Movie Review: The Expendables 2
Aug 18, 2012 / 4:17 pm
While watching The Expendables 2 I was reminded of those times when you go to see a rock band that isn't really relevant anymore but they've reunited to play all those old hits that you remember so fondly from back in the eighties. Or going to an all star alumni game of some of your favourite athletes from yesteryear who can't quite move as well anymore but, boy it sure makes you remember the good old days. That's essentially what the point of this movie clearly is - a nostalgic trip down memory lane.
Make no mistake, however, it happens to be a trip filled with copious amounts of high octane action and over-the-top mayhem and carnage while at the same time being pretty darn funny and entertaining. Now I'd like to think that anyone who intends to see this has a pretty good idea of what they're getting themselves into and is not too concerned with plot and character development because it has about as much depth to it as the little plastic wading pool I used to splash around in in my Grandma's backyard when I was 3-years-old. Assuming that action is what you're going for then you will be more than satisfied.
The film starts off with a bang as the Expendables are reunited on a mission to rescue a Chinese billionaire from a stronghold in Tibet. Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone), Lee Christmas (Jason Statham), Yin Yang (Jet Li), Gunnar Jensen (Dolph Lundgren), Toll Road (Randy Couture) and Hale Caesar (Terry Crews) are joined by the newest member, Billy the Kid (Liam Hemsworth - taking time off from filming Hunger Games movies and marrying Miley Cyrus), in what is an adrenaline fueled opening that sets the tone for what's to come. After completing this mission, Mr. Church (Bruce Willis) enlists the group for a new, seemingly straightforward assignment. Along for the ride this time is the first woman to work with the Expendables named Maggie (Yu Nan). Unfortunately, things don't go as planned when they encounter the nasty Jean Vilain (Jean-Claude Van Damme) and the rest of the film is the heroes tracking down the baddie to retrieve what was stolen from them. Along the way there is a ton of gunplay and a couple of extended cameos by 80's action icons Arnold Schwarzenegger and Chuck Norris.
As violent and serious as the film is at times, there is also a lot of self referential humour peppered throughout the dialogue where the main stars crack one liners that harken back to old films they've done. I wonder if all the time Arnold Schwarzenegger has had off from acting has made him somewhat rusty because he utters nothing but cheesy one liners, most of which are pretty groan inducing. At least the Chuck Norris references were a little more clever and made me crack a smile. I just wish he would have been utilized more in the film but at 72 years of age I understand if he wants to take it easy. He's definitely earned it. As bad as some of the dialogue is though there is still a heck of a lot of entertainment value here, especially for anyone familiar with these action stars. I have to briefly mention as well that Jean-Claude Van Damme plays a total bad ass villain in this film and the sight of him giving a spinning roundhouse kick to Stallone was pretty awesome.
It's no secret that I've been looking forward to seeing this film for several months now and while it didn't live up to my lofty expectations, it nevertheless provided me with some fun B-grade popcorn entertainment. It has a high body count and a few good laughs and it will let you escape your problems for 90 minutes. What more can you ask?
I give The Expendables 2 a 7 out of 10 - (9 for the action and 5 for the plot and dialogue).
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