The Expendables 2 (2012), for guys who like big biceps, big explosions and big guns
MY CALL: The key word here is fun. Watching this movie was a BLAST! The plot (between the action scenes) can be slow to the point of weary, but it’s all worth the wait! [A- for an action flick] IF YOU LIKE THIS WATCH: The Expendables(2010). REALITY CHECK: Van Damme is 52 years old. Dolph Lundgren is 55. And Stallone is 66—FYI, that’s Medicare-old. Holy shit are they still in scary-epic shape! Then, of course, there’s the aging Crews (44), Statham (45), Li (49), Couture (49), Willis (57), Norris (62) and Schwarzenegger (65)—who is reigniting his action-movie career!!!
The first thing on everyone’s mind is “Was it as good as the original?” For me: no. I liked this one more. But I can understand how many would favor the original. Let’s split the difference and simply agree that if you loved part one, then stop reading this review and just go see part two. Like—NOW!
Much like the original (The Expendables), this is truly paramount among “movies for guys who like movies.” It’s an overdose of action filled with satirical classic one-liners, big biceps, large caliber weapons, huge explosions and tremendous sprays of gore as people are nearly liquefied when shot—much like the recent Rambo (2008). The humor is also abundant, including an epic Chuck Norris joke delivered by the legend himself. I honestly have never liked Chuck Norris—but I loved him in this!
Then there was the real-life paralleling bit about Dolph Lundgren being an MIT-trained chemical engineer as a Fulbright Scholar (actually true). Needless to say, I loved this movie despite its numerous 80s-esque classic action movie flaws.
Such a great villain. I hope this turns into a trend. But not like it did for Eric Roberts. That was a very bad trend.
Jean-Claude Van Damme, as Jean Vilain (cliché much?), plays our resident bad guy. He’s forcing Albanians into slave-labor for his plutonium mining project. Vilain intends to sell the plutonium to, presumably, some other bad guys. But the plot is kept very simple and we don’t get into that…like, at all—not even a bit—that somehow doesn’t matter. Anyway, Van Damme does a REALLY good job—although he makes a lot of “stupid villain mistakes” keeping in line with the swiss cheese plot-holey 80s action movies that birthed our present stars. The plot, which really isn’t important other than knowing who the bad guy is, shifts on us a couple times from rescuing some Chinese billionaire to a “settling old debts job” (and, by the way, wondering where the Hell Van Damme is in this flick) and finally to a “take down Van Damme” sort of deal and somehow without actually caring AT ALL that he’s a weapons of mass destruction dealer. Despite all these damning flaws, I never once cared. LOL!
Part one was a lot like a “getting to know the expendables crew” movie. We saw them fight bad guys and we saw them fighting each other. In part two, they play well together as a team and only fight bad guys. Jet Li gets some great one-against-many fighting, but then disappears from the movie for some reason—whatever, I loved what I got and there are lots more people I love to watch in this flick. The rest of the cast also had some impressive hand-to-hand action against a slew of soldiers. But my favorite fights were the obvious ones. Van Damme versus Stallone was a heavy-hitting fun-fest complete with villainous taunting, jump spin kicks, and a “finish him” moment worthy of Mortal Kombat. I also enjoyed Scott Adkins versus Jason Statham. However, I think they really under-utilized both of them. They are capable of amazing acrobatics and technical choreography. I understand that Statham’s Transporter work and Scott Adkin’s over-flaired aerial assaults from X-Men Origins: Wolverine as Deadpool are not realistic. But still, they could have given us more. And I really wanted to see Adkins fight more than once.
Scott Adkins posting a Facebook image after he was turned down for Magic Mike. Luckily, someone working on The Expendables 2 thought his biceps would fit right in with Van Damme and Stallone.
Minus Mickey Rourke, this was like a workoutaholics meeting featuring everyone from the first movie along with Liam Hemsworth (The Hunger Games), Jean-Claude Van Damme (Assassination Games), Scott Adkins (Assassination Games; Undisputed 2 & 3; Ninja), Chuck Norris and Nan Yu. Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger also received much larger roles in this one—but still noticeably secondary to the primary team. But everyone really gets their chance to shine at least once, which strikes me as a difficult task handled very well by the filmmakers.
All in all, I spent most of this movie laughing, wowing, oh-my-God-ing and wishing that it would never end. So get off your ass and see this now! Oh, and then call me up when you find out who the bad guy will be in The Expendables 3. I’m hoping for a larger team of bad guys made of more big name action stars. How about adding Jason Mamoa (Conan the Barbarian), Nathan Jones (Troy), Tony Jaa (Ong-Bak) and Dwayne Johnson (Fast Five)?
When asked if he’d like to be in part 3, Crews [below] ate the young reporter and then did some powerlifts.