Co-writer/director/star Sylvester Stallone seems to have given composer Brian Tyler all he needed in creating his score for The Expendables, an action movie featuring a bevy of over-the-hill action stars. That included an 80-piece orchestra as well as allowing Tyler, as he notes, to make "redemption and emotion...more important in this score than action even though it is an action film." What Tyler calls redemption and emotion another listener might find reflective and wistful, at least here and there, as the composer underlines a story about veteran warriors getting one last shot (or so) at saving the world through, well, lots of violence and plenty of explosions. This means that, for example, the main theme, "The Expendables," despite its martial rhythms, has a sad quality, and that cues such as "Ravens and Skulls" and "Lee and Lacy" can be slow, with the latter featuring a delicately picked acoustic guitar. The location of the action also allows Tyler to take a Latin interlude with "The Contact." But never fear. The orchestra revs up, and the percussion pounds, much of the time as the composer follows the contours of the action in cue after cue. For the most part, the redemption here consists of the victory of good guys over bad guys, and the emotion is the feeling of triumph overcoming seemingly long odds.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann