The Expendables 2
- Starring: Sylvester Stallone (Rambo), Jason Statham (Crank), Liam Hemsworth (The Hunger Games), and more.
- Directed by: Simon West (Con Air)
- Synopsis: “The Expendables are back and this time it’s personal… Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone), Lee Christmas (Lee Statham), Yin Yang (Jet Li), Gunnar Jensen (Dolph Lundgren),Toll Road (Randy Couture) and Hale Caesar (Terry Crews) — with newest members Billy the Kid (Liam Hemsworth) and Maggie (Yu Nan) aboard — are reunited when Mr. Church (Bruce Willis) enlists the Expendables to take on a seemingly simple job. The task looks like an easy paycheck for Barney and his band of old-school mercenaries. But when things go wrong and one of their own is viciously killed, the Expendables are compelled to seek revenge in hostile territory where the odds are stacked against them. Hell-bent on payback, the crew cuts a swath of destruction through opposing forces, wreaking havoc and shutting down an unexpected threat in the nick of time — six pounds of weapons-grade plutonium; enough to change the balance of power in the world. But that’s nothing compared to the justice they serve against the villainous adversary who savagely murdered their brother. That is done the Expendables way….”
- Rated: Rated R for bloody action, violence, and brief language
Remember when you heard of the first Expendables movie? So many stars, so many explosions, so much muscle. Why didn’t this film ever exist in the 80’s and 90’s during the peak of the actors’ careers?! Why was this an afterthought? Why did they wait until a time when the very idea of a roundhouse kick may have given some of the stars a hernia? After watching the first one, it left some of us knowing exactly why such a film didn’t exist earlier and left others of us wanting more.
In The Expendables 2, Sylvester Stallone reunites the crew (well, most of them, anyways) in this highly explosive sequel to the 2010 muscle-bound collaboration. Some of the action genre’s best icons, including Chuck Norris, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis and more share the big screen in this “old guys with guns and muscles” club with welcome newcomer Liam Hemsworth.
While not necessary, it helps to have seen the first (and admittedly better) Expendables film for foundational character and story info. The Expendables 2 begins immediately with an action-packed sequence full of excitement, cameos, bullets, blood and “brawn buddies.” Unfortunately, the excitement level peaks there and the film rides on very little aside from continued fun cameos here and there along with cleverly placed one-liners and famous phrases.
Both the plot and the dialogue end up less than expendable, but the fun of the film lies solely in watching the action experts do what we know them best for: rolling into a scene with guns a-blazing, cheesy one-liners, great choreographed fighting and sweating with swagger.
Not known for their acting skills, the crew still manages to make most of the film fun. Jean-Claude Van Damme plays the believable villain (He definitely should be a villain more often!), Chuck Norris’ limited scenes are on the mark, and the Schwarzenegger/Willis/Stallone scenes are loaded with smirks and smart remarks. If you are a fan of the first film, or a fan of the action genre giants, you will enjoy The Expendables 2, especially for the signature moves and phrases.
The plot, full of holes, is quickly ignored amid the fun that the film brings (and pokes at itself at its own expense). I mean, come on, did you really expect this film to be the drama of the century? Nooo! It’s Rambo, the Transporter, The Terminator, John McClane, the one and only Texas Ranger, The Universal Soldier and more. Even the one main female cast member (played by Nan Yu) can put a hurtin’ on the baddies. She’s not there for the lovey-dovey drama!
Destruction, Terror, and Mayhem”? Oh YES! (cue the “Mama said ‘Knock You Out'” reference)
The Expendables theme song: haha. “Don’t call it a comeback. I’ve been here for years!”
Loaded with multiple references and character shots, it makes for a tough guy comedic tribute. Though not nearly as fun or memorable as the first, The Expendables 2 is loaded with explosive fun and action for fans of the genre to enjoy for the cheap thrill that it is. Lock and load up your plate as you satisfy your action hunger with this film served up by Stallone and company!
Score: 3 out of 5 stars for The Expendables 2
Thanks for reading! Happy Watching!
–T, The Focused Filmographer