Stallone, Schwarzenegger, Statham, Lundgren, Li, Norris and Van Damme. Re-read that statement. What can I tell you about this movie. Firstly, it’s really action packed. You’re blasted off in the first few minutes leading up to the actual story. The film is based on a screenplay by Ken Kaufman, Davis Agosto and Wenk and is a sequel to The Expendables in 2010. Its action is placed after the events in The Expendables and tells the story of Mr. Church ( Bruce Willis ) who joins the team. Unfortunately, one of their colleagues is brutally murdered by a mercenary named Jean Vilain.
The addition of Chuck Norris and Van Damme to the cast worked out well. It’s really good to see Chuck Norris in action again and he really pulls it off. Fight scenes were better this time round, not too prolonged, timed well, and the one on ones didn’t drag on too long. The ambiance was awesome, everybody yelled when the actors came and loud applause have been done for the first time we see Chuck Norris and good actions scenes, like the final fight. Probably the best early-premiere I have been too. The film steps on the gas from the very beginning and almost never lets up. We are thrown into this action sequence at the start, which is better than anything the original had to offer. A more competent action director is behind the lens this time, Simon West who gave us Con Air and the more recent Mechanic. He understands what is needed and delivers some wild action sequences.
The plot is so thin that I’d forgotten it by the time I came to write this review, but really, who cares? THe only real criticism I can stick to this vehicle is its 80’s nostalgia. There’s a reason why people don’t make movies like this anymore: they were cheap, stupid, and had bad acting, but now producers have the money to make great action films, and this is just an attempt to cash in on nostalgia. The Expendables 2 knows its place, knows how to please the audience and give it the movie they (we) are waiting for. And it makes us anticipate a third movie (Seagal, anyone?). Nan Yu as Maggie was also a good casting choice an did what she was supposed to do.
As I said, maybe some critics don’t get it, but the crowd is going to clap, laugh and have a wonderful time, remembering his old heroes, that still can kick ass. Jet Li will be entering his 50’s soon, so I always see these films as his last hoo-rah. The biggest change though is the tone, The Expendables 2 does not take itself seriously at all and neither did I, so I had a blast watching what is ultimately a parody of the action genre. Want an example of the cheesiness? During a fight, one characters exclaims, “Let’s wrap this up” he then proceeds to take a chain and wrap it around another character’s neck to choke him out. Another scene we have a bad guy get shot a dozen times by everyone and Stallone retorts, “Rest in pieces”. Yup. It’s like that. The Expendables may not be ground-breaking, but there couldn’t be a more ass-kicking film to wrap up the summer blockbuster season.