Movie Review: The Expendables 2

Stars: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Dolph Lundgren, Terry Crews, Bruce Willis, Chuck Norris, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Liam Hemsworth, Nan Yu, Scott Adkins

Rated R for Strong bloody violence throughout, Running time 102 minutes, Action/Adventure

Compare to: The Transporter (2002), Rambo (2008)

When The Expendables opened in 2010, it seemed like a dream come true for action fanatics; specifically those who were fans of gun toting tough guys, ripped muscles, and one liners after throwing a guy off of a cliff. It met with success and it was inevitable a sequel would be made. So when the trailer revealed Chuck Norris and Jean Claude Van Damme would also be added to the cast, man were freaking out. In a positive way, of course. So how does it add up?

If you liked the original, you’ll like this one. If you didn’t like the original, you won’t like this one. If you didn’t like the original other than to just see all your childhood heroes together, shooting unlimited amounts of ammo…that’s how you’ll feel about this one.

Barney Ross (Stallone) and his boys are back. Still rescuing hostages, overthrowing governments and whatever else it is they’re paid to do. But when Church (Willis) sends them on a mission to recover a powerful object, a man dies and the object is taken by Vilain (Van Damme). Now, Ross and his men are prepared to do whatever they need to to get the object back, save the world, and most importantly….kill Vilain.

As mindblowing as that story is (sarcasm), every single person that has anything to do with this movie knows what the point of it is: get every Man of Action available from the early eighties to the present day, and have them blow things up and beat the crap out of each other. Simple enough. So it’s tough to say what is good about the movie and what’s bad. So much of the things that just weren’t that enjoyable are things that much of the audience who watches this are going to go crazy over and Stallone and co. know it. Famous one liners from the actors’ previous films are shouted by them and to them, the climax of the movie blurting the most in the shortest time span. If you’re interested in hearing Schwarzenegger shake his head, roll his eyes, and say to himself “Yippie Ki yay” as Bruce Willis runs off into a hail of gunfire, this movie will be right up your alley. But at that point I was just left wanting more than to see my childhood heroes and hear them reference their old movies.

With the names that headline the film, most people won’t bother to look into Van Damme’s right hand man in the film, Scott Adkins. While generally a stuntman Adkins also plays his hand at acting occasionally, and while his part is small in this, it’s worth watching. All the action his character performs is him and it’s enjoyability is second only to seeing your favorite action guys onscreen. Being second-in-command to Van Damme’s army, he openly disrespect Stallone’s right hand man, Statham, and you know what’s going to eventually happen. This planet just ain’t big enough for all of them.

At the beginning of the movie, we open to the guys breaking into a heavily armed town to rescue a couple hostages. They’re split up into two different vehicles, both having their own unique weapons to help them take on any low-rent military that comes their way. This might have been the funniest and most entertaining part of the film overall, because it reminded me of when I was a kid and the way I played with action figures. A couple ninja turtles in a car hanging out with a GI Joe, being chased by Cyclops of the X-Men while they’re all being chased by a dinosaur. They’ve got to get to the base in time before everything blows up, too. Also, Darth Vader is in the base waiting to kill everyone.

That’s kind of the intent of the movie it seems. BANG BANG! BOOM! Ka-PLOW! Stallone! Willis! SCHWARZENEGGER!!! See, look at you; you’re satisfied. Well, I’m not. It’s understandable that one could find their entertainment in those things alone. But after the initial fun of seeing everybody, I want their to be a story that I haven’t seen a thousand times.”We gotta get this guy, and get that thing he stole.” This movie takes the same route this year’s Wrath of the Titans took to it’s 2010 predecessor, Clash. Gods and monsters are cool, but if you don’t fix any of your mistakes from the last film, there will only be so much to chew on.

Several jokes about their own age are funny, even if you don’t really believe that they believe what they’re saying. And as a sidenote, does anybody else wonder what Terry Crews and Randy Couture are doing in these movies? I love Crews in just about everything he’s been in and I know Couture can fight, but they just seem to stick out. Crews for the obvious reasons of having never been in any action movies prior, and Couture because I don’t think he’s been in any movies, period. Just a thought.

Bottom line is that if you’re reading this review, you might have the same problems I had with this movie. If you loved the first one, you’re not reading this because you know you’ll love this one.

Grade: C-


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