The Expendables 2 (2012)

Tasked with retrieving a piece of tech from a downed plane, Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone), Lee Christmas (Jason Statham), Gunner Jensen (Dolph Lundgren), Hale Caeser (Terry Crews), Toll Road (Randy Couture) and newcomers Bill the Kid (Liam Hemsworth) and Maggie Yan (Nan Yu) are ambushed at the crash site and their prize stolen by Jean Vilain (Jean-Claude Va Damme). With one of their number down, The Expendables track Vilain with the help of Church (Bruce Willis), Trench (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and Brooker (Chuck Norris) to an abandoned Soviet Union mine, and try to stop him before he can escape with his pay-load of weapons-grade plutonium.

In the two years since The Expendables landed, fizzled and went out in cinemas, a period in which the explosives industry was presumably left to recover and replenish its supplies, Sylvester Stallone has handed directing duties over to Simon West and raided the bargain bins of cinema for another pair of retired action heroes to join the ranks of his genre re-invention. Better directed than the original, and finally starring an ensemble worth losing your hearing over, The Expendables 2 is everything the first movie should have been. With added puns.

Between them, Richard Wenk and Sylvester Stallone have written a screenplay that is by turns dramatic, exciting and laugh-out-loud funny, as, onscreen, the team try desperately to best one another in a line of work better suited to men half their age. Part action movie, part thriller and part pastiche, the finished product manages to tell a relatively straight story — complete with rousing speeches, mild peril and weapons-grade plutonium — without ever taking itself too seriously. While the first half may boast the majority of the banterous humour, there are enough sight gags, call-backs and references to the main players’ assorted back catalogues to keep the laughs coming throughout.

Almost everyone is on top form, with Stallone, Li and Van Damme impressing in the action stakes, and prime cameos written the likes of likes of Schwarzenegger, Willis and Norris. By far the most entertaining presences are those of Crews, Ludregen and Statham who really bring the script to life, the latter in particular making the most of his cockney charm and trademark wit. Yu and Hemsworth provide worthy support in underwritten roles, while Couture — who is by now beginning to resemble Gary Barlow on steroids — does very little to justify his presence, apparently existing for the sole purpose of justifying the film’s title; if anyone in this ensemble is expendable, it’s him.

A throwback to 80s exploitation, complete with grainy aesthetic and schlocky effects, The Expendables 2 is the ultimate action movie. Although fun while it lasted, however, there is very little on offer that hasn’t been said, done or blown to pieces a million times before.

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About popcornaddiction
I am a psychology graduate, a News Writer for HeyUGuys/BestforFilm and, most importantly, a hopeless popcorn addict.

2 Responses to The Expendables 2 (2012)

  1. Nostra says:

    It was a lot more enjoyable than the first one. Nice review (small typo in Lundgren…)

  2. Pingback: August 2012 – My shoe is bigger than this car! « popcornaddict

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