The Expendables 2

Two years ago, Sylvester Stallone parlayed the momentum of his comeback successes of “Rocky Balboa” and “Rambo” into the start of a new franchise, “The Expendables”. Featuring a virtual who’s who of aging action stars, “The Expendables” dealt up a heaping portion of carnage and camaraderie and proved to be surprisingly enjoyable movie. It was also successful enough to warrant a sequel.

For the return engagement, Stallone recruits additional semi-retired movie heroes (Jean-Claude Van Damme and Chuck Norris), and expands the roles of pals Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis. But would it be enough to support an already thin concept?

Fear not, “Expendables” fans, “The Expendables 2″ more than delivers on its B-movie promise of bullets, blood, and bromance.

Barney Ross (Stallone) is back in action and once again leading his paramilitary unit into mercenary duty. The entire team returns: Lee Christmas (Jason Statham), Yin Yang (Jet Li), Gunner Jensen (Dolph Lundgren), Hale Caesar (Terry Crews) and Toll Road (Randy Couture). They’ve also added some fresh blood to the team… an eagle-eyed sniper they call Billy the Kid (Liam Hemsworth). Collectively they waste no time in getting into the thick of things; the movie opens with a raid on a heavily fortified compound. The Expendables roar in on armored transports and begin shooting, stabbing and blowing stuff up. Within five minutes the body count is approaching triple digits.

Eventually Ross and the team cross paths again with Mr. Church (Bruce Willis), who comes to collect his due in the aftermath of the last mission he enlisted them for (the last movie). Church wants the Expendables to travel to Russia and recover the contents of a safe from within a downed airplane. Ross is forced to comply, and also reluctantly agrees to bringing a safe cracking expert (Nan Yu) along on the assignment. The team is quickly able to successfully recover the contents they sought, but they’re ambushed before they can return them to Church.

The team that ambushes them is led by Jean Vilain (I kid you not, the villain’s name is Vilain), played by Jean-Claude Van Damme. Vilain is a terrorist and slaver who is attempting to recover a cache of nuclear grade plutonium the Russians buried in a mine at the end of the Cold War. Once he crosses paths with the Expendables though, a showdown awaits, as they’re not the kind to forgive and forget.

It’s not complex, it’s not complicated. But people dont watch “The Expendabales” for the plot. People watch the Expendables to see muscle-bound dudes with big guns shooting anonymous, generic bad guys to shit. And there is plenty of that to be had. The team chases after Vilain, and numerous armed and unarmed conflicts await. There are explosions and automatic weapons and throwing knives and hand to hand combat.

Bad guys get “expended”. By the scores.

In between the combat sequences, there’s scenes of two sorts. Bonding and hamming it up amongst the team, and Stallone acting world-weary over the burden of being the world’s greatest mercenary. Popping up occasionally in order to contribute to the copious kill count are Arnold Schwarzenegger and Chuck Norris. They also up the ball busting quotient in the film, as if the Expendables crew needed help in that regard. All the stars trade nudges and asides as they allude to their former movies and slip in famous lines. If anything, the movie may be a little too “wink, wink” at times. I swear, during Norris’ scenes they practically name drop or reference everything you could think of associated with him, right down to the Internet meme about how invincibly tough he is. For the most part, it’s fun though, I got a chuckle out of it, especially a catch-phrase trade-off Schwarzenegger and Willis exchange late in the film.

Between the camaraderie of the cast and characters, our pre-existing affection for these stars, and the fact that this series sates your blood lust like no other, this is a movie that was highly amusing and easily recommendable. Part nostalgia trip, part testosterone high, always enjoyable, “The Expendables 2″ serves up high quantities confectionary carnage that’s sure to please fans of the original.

B+

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62 thoughts on “The Expendables 2

  1. This one was fun. I agree. But for me it started really great and got less and less exciting until the end which didn’t reach the level it was at the beginning.

    But it was still good. I gave it what would be compared to as a “B”. Just fun stuff. Explosions, bullets, blood, Chuck Norris. yeah…good stuff.

    i think i liked the first one more though.

    and…can anyone tell me why Mickey Rourke was missing?

    • Nope. Contract dispute? I dont know. It’d be nice to see him again in three, if there is one.

      A “B” is a good grade for this one. I mean, this is why people call them “B Movies”

      I dont know if I could agree that the beginning was better than the end, though bud! My favorite part of the movie was that mano a mano throwdown!! :D

      • true, and Van Damme submitted a rewrite to Stallone because the original ending had Stallone killing Van Damme by shooting down a helicopter that Van Damme was in. Van Damme told Stallone that he didn’t think that the fans would like that if there wasn’t an inclusion of a fight btwn he and Sly that also had Van Damme’s signature roundhouse.

