2010’s ensemble action film ‘The Expendables” was an ode to the time when action movies ruled the multiplexes and when adrenaline-pumping stunts and explosions took precedence over plot and substance. Directed by Sylvester Stallone, the film did have some rough spots but proved to be a escapist fun. It also brought together the past and present array of action stars that satisfied action junkies. Well, this time, with Simon West at the helm as director and script written by Stallone and Richard Wenk, comes its sequel in the form of “The Expendables 2”. As expected, it tries to out-do the first film with a lot more action, explosions and adrenaline. As with the first movie, "Expendables 2" is the kind of movie that you will either love or hate.
The films begins right in the middle of the action as Barney Ross’ (Stallone) group of rag-tag mercenaries (Jason Statham, Jet Li, Randy Couture, Dolph Lundgren, Terry Crews and Liam Hemsworth) are dispatched to Nepal to rescue a rich businessman as well as Trench (Arnold Schwarzenegger), Barney’s rival. After the successful mission, Yang (Li) leaves the team to accompany the businessman in his return to China while the rest of the group goes back to the States for a little R and R. But things never slow down for the team, as Church (Bruce Willis) collects on an old debt from Barney and this sends them on another mission to accompany a Chinese female operative named Maggie Chan (Yu Nan) to retrieve some lost item from a safe. This puts the team at odds with a man called Jean Vilain (Jean Claude Van Damme) who has other plans for the item. Now, the team must track, hunt, find and kill those who had done them wrong and maybe preserve the balance of power in the free world.
“The Expendables 2” is your tough, no-nonsense, adrenaline pumping action movie that is a throwback the 80’s action movie era. The plot of the movie is pretty standard and admittedly, there is nothing intricate or surprising with the manner the film is executed. It is your typical revenge, explosive action movie where the ’heroes’ are anti-heroes hunting down those who crossed the line in their own definition of honor. The screenplay is rich with action “fan service” and the dialogue is filled with one-liners to promote a lot of attitude and some macho humor. True, the film’s script has a lot of plot holes, but this really isn’t the kind of movie you go see for an engaging story. “Expendables 2” is loud, crude, bombastic, outrageous and it does it so well.
I do have to admit, while this movie is another one of those Stallone and Statham movies since the story and its devices revolve around their characters, I felt that the direction this time around was a little bit more balanced than the first movie. It is difficult to distribute screen time among the many ‘action movie hall of famers’, but Simon West does try and the screenplay was a little smoother in bringing in the set ups for the action as well as delivering the ‘punch lines’ in the scenes. Willis, Schwarzenegger and a surprising cameo by Chuck Norris were truly a welcome element that drove some of the film’s machismo humor. Jet Li may have very limited screen time but what he does in the first act got a huge reaction from fans. I liked the way the dialogue also played on some of the famous lines of the action movies from the 80’s, as if to poke fun at them. It also had some subtle musical cues that mimicked those same movies. I heard some musical nods to “The Terminator”, “Missing In Action” and even some Asian martial arts movies (God knows what else).
The film really embraced what it is wanted to do. It has some one-on-one action to generate some machismo, as if saying “you fucked with me, now this is the time for payback” kind of deal. Stallone takes on Van Damme while Statham takes on another martial artist, Scott Adkins (who plays Hector). It is all about some macho payback in this sequel. The direction also does not hold back on the bucket loads of blood that he uses to express the action violence. You can say that there is a lot more gunfire and fights than meaningful dialogue in this film. One scene leads to another as West allows the film to wallow in its display of an action extravaganza. You see some classic “Expendables” attitude and gadgetry (meaning guns and cannons) to allow the action to dictate its pace. I also liked the cinematography with its grainy, dirty look that seems to emulate the film's intended violent and rough delivery.
Yeah, “The Expendables 2” is your standard action movie that brings action fanatics their sense of nostalgia when action sequences took precedence over substance. Those were the good old days, and even what very little characterization to be had with Barney and Lee, it all revolved around Maggie and Lacy (Charisma Carpenter), then it all comes down to pure action adrenaline. One can say that this movie franchise is all about ‘novelty’ as it brings together all the action stars of old (too bad Donnie Yen could not make the film due to scheduling issues), and delivers what it is supposed to. There is a strong hint of a third movie, and if so, I am all in. They do need to hurry up since these stars are beginning to really “show their age” (LOL!), but then there is always a younger version of “The Expendables” hanging around the corner…please just NO 3D gimmicks!
When I first saw the trailer for the first Expendables movie; I thought I had died and gone to action movie heaven. The Expendables featured an ensemble cast made up of the most well known past and present action movie stars. For me it was the coolest thing ever. When I eventually saw the movie (I bought the DVD with birthday money) I was alittle disappointed. The movie wasn’t very actiony and overall didn’t feel as great as the trailers made … more
The action film has a curious history. Granted, studios didn’t begin pumping them out in the ‘80’s, but, to a large part, they experienced a significant retooling in that bygone era. Mostly, this renaissance was fueled by the big budget star – think Sylvester Stallone, Jean-Claude Van Damme, and Arnold Schwarzenegger – coming aboard a particular action vehicle and asking for the part to be customized to what his … more
Star Rating: Watching The Expendables 2, I was repeatedly reminded of the Julie Brown single “I Like ‘em Big and Stupid,” a 1980s synthpop novelty song about the inexplicable attraction to muscle-bound men with low IQs. A sample of the opening verse: “When I need something to help me unwind / I find a six-foot baby with a one-track mind. / Smart guys are nowhere, they make demands / Give me a moron with talented hands.” Rare for … more
2010's The Expendables was a grand celebration of corny action movies with plenty of big names and big action. Upon watching it more I saw it did have flaws such as quick cuts of shaky cam and being filmed a little too close among some other issues. The Expendables 2 clears out most of those issues but brings a few more with it. In the original, we got the basics and thats been built upon here too. Stallone's Barney Ross runs a team of super duper … more
Of the 6 movies on my list The Expendables 2 is one of the ones I'm Most excited for. When I watched the first trailer, although it was only about 50 seconds long; it was enough to get me screaming like a Little girl at a Justin Beiber Concert. From that first trailer it looked like the movie was going to be on a more serious tone than it predecessor. I guess you could say the lighting and the low toned music gave me that impression. I was hoping the story would open up a … more