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 ag... Read allMr. 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.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.
"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%
- Aug 17, 2012