Unexplained Recovery:
    • Gunnar. Lampshaded by Barney.
    • Paine's actor is supposedly returning in the sequel, so this just might apply for him, too.
  • Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny: Basically the reason these films are made. In the first film there was specifically Dolph Lundgren vs. Jet Li and Sylvester Stallone vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin. Surprisingly enough, Stallone and Li are playing the heroes and are clearly outmatched by Austin and Lundgren. The sequel added Jean-Claude Van Damme and Chuck Norris to the list and we'll see who gets paired against who.
  • Underside Ride
  • The Unfair Sex: Nicely averted. Lacey's cheating isn't portrayed sympathetically at all, and while Lee saves her from her abusive boyfriend, it doesn't look like he takes her back.
  • The Unintelligible: Stallone, Statham, Li, Lundgren and Schwarzenegger are all known for sometimes being rather hard to understand either due to their accent or just kind of growling out their words. Put them together in the same movie and it's even more noticeable.
  • Unorthodox Reload: Subverted, Barney reloads his M1911 extremely fast, but with sufficient practice, it is possible to reload a gun that quickly.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Inverted: Barney and Trench hate each other's guts, but talk as if they were old buddies.
  • War for Fun and Profit:
    • Ultimately averted by the end of the movie, finally going in to kick ass because an innocent woman's going to get murdered if Barney doesn't save her.
    • Initally played straight for the rest of the team, since a $5 million paycheck made goo-goo eyes at them.
    • And Barney was highly considering not rescuing the girl until he talks to Tool and realizes he'll get to deal with the guilt of not rescuing her for the rest of his life.
  • Warrior Poet: Lee Christmas, at the end.
  • Weaponized Seaplane: with four machine guns hidden in the nosecone, and a fuel dump to ignite and use as a Fuel/Air Explosion. Very very good at spreading out a cushion of air that turns people's innards to jelly.
  • Weapon of Choice - An interesting case in that each character has their preferred weapon, but all characters switch between guns and fists/knives to fit the situation - or are forced to drop them due to situation change.
  • Wife-Basher Basher: Yes, Lee's girlfriend left him for a violent drunk, but that dosen't mean he isn't going defend her honor by beating the absolute tar out of him and his fellow wife-bashing basketball-buddies in broad daylight for beating her.
  • World of Badass: Everyone but the girl fits.
  • World of Ham: Considering it's a movie with Sylvester Stallone, Dolph Lundgren, Stone Cold Steve Austin and Arnold Schwarzenegger, this trope was pretty much unavoidable.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Paine.
    • Also, Lacy's new boyfriend.
  • Wrestler in All of Us: A lot of wrestling moves are used, even though only one actor is a (professional) wrestler.
  • Written in Infirmity: Randy Couture's ear deformity is now Expendables canon.
  • You All Look Familiar: The soldiers' black war paint allowed the director to keep re-using the same stuntmen and actors in close-up fights. Knowing bad 80s movies, this was intentional.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Gunnar gets upset with the Mook he's stuck with during his high-speed ambush of Ross and Yang, up to the point he crushes the Mook's head against the dashboard with his boot.

Gunnar: Insect.

    • Munroe, to General Garza after the dictator decides to kick his ex-CIA partners as well as the Expendables out of his country.
  • Your Mom: Let it not be said that Stallone is not down with what the kids are into.
    • That's not what your momma said.