#399/#116 The Expendables 2
When one of their own is killed, the expendables mount up to track and kill the murderer.
I wasn’t the biggest fan of the original expendables film (It was actually one of my earliest reviews). It couldn’t decide if it wanted to be a send up of all the 80’s/90’s movies that made these actors famous or a more serious mercenary action flick (akin to the latest Rambo). It tried to be both and ended up a garbled, forgettable mess. Expendables 2 does not make the same mistake twice. It has dropped almost all of the attempts at serious dramatic introspection and just hits the ground running, trying to be the biggest and loudest action film it can be.
It also fixed one of my other gripes about the original film by including both an over the top evil villain in the form of Van Damme, who is probably the best I’ve seen him in this and looking to be having a ton of fun, and an equally loathsome henchman. You look forward to the one-on-one fights with the heroes this time around because it feels more worthwhile.
A very quick re-cap of all the major players: Sly’s fine and gets a great final fight but also has a really awkward love interest for some reason; Statham’s a little aimless but gets a cool fight scene however it’s not as good as his one on the basketball court from the first film; Li also gets a cool fight with frying pans but is only in the film for about 5 minutes; Lundgren and Crews are both a little lacking but both have their funny moments and round out the team well; Norris was totally pointless but mercifully short; Willis really looks like he’s slumming it given that he’s still producing good films; Hemsworth is surprisingly good and Arnie is just rusty as hell getting some really bad one-liners and one awesome one.
It’s not a clever film, the plots almost non-existant outside of ‘kill everything that isn’t us’, it’s super cliche (but it kinda has to be) and most of the one liners are really forced/terrible but it all sort of adds to the overall charm of the thing. It’s not half-assing it this time and I really appreciated it. Expendables 2 is exactly what I wanted from the first film but did not get. The opening scene alone in the this one blows everything in the original out of the water and if that doesn’t then the Sly/Arnie/Willis slow walk-and-gun scene at the climax sure as hell does.
As long as you go in with the mindset that this is going to be a big, cheesy 80’s action movie then you will absolutely have a good time. 3.5/5