Film Review : The Expendables 2
● By Justin Buettner
A group of mercenaries are blackmailed into accepting a mission to retrieve a secret cargo from a fallen plane. When one of their own dies in the foiled mission as a terrorist group intercepts the cargo, the mercenaries take it personal and set out on a vendetta to kill the terrorist and retrieve their stolen and dangerous cargo.
The Expendables 2 is an 80’s action parody chalked full of over the hill action stars still attempting to do what made them famous now (gulp) 30 years ago. It’s a strange mix of guys as the older action stars are limited in varying degrees in what action stunts they perform. In Arnold Schwarzenegger’s return to the screen it is readily apparent he can no longer move. However limited in their motion one thing the Expendables 2 proves is they all still know how to shoot guns.
The amount of gunfire is on a ridiculous level never before seen. The enemies not only get shot, but it appears they are being shot with exploding bullets as every time a bad guy is hit with a bullet he literally explodes. Sure it’s gory but it is so over the top it is comical. The excess gunfire is only matched by the absurdity of the opposition’s aim. The heroes kill count could approach a 1,000 and despite being armed with machine guns and tanks the enemies are only able to hit their target twice. And despite shooting Stallone twice Stallone shrugs it off like he received a small splinter. But that is the testosterone on display in this silly over the top throwback action movie.
Each action star is given their moments to shine. Jet Li has a vintage fight scene of him taking out a gang of bad guys with a frying pan that is flat out cool. Jason Statham is still in his prime, and he gets several scenes to show off his brand of hand to hand combat skills. Stallone, despite his advanced age, still looks pumped up, still has the manly voice, and still can convincingly land a punch. The fight scene between him and Van Damme is really cool. Even Chuck Norris gets a turn and manages to poke fun at his cult status due to the Chuck Norris Facts which will long outlive his cheesy 80’s action films and Texas Walker TV series. The scene stealer in the film though is Dolph Lundgren who is a comic train wreck. Every moment Dolph Lundgren occupies the screen is comic gold and I could not get enough. The man is flat out funny!
There are long breaks in the action though. These breaks are full of the eye rolling bad dialog and horrible one liners that you would expect in this type of movie. It’s cliché, predictable, and we’ve all heard it a thousand times but it still works. It’s just entertaining. I don’t think Arnold Schwarzenegger is allowed to say dialog that is not a bad one liner, he must have that as a clause in his contract. It almost seemed like a desperate plea to remind fans that in his younger years he played the Terminator.
To dissect this movie with any seriousness would be missing the point. The movie is as much a comedy as it is an action movie, although it works on both levels. Simon West is a capable action director and the action is clear, simple and easy to follow. The comedy is front and center and these guys are eager to wink at the audience as they do impossible stunts while dodging a hail of bullets that hit everything but them. People who enjoyed the mindless action movies of the eighties will absolutely love this movie. It is just mindless fun. If you take things too seriously and are not a fan of action comedy then you best stay far away from this. The Expendables 2 is exactly what it looks like, a campy fun return to yesteryear with the heroes of the past.
Films like The Expendables 2 : Expendables, The A-Team, and G.I Joe : The Rise of Cobra
Justin Buettner is Style's resident movie dude! How did he get this role? Well, he graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a Bachelor of Arts in film Production and a duel minor in Animation and Business with an emphasis in the entertainment field. He later went on to work on several independent films in various key roles including writer and later worked in the special effects field as a motion capture artist. He has since relocated to the Sacramento area with his family and continues writing for small independent films in addition to his movie reviews for Style Magazine.