Movie Review – The Expendables 2
August 17, 2012 1 Comment
I’m sorry, I can’t even focus on writing this review with all the explosions and gunshots that riddle the trailer of this bombastic sequel to the 2010 movie. I guess as an action film junkie, this is what I have been waiting for my whole life. I remember growing up watching countless action films from Stallone, Schwarzenegger, Willis, Van Damme, Li, Lundgren and countless other action icons of the bullet screen. The Expendables was the dream team of action movies, but with a few shortcomings like really stiff character interaction, too fast to enjoy action scenes, and CGI blood (the biggest travesty), the movie only had a few handfuls of big action set pieces interspersed with OK one-off action scenes. I expected something more from that culmination of machismo and spare bullets. Well sure enough, I braved 3 Jean Claude Van Damme action movies, a pig heart eating contest and countless fist pumping awesomeness to get to the Alamo Drafthouses signature film premier, The Expendables 2.
The sequel to the original Expendables is louder, crazier, beefed up, roided out with as much steroids and testosterone as a human body can take before the movie lets the bullets do the talking. I will just come out and say it, this is way better than the original. Jam packed with action stars new and old, The Expendables 2 just about pulls all the stops out with cameos, references and bigger action scenes than an action film junkie could ask for.
The story of The Expendables 2 see’s….you know what, fuck it. Who honestly gives a shit about the story for this movie? I am sure that Stallone sat down and pulled out his signature designed, limited edition Montegrappa Pen entitled “Chaos” and churned out a story by cobbling together all the plot and story points from past films. A little Rambo here, a sprinkle of Commando there, some Hard Target right in this area and then a climatic orgy of bullets and explosions. He sent that script to the studio’s, they pass out from sensory overload and Stallone took the script, loaded a shotgun full of his Montegrappa Pens and shot that script to shit. Seriously, I can’t stop talking about this pen cause it’s pretty much the greatest thing in the world that he had to show it off in the movie itself. I mean, fucking look at it!
Anyways, for those that want to know about the story here you go: The Expendable crew consisting of everyone from the first movie go on a mission to retrieve some computer thingy, bad guy mercenary group with 500,000 men show up to take the computer, Stallone and crew get pissed at Van Damme (the bad guy) and go on a killing spree that dwarfs most global conflicts. One-liners, references, call backs, banter, cameo’s, and the usual ballet of deaths and bullets fill the screen. Done and done.
In terms of enjoyments, my brain balls fucking exploded in shrapnel infused testosterone. It was glorious to basically see every battle scene in the movie be larger than the final climatic shootout in the first movie. Stallone and crew pretty much jammed every possible trope and action movie kill shot into a lean hour and forty-two minute movie. They took the original Expendables and gave it the Ivan Drago treatment by injecting it with performance enhancing drugs, roids and muscle enhancers. It’s a behemoth of movie where everything is jacked up on Monster Energy drinks. Explosions are louder and spectacular, bones are made of glass which makes for awesome hand-to-hand fight scenes, bullet makers decided to make only explosive rounds and there is a near endless supply of bad guys and ammo. FUCKING BEAUTIFUL! The Expendables 2 is a buffet of all the things we love about action films. My favorite thing about this, the fact that bullets act like rockets where one bad guy gets shot, they lose a body part. If they get shot more than once, well then the dental records will be used to identify them. Just pure carnage.
What I didn’t like about this movie, the fucking callbacks and winks and references that came about as frequent as bullets come out the numerous guns in the movie. Listen, I get that it’s all about fan service, but you don’t have to say everyone’s catch phrases like “I’ll be back” a dozen times. It’s cool the first time, okay the second time and annoying from then on. It’s great that you assembled a team of action stars with ridiculous movies in their past, but a few nods here and there are all you need. Second, the action, while awesome, just moves at the speed of light. The mentality of cramming all that you can in a movie is nice and all, but when I don’t get to savor this stupendous fight scene for more than a second before the next hapless lackey catches a knife in the throat, it doesn’t do anything for me. It just overloads the audience with high five moments that you don’t really get to enjoy for more than a second.
The Expendables 2 manages to have highs and lows which the highs ultimately win over the film. Stallone really needs to stop trying to make some sort of poignant moment and deep insight into the atrocities of what they do and what it does to men. He delivers his line, much like everyone else, stiffly and unconvincingly. The times the crew are just giving each other crap is the best parts of the exposition. But less talky, more shooty, that’s what we are here for. Thankfully the thin script paves way for some over-the-top action scenes were men are cut down by the hundreds in the most ludicrous way possible. The final action scene pretty much had a higher kill count that most civil wars.
I can’t really criticize this movie so much cause it knows exactly what it is. It’s that glorious throwback to the halcyon days where one-liners reigned, bullets did the talking, and action is what they gave us. Seeing all these different action stars come together is just the stuff that film junkies craved. The Expendables 2 is just a dismissive wank to all the other action films out there and gives us the big, dumb steroid shot of fun we want. I walked out enjoying the hell out of the movie and found it better than the original. Now that’s not saying much when a films entire premise is a parade of action stars and violence, but it’s the manliest of the bunch.
Rating: 3.5 Montegrappa Chaos pens out of 5
*images via RottenTomatoes