The Expendables 2

Expendables 2 is an old school action flick that includes a who’s who cast of 80’s and 90’s action cinema that includes Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Terry Crews, Randy Couture, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Chuck Norris, Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

When reviewing these sort of films it is important to understand that if you go in expecting “the godfather”, you’ll be extremely disappointed. The same goes for when reviewing the film, you can’t review each film the same, based on the same discourse structure. The purpose of this film was to entertain, not change peoples perception on life, or delve into deep philosophical topics, but to blow things up and and have classic action stars fighting and shooting guns.

Thats exactly what the expendables 2 does. The film gets off to an unbelievably fast start with rescue of a chinese business-man. Even though we don’t know this until near the  end of the scene, it didn’t matter because the action is just so fast and furious. The violence has also been escalated to near Rambo IV level, heads get decapitated, limbs get shot off and people are executed.

Once the action dies down, the film is given the chance to move the incredibly thin plot forward. It involves Stallone’s gang of mercenaries tracking Van Damme’s inventively named villain, Jean Villain, after he executed one of their own. During their revenge mission they discover Villains plan to raid a mine filled with four tonnes of plutonium then sell them on.

One problem with the film is that it doesn’t know if its a revenge film or a ‘saving the world’ film. The ‘story’ starts when one of their own is murdered by Van Damme. As the film goes on, their revenge mission is all but forgotten about, as the expendables are now tasked with Van Damme getting his hands on plutonium. Once the revenge storyline picks up again near the end, in my head I went ‘oh yeah, I forgot about him’.

Also, as you may expect, the dialogue and acting are sketchy at best. After the gang of expendables use a variety of weapons to blow away one single enemy, Stallone’s Barney Ross states “rest in pieces”. A line so bad its brilliant. The film is full to the brim of these lines, even managing to have a Chuck Norris fact included involving a king cobra.

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis have extended roles than the previous film, but instead of creating new characters, they are simply characters that they have portrayed many times before, that are entirely dependant on jokes based on their career. But when the finale in the airport begins, none of that matters as plot and story is more or less stopped in its tracks in favour of all out action. Awesome action tat makes sitting through some cringe worthy dialogue worth sitting through. The Expendables 2 does what it sets out to do; nothing more, nothing less.



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