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Film Review: The Expendables 2

Hollywood’s best lumps of muscle assemble a second time for an ultimate action summer blockbuster. So were the gang mean-lean-killing machines, or past-their-hey-day has-beens? Find out here!

Title: The Expendables 2

Cert: 15

UK Release Date:  16/08/2012

Our team of elite  mercenaries – who we saw battle evil and basically blitz the made-up Latin island of ‘Vilena’ in their last movie – are back!  Back.  For.  War.  (Or as the tagline tells us so.)  C.I.A official, who would rather be known as Church (Bruce Willis), because funnily enough that’s where he briefed Barney (Sylvester Stallone) in the last mission, gathers up the troops again for a mission he says should be an “easy paycheck“.  Of course it isn’t and when one of their men is murdered by the evil badman with a Satanist neck tattoo (Jean-Claude Van Damme) Sly and the gang take it personally – and seek revenge, expendables style.

Yeah baby.  So, just to get us in the mood for the taste of destruction and hot-muscle that is yet to come over the next 103 minutes the pre-credit scene introduces the familiar faces from the gang – infiltrating and basically nuking half of Nepal to rescue a kidnapped Chinese billionaire.  I am not kidding, I predict I saw around 400 people get blown to pieces in the first 10 minutes – all to save one hostage’s life – this may seem barbaric to some, but then again, this is ‘The Expendables 2’ I just brought a ticket for.

The movie’s pace alters after this between mayhem and introspective mush one can only expect from putting the most famous action heroes of the 80’s all into one movie, with a script co-written by Stallone.  Quite frankly, Liam Hemsworth‘s character is the worse for this, even with the new female Chinese addition Maggie (played by Nan Yu), who seems to have replaced chinese Jet Li (who departed the team jumping out of a helicopter at the beginning of the film, how else.)  But just like Arnold Schwarzenegger‘s overused line in this, he’ll be back.  Maybe in the third movie.

The Expendables soon find themselves in a mission that will take them to the Balkans in a fight to prevent Russian mafia gang (that’s the evil satanist Van Damme’s gang by the way) from selling plutonium extracted from a cold-war mine.

If you forget about the cringey moments like the rubbish banter between bum-chums Barney and Lee (Jason Statham), or the even the more embarrassing flirting between Barney and Maggie (“I like Italian” Maggie says after a conversation about food, fluttering her eyelids towards Stallone -one word – ICK!) then it isn’t actually too bad.  The action is better choreographed than the first movie, with an epic fight off between Rocky and the Muscles from Brussels, with some stunts almost believable – almost.  Chuck Norris has a quick cool appearance and even the intentional humor made me laugh with cheesy one liners like “Who’s next, Rambo?” by Arnie, or Stallone “Rest in pieces” after blowing up yet another nobody.

With a pumped up budget for more action, explosions and other things that go bang, the sequel turns out to be a surprisingly enjoyable watch, if you’re an existing fan of the cast’s prior movies.  ‘The Expendables 3’ has a lot to beef up to.


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