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.
Barney augments his team with new blood for a personal battle: to take down Conrad Stonebanks, the Expendables co-founder and notorious arms trader who is hell bent on wiping out Barney and every single one of his associates.
Frank Martin puts the driving gloves on to deliver Valentina, the kidnapped daughter of a Ukranian government official, from Marseilles to Odessa on the Black Sea. En route, he has to contend with thugs who want to intercept Valentina's safe delivery and not let his personal feelings get in the way of his dangerous objective.
Ex-con Jensen Ames is forced by the warden of a notorious prison to compete in our post-industrial world's most popular sport: a car race in which inmates must brutalize and kill one another on the road to victory.
Barney Ross is approached by CIA man Church, who wants him and his guns for hire to go to the former Soviet Union to retrieve something that was on a plane that crashed. Church doesn't tell him what he is getting. And Church sends a woman, Maggie with him to make sure he gets it. They find the plane and get the thing but some men take one of Barney's people hostage and the leader tells him to give him what they got or he'll kill his hostage. The give it to him but he kills his hostage anyway. Barney asks Maggie what was so important about that thing. She says that it showed the location of a Russian plutonium storage mine. Barney decides to track the man down and deal with him. They track them down and discover that the man they seek is Vilain who leads a group known as The Sangs and that they have taken all the men from the surrounding villages to work the mine. Written by
In an interview with BBC Radio, Sylvester Stallone confirmed that he named Jean-Claude Van Damme's character 'Vilain' to make it similar to the name of 19th Century French poet Paul Verlaine. This was to set up an extremely obscure in-joke where the final showdown between Van Damme and Stallone, could be seen as a fight between Vilain/Verlaine and Rambo/Rimbaud. Arthur Rimbaud (pronounced Rambo) being another French poet with whom Verlaine had a tempestuous affair. See more »
After the big fight at the airport, Booker, Church, Maggie and Trench are seen getting in a helicopter with a large 711 on the engine cowling. However, the helicopter we see taking off with them supposedly on board has a large 712 on the engine cowling. See more »
During the end credits, as the actors image and name appears, there is a lightning flash on the actor's face. When this occurs, an image of a "skull" appears superimposed over the face with the flash and then fades. See more »
It takes a certain mindset to appreciate a movie like "The Expendables 2". One has to be a fan of the action genre of the 1980s and early 1990s, as well as enjoying those action heroes' persona and screen presence whenever they appear on-screen. They did not necessarily have to act well, but they had to be tough, heroic, stoic, larger than life. Realism need not really apply here - it's all about the fun factor. People paid to see these guys blow away the scum of the earth as they only know how.
"The Expendables 2" is the first sequel (and it most certainly would not be the last) to Stallone's 2010 surprise blockbuster which was intended as a glorious throwback to the films of that era. This one is no exception. However, it is a rare sequel which is better than the first. The story may not be important in these types of movies, but in this one the screenplay had a much clearer and stronger narrative than the first film, making it clear that the stakes are raised, thus enabling the story, however shallow, to be more engaging for the audience.
Director Simon West ("Con Air") did wonders with the action sequences as he usually does with his movies. The majority of the action sequences are well shot with wide angles and much better stunt choreography (with CGI touches added here and there, but not as pervasive as the first film's CGI blood; good ol' squibs are used here mostly) which gets annoying with the film's rapid editing at times. Brian Tyler's music score was fairly engaging but didn't really stand out. Overall, the technical aspects of the film really shows off the big budget for the film, and it pays off ultimately.
But what about the characters? If you've seen the director's cut for the first film, that's about as close as you can get for character development. Like the first, this is all-out action, but it has some dramatic moments too. There is a line about coping with death that Barney Ross mutters that feels kind of sad knowing Stallone's own real- life predicament. Van Damme's having a blast as the Villain, and a menacing one at that. The biggest disappointment was that of Jet Li's very minimal screen presence, like a cameo. Hopefully an extended version will fix that problem.
The film's biggest entertainment value comes in the constant one-liners from and between the action icons of the eras, as well as their presence and their dispatching of the bad guys. The banter here is certainly more hilarious and less bland than the first film - there is much more chemistry between the characters. Their screen presence needs no explanation: Sylvester Stallone. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Bruce Willis. Jean-Claude Van Damme. Chuck Norris. Dolph Lundgren. Jason Statham. Jet Li. Need I say more? Cult or mainstream, these guys each has hordes of fans - and they have good reason to.
I grew up on these types of movies and ultimately "The Expendables 2" satisfies my craving for good old-fashioned movie bloodlust in wake of the ever-rising wave of PG-13, CGI-laden action films ("Total Recall" remake, anyone? Oh Arnie, where art thou?). That being said, I expect an extended director's cut as I feel that some parts were awkwardly put together, and hopefully these removed scenes will make the film better as a whole. For now, "The Expendables 2" is very good entertainment, as shallow as it is technically well-made and ends the 2012 summer movie season with a big bang.
Now bring on "The Expendables 3" with Steven Seagal and Wesley Snipes (to basically complete the cycle of 80's/'90s action heroes). Mel Gibson, Kurt Russell, Harrison Ford, Nicolas Cage and Clint Eastwood (my #1 action hero) are also most welcome indeed.
Overall rating: 65%
Action movie rating: 75%
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