The Expendables 2
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The cast of The Expendables, with newest members Billy the Kid (Hemsworth) and Maggie (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.
For those of you who perpetually claim that sequels are always worse than originals: Let it be stated that The Expendables 2 is superior to its predecessor. Yes, the same cast is in place, and yes, the ultraviolence runs wild, as before. But at least this one has the shape of a story: A "this time it's personal" motivation runs beneath the usual mercenary impulses of our wrecking crew. Sylvester Stallone (who also co-scripted, natch) returns as the leader of this macho band of hired guns, whose ranks include Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, and young pup Liam Hemsworth (Jet Li returns, but only briefly). The new villain is Jean-Claude Van Damme, who appears reluctant to take off his sunglasses, and there's also a "lone wolf" gunman played either by Chuck Norris or a wax figure of Chuck Norris. (His entrance constitutes the all-time worst use of the theme from The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, and that's some fierce competition.) Even with the intense bloodletting, the jokiness is constant, and becomes rampant whenever Stallone's Planet Hollywood partners convene for a board meeting (Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis both get more screen time than in the first Expendables). The best stroke is the addition of a female fighter--there's absolutely no credible reason for this, but Nan Yu takes the predictable role and makes something sly out of it. Is it actually a good movie? No, but director Simon West (Con Air) knows how to push it along and even to make certain action beats intelligible to the eye. This one is so self-referential it's hard to know where a third installment could go, but maybe Clint Eastwood could direct them all in a remake of The Dirty Dozen. --Robert Horton
• Gag Reel
• GODS OF WAR: Assembling Earth's Mightiest Antiheroes
• ON THE ASSAULT: The Real-Life Weaponry of THE EXPENDABLES
• BIG GUNS, BIGGER HEROES: The 1980s and the Rise of the Action Film
• GUNS FOR HIRE: The Real Expendables
• Audio Commentary with director Simon West
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Sylvester Stallone, Chuck Norris, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Jason Statham, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Bruce Willis walk into a room with lots of things that can explode. They shoot everything in the room while cracking amusing one-liners at each other, quite a few in-jokes, and totally absurd noise and action. Jean-Claude Van Damme has a one-on-one showdown with Stallone at one point.
I just described exactly what the point of this movie is in three sentences. There is nothing else that needs to be said. So, ask yourself, does this scenario appeal to you, or are you of such astoundingly poor judgment that you expected something different, much in the same way someone looking at a clear day would expect a sky colored something other than blue? If yes, great. Ignore everyone else and go see it, you'll be entertained. If not, you're so narcissistic you never would have liked this film to begin with at any point, and your ego is eating itself if you give this film a poor review on grounds it never promised in the first place.
The only real problem in this film is that it's lacking in the Jet Li department. Which is really unfortunate, as he was great in the first one. Not sure what happened there, but he's not around for most of the film, which sort of sucks. So if you're here to see Li and to not see him would make you cry regardless of anything else, you should not watch this film.
That's as deep as it goes. If you saw it by choice, then you expected correctly what the film was going to deliver all along. If you expected differently, short of being deceived by someone else who lied about what the COVER was about, then it's very likely that you're suffering from a severe psychosis and could benefit from treatment. You're also probably a harsh critic of the Transformers films and referred to them as "dumb action flicks" as an insult. This is an added indication that you should never review anything, ever again, because you've failed to develop the basic cognitive ability to know that people can enjoy exactly those films, and your opinion on movies may as well be a review on how provolone cheese is better than Swiss cheese. It's just as valid, really.
For the sequel Jean-Claude Van Damme is the main bad guy and Chuck Norris joins the cast in a cameo. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, and Dolph Lundgren get more screen time than they did in the first. And Jet Li's part is pretty much reduced down to a cameo appearance.(I guess Li didn't want a big part in this one. But it's still good to see him in the film.) Sylvester Stallone and Jason Statham are the central characters, just like in the first. With Terry Crews, Randy Couture,and Dolph Lundgren along for the ride. I'm glad to see Lundgren get a bigger part this time around. In the first, his character was kicked out of the group for substance problems and reckless behavior. Then he turns against the group for revenge and gets defeated (I'm not going to say how. For the ones that haven't seen the first one.). And ends up missing the action packed fight at the end. In this one Lundgren has recovered from his problems and is a team player. His character also at times is the comic relief. The man has had some good movies in the past. He has had some decent ones that went straight to video that went unnoticed. To bad bigger studios didn't give him more of a chance.
All in all, The Expendables 2 is a great movie. it's good to see all the big action stars of yesterday in a movie together. This one is worth checking out if your a fan of these stars or over the top action.
For a movie that used maybe 27 total lines (exaggerating), it was disappointing to see how rarely those few lines landed. Some were just delivered late - all of Arnhold's, others were just too quiet to even discern - Jet Li. Next time, do the action and then have the dudes voice over post production.
I did appreciate jibs within the film by the characters of their own Larger than Life Action Character status.
This Expendables is largely forgettable.
The movie has a whole list of old top action stars such as Stallone, Statham, Li, Lundgren, Norris, Crews, Couture, Hemsworth, Van Damme, Willis and Schwarzenegger. This band of mercenaries get together again for another action packed adventure. Lots of fist fighting, knife fighting and a whole lot of gun play in this action DVD.
If you are into action movies with a whole bunch of old guys who are still very tough guys, you should check out this DVD. This is a fun movie to watch and I loved it.
Rating: 5 Stars. Joseph J. Truncale (Author: Use of the Monadnock Straight (MEB) Baton).