The 2010 film “The Expendables” was a fun, over the top display of violence set to a delightfully campy world of motorcycles and Ed Hardy shirts. Does its 2012 sequel, simply titled “The Expendables 2” hold up to this action packed fun fest? Let’s find out!
The opening scene features all six of our Expendable heroes (Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Terry Crews, Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture and Jet Li) as they attempt to rescue a Chinese businessman from a militant camp in Nepal. The crew comes rolling into town in their own specialty vehicles with guns mounted on the top and battering rams on the front. I love this part because it reminds me of the G.I. Joe cartoons with all the different types of vehicles and each team member with their various specialties; man this would have made a great Saturday morning cartoon! It’s definitely one of the best opening scenes of all time and it perfectly sets the tone for the rest of the film. This scene also introduces us to the newest member of the team, sniper extraordinaire Liam Hemsworth. You may be thinking “What is this pretty boy doing among these manly men?” but his character (and storyline) add a nice element to the movie that makes it seem a little less campy and a little more credible.
After our faces finish melting from the first five minutes we’re introduced to the main story. Evidently Stallone’s character never finished the job that Bruce Willis’ character paid him to do in the first film…. I didn’t realize this the first time around, I guess I was too busy getting my face melted to try and understand the plot. Anyhow, Stallone agrees to do another job for Willis and the team is back in action, this time to Albania where they must retrieve a safe from a downed plane. The task seems simple enough except the muscles from Brussels (Jean-Clead Van Damme) stands in their way! Van Damme’s inclusion in the film is an instant improvement from Eric Roberts’ villain character in the last film, don’t get me wrong, Roberts makes a great “bad guy” but Jean-Clead is much more intimidating. I also find that Van Damme’s cult-like European mercenary group is a lot more interesting than the generic South American soldiers in the first film and not just because they have spooky pentagram neck tattoos.
If you’re a Schwarzenegger fan (and who isn’t?… besides Maria Shriver) then you’ll love the amount of screen time Arnold gets in “Expendables 2” compared to the few minutes in the first film, heck even Willis’ character gets in on the action this time around. Finally we get to see Arnie and Brucie in all their glory as they blow away baddies and fire off cheesy one liners just like the good ol days! Just when you think things couldn’t get any better for “Expendables 2” they throw the legendary Chuck Norris into the mix.You may be thinking “Who cares? These guys are all over the hill.” but it doesn’t matter; these guys know it and they poke fun at their selves throughout the movie. Chuck Norris even tells a Chuck Norris joke! That’s what makes the film so fun, it’s not afraid to laugh at the insanity that is the action genre.
Overall “Expendables 2” is a big improvement on an already awesome movie. It’s got a much more face melting action, it’s got more cheap laughs and the new scenery looks absolutely amazing. That’s not to say that it’s a perfect film though, it still suffers from the same problems as the first (noticeably bad CGI, cheesy dialogue and asinine plot) but “Expendables 2” is so much fun you don’t even care! I ran into a dilemma when trying to rate the film, I gave the first one four and a half out of five Stallone staches and “Expendables 2” is much better but it’s still not a perfect film…. Oh well, this is MY review so I give it five and a half out of six Chuck Norris beards! Go see this movie, you’ll have a fun time.