Mr. Church reunites the Expendables for what should be an easy paycheck, but when one of their men is murdered on the job, their quest for revenge puts them deep in enemy territory and up against an unexpected threat.
I still vividly remember the moment that news started to hit the web about the production of the first expendables movie. The internet was buzzing with excitement over the announced cast members, which included many action hero favorites, and the amount of action we would get to see. As we all know, that’s exactly what we got, even though the story was oftentimes ludicrous, The Expendables was definitely memorable.
It’s 2 years later now, and the cast has extended even more, with the addition of Chuck Norris, Jean-Claude van Damme and extended roles for Schwarzenegger and Willis.
So the main question that needs to be answered as always is if this movie is any good.
And more so then with any other flick, it depends on what you expect from a movie like this.
The story in itself isn’t all that groundbreaking, which is expected in a movie like this, basically consisting of the guys (with some added new faces) taking revenge for the fact that Vilain (yes, that’s actually his name) played by Jean-Claude van Damme, kills one of their team members on a mission for Church (Bruce Willis). But you don’t go to the cinema and buy a ticket for ‘The Expendables 2’ to watch an intelligent drama. This is balls to the wall action, so having said that up front, let’s move on to the good stuff.
The first big difference we get is one that’s taking place behind the scenes, as Sly has passed on the directorial duties to Simon West. Even though it looks like a walk in the park to make a simple action movie, West manages to bring in some much needed flair to what’s seen on screen, making this sequel a much better movie from a technical point of view.
Ofcourse, the main selling point of this movie is it’s cast and boy, what a cast this is.
Being a guy, and an action movie fan, I never thought I’d see the day where Schwarzenegger is shooting a gun with Bruce Willis and Sylvester Stallone next to him, and Chuck Norris providing cover whilst all of them are being shot at by Jean-Claude van Damme. This probably is the male equivalent of Sex and the City.
Director Simon West manages to get the most out of the cast, and his biggest achievement is to manage all the big names seen on screen. Sly and his core crew consisting of Statham, Crews, Lundgren and Couture carry most of the movie, with some added help from Maggie (Nan Yu), Schwarzenegger and Willis. Naming them by their screennames isn’t even necessary. As we get to the other clever touch that West has added.
With all these big names in action movies, nobody will care about the character they play, we just want to see Willis in John McClane mode, Schwarzenegger spraying quotes and Sly being the Rambo/Rocky behemoth we know them all for.
Schwarzenegger, unfortunately, does show that he’s been out of the acting game for quite some time now.
His comedic timing is off and overall you get the feeling that this movie serves as a training for him to get back into it. Never the less, his one-liners and the fact we see him shooting a big gun, is still a lot of fun.
As I mentioned in a few lines of text above, director Simon West added another clever touch by mixing the personalities of the characters with the actors and all their trademark moves. Lundgren, who is an accomplished chemical engineer in real life, is portrayed just like that in the movie. Sly has his rocky/rambo roots, Norris takes the piss out of himself and his ‘Chuck Norris facts’, and in the middle of watching it all unfold on the big screen, you really get a sense of how much fun the guys must have had while shooting this movie.
Yes, it won’t win any awards (not the ones that matter anyway), and it does glorify violence, 80 percent of the actors playing in this movie could be your grandfather, but that’s not what matters. What matters is that we get a movie that uses practical effects, the trademarks of it’s cast and delivers a fun (and bullet) filled flick. Talks about the third movie have already begun, with names being thrown around like Nicolas Cage, Wesley Snipes, Harrison Ford and yes, the master of all action heroes: Clint Eastwood. Hopefully, the third movie manages to improve a bit on it’s story and even if it doesn’t: Wouldn’t you pay 10 bucks to hear Clint Eastwood say: Go ahead Arnold..make my day.
Before closing this off, the highlight of this movie is definitely the addition of Jean-Claude van Damme. He makes for a great villain, named Vilain, and as he proved to us a few years back with JCVD, he still has the ability to create a memorable character, making his final face off one of the stand out scenes of this sequel.
The Expendables 2 isn’t pretending to be anything more than it already is. It’s fun, balls to the wall action and tongue in cheek, and if you care for any of those ingredients you are guaranteed of having a good time at the movies!