Has there ever been a movie star as simultaneously irresistible and repugnant as Sylvester Stallone? As a serial writer, rewriter and director, Stallone has had a unique control over the creation of his own cinematic image. The result was usually a half-everyman/half-Superman clothed in leather and cutoff shirts, strapped with Uzis and radical right-wing politics, and draped in the American flag. Most of Stallone’s films are morally and artistically indefensible, yet often hilarious and unusually instructive in the mores and mindset of Reagan-era fantasists. The Expendables, Stallone’s latest crime against humanity, is indefensible on nearly every level (only my appetite for Dolph Lundgren arcana was satiated). After a sharp downturn in his career, Stallone has reclaimed relevancy through forcible nostalgia and an embracement of the new movie ultraviolence, and The Expendables doesn’t veer far from that formula.