        Stallone told him “ok, you write it and we’ll do it.” So the fight sequence and death scene was written by Van Damme and then refined by the writing teams. And I’m so glad that Van Damme said something. (He almost didn’t because, well, Stallone is an Academy Award Nominee writer.)

        True Story.

        Yes, I loved the fight scenes mano a mano. They were great. But the level of excitement just wasn’t as explosive as the film probably promised it to be after the beginning. Fight scenes -very cool, just overall not as big in your face as the opening. IMO.

      • Oh wow, man, I hadnt heard that! Or if I had, I guess I didnt latch on to it. Thanks for the FYI, that’s awesome.

        The movie is SO much better that way. Holy cow… I mean, that’s my favorite scene! :D

  2. He’s BACK!! Yeah…this was 200% ridiculous fun!! I got a kick out of all of it.
    I think it is better than the first because this time they just went for it–wink and a smile all the way through. And Van Damme is actually a pretty good baddie.

    If you know what you getting into, you can’t help but have a blast!

    • LOL 200% is right. Over the top, baby!!

      You’re totally right, for people who know why theyre going to this and know what’s in store, there’s no way it disappoints. It delivers what it promises.

      The one thing I wish is I wish they scaled the in jokes back by about 75%. Seriously. Aside from that though I had fun!

      • For sure! It was one-liners overload for awhile there.

        OH! How could I not mention the best joke though…Chuck Norris delivers the best zinger of the film!! I literally LOL! :D

        Good times…good times.

  3. Well, my brother-in-law dragged us into the nearest Cinebarre (booze and food while watching a movie!) and we watched Expendables 2. It was enjoyable! Action was not top notch — most of it was used to set up gags — but what can you do? These guys are like a hundred years old or something. (Best part was SPOILERS! Chuck Norris shooting that guy through the body scanning device.) It’s fluff, but like the Avengers movie earlier this year, sometimes you just want to see a team of superstars blow things up.

    Van Damme in particular looked like he was having a ball. I know he had a terrible accent, but I’m pretty sure he was playing it up for the movie. Plus, I got a kick out of the moment that Dolph Lundgren’s character referred to himself as being a Fullbright scholar. I had the hardest time trying to explain to my wife why that was funny. (For those who don’t know: Lundgren easily has the highest IQ out of anyone in the cast.)

    Also through the whole movie I thought Liam Hemsworth was actually Chris Hemsworth. I kept turning to my wife and made Thor jokes throughout. Unfortunately, I got tripped up when the end credits rolled and it turned out I had the wrong actor. All my Thor jokes … ruined!

    • LOL. That’s funny. Gotta be on solid ground before you start cracking wise, Santo!

      That was a hysterical sequence revolving around Dolph Lundgren. And true, too, you have a point. He can really fight, too! He’s an ex Karate Champ! That was a really really funny sequence though… I loved the fact that the bomb didnt go off! :D

      Van Damme’s accent IS so thick. I’m listening to that interview that T posted a link to, above, and it’s… LOL. Rough.

  4. I can’t believe I’m still trying to clear out the back log from August. Anyway, I LOVED the movie. It was cornier that the first one because of all the gags referencing their old work. A few felt forced but on the whole it was amusing. It also made it feel as if this was going to be the only other Expendables movie. It reminded me of the way the cast of a live theater perfomance goes overboard with the improve on the final night or final weekend of a long run. Expendables 2 felt like that last Hurrah.

    I have people who tell me they didn’t see it because they don’t like Stallone. They don’t like Stallone because they don’t like Rocky or Rambo. I don’t like Rocky or Rambo, but I’ve loved most everything else he did. Some of it was better than other. Some of it was pretty bad or pretty corny. Some of it was pretty great. One can like Stallone and dislike the two characters that made him famous.

    Even if I didn’t care for Stallone I would have gone to see it just to watch Van Damme as the bad guy. Just so I could see Van Damme get killed. I don’t particularily like him as human being so watching him get offed is worth it.

    • Wow. That is like the complete opposite of the “Popular Opinion” on Stallone. Lol. Most people love those two and can’t stand the rest! :D Personally, I’m a big fan… Even when he’s bad, he’s cheesy fun!

      No love for Rocky though? Rambo? C’mon U.N. ‘sup with that?

      Meanwhile, personally, I’m not quite at the “Love in all caps” estimation of this one. But I might be able to give it a “Like in all caps”, cause I really did LIKE it. :D

      • Oh, the love in all caps is because the of the sense of satisfaction after watching it and very little to do with film quality. It is occasionally influenced by feelings and attitudes I bring with me at the time of viewing. This is why, there are movies that I remember loving and when I watch them a few years later, I can’t remember why I like them so much. Since I wasn’t analizing the film myself, I don’t feel the need to be objective and I can go with my gut feeling.

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