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

    • Well, if the first one didn’t do much for you Julian, just forget about this one altogether. LOL. On its best day, this is “More of the same”. I dont know, maybe slightly better, but certainly no different or anything.

      If 1 wasn’t your cup of tea, there’s no chance that 2 is. :D

  1. Sometimes fogs’s film forgiveness flabbergasts me, but in a good way. B+ indeed! I mean hell how can you not like bullets, blood, and bromance! Entertaining review sir, thanks for the chuckle!

    • Yeah, I definitely went to the consonance well a couple of times in that review. :D Nice call out. LOL

      I definitely do tend to be forgiving of movies, but in this case, there’s really nothing to forgive. It is what it is, unapologetically, and it winds up being really enjoyable. Funny at points, exciting at others… there arent really any “great” action sequences or anything, but the action scenes are a lot of fun.

      So yeah, I really liked it Ric.

  2. Cool. I was disappointed with the first one, but this sounds like they actually improved upon what should be B-movie bliss. I think I’ll try to catch this one after all. Thanks for the heads up, Fogs.

    • I’m leery of recommending this to anyone who didn’t like the first one, though. There really aren’t many substantive differences between one and two. I liked the first one, too. It certainly could have been better, but it’s an enjoyable diversion.

  3. I hated the first one, yet I had so much damn fun with this one that it scared it me LOL. I’m back! haha idk color me surprised but this is everything I wanted the first one to be.

    • Wow! I mean, I think I told people 4, 5 times already here, “If you didn’t like 1, you won’t like 2″! Can you put your finger on the difference, Blain? I liked ‘em both, but I think they’re really similar…

      What changed your mind?

  4. I felt the camaraderie was stronger, the laughs were more consistent, the action felt bigger. Maybe, Simon West’s direction… idk, it just felt way more fun while the first one felt more stiff. No wait… Chuck Norris, that explains everything ;)

  5. Yep! Well said. This movie was a lot of fun and will especially appeal to 80′s folks who grew up watching these guys in their movie prime. I really enjoyed it.

    • HA!

      It absolutely would. It’s funny you should mention that… as I was watching it, I was sitting there wondering if I could even do such a thing here. My answer? Nope. Too much carnage to be counted. :D

      Although given enough time, this will certainly be an entry in that series. :D

  6. I thought a lot of the jokes fell VERY flat (“You’ve already been back enough!” blech) but overall, much more fun than the first.

    • Yeah, that was where I was at with it. I called it out a little in the review… I couldnt totally let it slide.

      Still, it didnt bother me enough to lessen my appreciation at all! I had a lot of fun!

  7. “It’s not complex, it’s not complicated. But people dont watch “The Expendabales” for the plot. ”

    Exactly. I roll my eyes when people try and nitpick at the plot of this film. I yell at them “Who fucking cares!”. Usually shuts them up.

    Yeah, there was a lot of wink-wink nudge-nudge, but it still amused me. The action was great. Though, I kinda wanted more out of Stallone and Van Damme’s big fight off.

    Roll on Expendables 3.

    • No way! Watching Stallone break out the patented Rocky body-hooks to the ribs almost had me on my feet! My favorite few seconds of the movie!! :D

      You’re right though, I mean, this movie isn’t trying to “pull a fast one” on anyone. It is what it is, people should know what they’re signing up for…

      Glad you dug it Jaina, and I concur! Expendables 3, bring it!!

  8. I hated The Expendables with a passion Fogs, I mean I wasn’t expecting much but still didn’t expect it to be SO dumb either, it was excruciating that I nearly walked out of the theater. So I’d only rent this one just to see all the preposterous action stuff with all those um, senior actors, ahah. Glad you enjoyed this man, sounds like it’s much improvement over the first one.

    • Yeah, I saw you comment something to that effect on Twitter.

      I’ll tell you Ruth, if you hated the first one, I wouldnt even recommend you rent this one. I mean, it’s pretty much made from the same mold. I know there was an earlier comment about liking this one in spite of hating the first, but I cant imagine that happening often

      • But the first one didn’t have Chuck Norris or Van Damme :D I have a friend who practically worships JCVD, so I might rent just for the chuckle. I won’t make the mistake of seeing it on the big screen ever again tho.

  9. I’ve been waiting three days to see what you were going to say about it, and you pretty much summed it up. The first movie had a little more “heart” I would say, in that it is about them getting their soul back as a group. This one is like they found their soul and now they are going to go blow more stuff up! It was a blast to watch, too funny and great action. I really enjoyed the first one, and this one was lots of fun. Story to me was a little less compelling than the first movie. I did love watching Stallone beat the crap out of Van Damme and Helmsworth did a pretty good job. :-) It was fun!

    • :D Yeah, we’re singing the same tune.

      The first movie did have a little more character building… they had to introduce the characters. This one substituted a little more “in jokes”. It wasn’t an even trade, but I thought it was fun having Van Damme as the villain and seeing Rocky Barney Ross bust his ribs up!!

      Glad you like it too WBD! :D

      • I do have to admit that at one part when Arnold, Willis and Stallone are leaning against some cover, I had this intense feeling of age…I was like “Man, I’m old…cause they’re really old.”

  10. Tomorrow night is discount Tuesday night right? I think I should go out and see this. I’m glad that its at least entertaining. I’ve heard arguments that the first one wasn’t so good…how does this one compare to that?

    • They’re about the same, I didnt feel a ton of difference between the two. Cheesey, B Movie, Action spectacular, you know?

      I enjoyed it. If you like that type of movie, you’ll dig it.

      I might recommend 1 first – its on Netflix streaming, etc. Not so much as a prerequisite, but just to see if you like it.

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