8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Yeah, they're back.,
This review is from: The Expendables 2 (Blu-ray + Digital Copy + UltraViolet) (Blu-ray)
WARNING: If you did not like the first EXPENDABLES, or had no desire to see it, or do not like cliched 80's action films, you will NOT enjoy THE EXPENDABLES 2. Just so you know.
I'm not going to recite any plot points here; the plot makes absolutely no sense. Something about uranium and a villain (named Vilain, yup), and our gang of lovable misfits gets in the way, losing one of their own in the process (and not much surprise who gets it, either). Stallone decides that it's payback time ("Find 'em, track 'em, kill 'em"), and the boys team up with some other major muscle-bound Neanderthals to take their vengeance. Oh, and save the world or something.
Here are the negative things about THE EXPENDABLES 2: Jason Statham's presence is smaller (though still prominent), which cuts down on the chemistry between him and Stallone that helped make the first film so enjoyable. Same with Jet Li. Also, Randy Couture is back; he's likable, but he doesn't have nearly as much screen presence as his comrades (though he's better here than in the first film).
Now, here are the good things, or at least some of them: the film is hilarious. Absolutely hilarious. Chuck Norris reciting a Chuck Norris fact hilarious (and yes, Norris, as well as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis, have significant screen time here). It's almost a parody, without going over-the-top in the way of AIRPLANE! and NAKED GUN. It's as much an homage to the classic actioner as anything, right down to its two-dimensional villain: Jean-Claude Van Damme, riding an impressive (if shallow) career comeback. Van Damme isn't mind-blowing amazing, but damn if he doesn't bring a sly sinister something to the role (as well as an impressive physicality). Scott Adkins is a welcome addition to the villainous side, while Nan Yu provides a femme fatale presence, and Liam Hemsworth brings some surprising depth to the role of a rookie sniper. Also, Dolph Lundgren is back with a larger role (and even a small nod to the fact he actually has a Master's in chemical engineering, if you can swallow that). Stallone hands over directing credit to Simon West, who's proven his action worth with CON AIR and THE MECHANIC, and the change is welcome: West lets loose a little more, plays the game with more attention to wit and humor. (Scenes between Willis and Schwarzenegger are particularly delightful.)
The true draw of THE EXPENDABLES 2 is to see all of these icons in one place, doing their thing, pretty much as bad (take that how you will) as ever. It's truly an enjoyable film; it really is. It's intentionally funny--I've rarely seen a theater laugh so hard--and yet doesn't skimp on the action at all. Perhaps it puts too much weight on some people not known for their acting prowess--again, Statham, who actually CAN act when required, is sorely missed in certain scenes--but that's okay, because just as soon as you begin to question how these people got into this business, Chuck Norris emerges and saves the day. The gist: If you love class action movies, and I mean love them so much you can't help but admire even the "bad" ones, then THE EXPENDABLES 2 is a must-have for your testosterone-fueled collection.