What do you get when you join together some of the biggest action stars from the last three decades into one single movie? Well, in this particular instance, you get a testosterone-fueled, orgy of mayhem and destruction that is unrelentingly violent and undeniably exciting from start to finish. You get “The Expendables”.

“The Expendables” follows the exploits of a group of guns for hire who are tasked with the job of overthrowing a cruel dictator. However, the mission becomes complicated by the fact that not everything is what it seems and betrayal seems to be the name of the game. To survive, the team must use every skill and weapon at their disposal and even then, that may not be enough to win the day.

I never would have thought that bringing together virtually every action star imaginable into one bombastic action extravaganza would work. I figured with so many egos and that much testosterone in one place, the movie would be nothing more than an obnoxiously noisy cacophony of explosions and gunfire with zero logic or cohesion behind it all. Yet, somehow director, co-writer and star Sylvester Stallone managed to make everyone play nice (so to speak) all the while creating a solid and engaging action movie in the process.

The story for this film, written by Dave Callaham (“Doom”) and Sylvester Stallone is by no means filled with rich character development, drama, or an intricately conceived plot. Of course, for this type of film no one is really expecting Oscar caliber material in any capacity. Essentially, the story does just a little more than set up the next action sequence, but that’s alright with me (in this rare instance). Because, if I wanted something more thought provoking or potentially enriching then I would have chosen a drama to begin with, and most likely Stallone and company would have been nowhere in sight.

I know that my being ok with a movie’s story being nothing more than the glue holding a string of fight scenes together may seem a bit inconsistent. After all, this is typically the sort of thing that irritates me with so many action movies these days. The difference between “The Expendables” and all the others is that there’s something enjoyable and entertaining about the movie besides the non-stop action. What it boils down to is this, what little story there is to be found is interesting enough to keep my attention; whereas, in so many of its contemporaries the bits of story tend to feel tedious and/or boring.

Speaking of action movies, it is becoming increasingly clear that Stallone has a very solid grasp on how not to make an action-centric movie feel stale or unexciting. First with “Rambo” and now “The Expendables”, Sly knows how to give the audience just enough tidbits of story sprinkled between the action to keep the movie flowing, while at the same time never losing the momentum that the exciting action scenes are creating.

One of his choices, as both co-writer and director of this movie, which I really appreciated, was that he allowed each of his veteran action stars a moment to shine. Be they hero or villain, each and every one of them was allotted their fair share of the violent-driven spotlight.

Speaking of the stars, this assemblage of action heroes and villains proved that even though some of them may be a little long in the tooth, they’ve still got what it takes to kick some serious butt when the occasion arises. Now as far as acting goes, none of the stars really delivered anything note worthy in their performances. But, as I stated earlier, no one really expected Oscar caliber out of this film. All anyone wants to see out of the stars of this movie is them kicking butt and taking names. So long as they can still do that, then the audience will go home satisfied.

Also, within the movie’s cast there were several cameos that serve as potential teasers for the inevitable sequel. For starters Bruce Willis (“RED”) and Arnold Schwarzenegger (“Terminator: Salvation”) both appeared in the same scene and threw several zingers each others way, all the while teasing at a history between themselves and Stallone’s character, Barney which could prove interesting to explore.

Then there’s Mickey Rourke (“Iron Man 2”) as the tattoo artist and “agent”, as it were, for Stallone’s crew. Throughout his multi-scene appearance there are comments regarding the former mercenary life of Mickey’s character, and there are glimpses of that man in a couple of scenes late in the film. Basically giving us enough information to garner interest, but not reveal too much so as to spoil future installments.

Perhaps, in the future we’ll get to see more of what was teased to us during these cameos in the film. If so, then the sequels could prove to be just as entertaining, if not more so than the original. One thing is for certain, the appearances were fun little moments for fans of the action genre, and provided some intriguing character history for the franchise to explore later on.

Overall, “The Expendables” is an extremely fast-moving, hard-hitting action packed thrill ride that features an abundance of Hollywood’s action stars and should easily satisfy even the most hardcore of action junkies.

“The Expendables” is rated R for violence and language.