There was such a good opportunity presented with Expendables 2, and it was just completely tossed out the window. How? I’m not quite sure, Sylvester Stallone used to be so good at crafting these great, bloody, sleazy entertainment movies. Even Rambo IV was pretty solid, as far as chunks of human flesh go. Man, I think the dude’s getting senile. Because these movies just aren’t very good anymore.
Expendables 2, with a script co-written by Stallone, has the fortune of having one of the most stellar casts in quite some time. Stallone? Check. Jason Statham? Check. Shwarzanegger? Ya. Some asian lady? You got it. Chuck freaking Norris? Too good to be true. But yes.
The plot, if you could say there is one, centers around Stallone and his rag tag group of mercenaries that get caught up in dangerous stuff or whatever in some weird Western European country that no one really cares about and they shoot stuff and say stupid jokes and Randy Couture pretends to be a softy and that’s about the whole movie.
Except not, because it’s somehow worse than my description above. I could go on and on for pages, hell, I could write a college essay about it’s problems, but this is a movie review, and nobody reads these things anyways, so I won’t go on too many tangents here.
Let me just say that this movie would get a total pass from me if the action scenes were actually fun, but they weren’t. If there were an area where it didn’t improve from the original, it’s here. The action scenes are by the numbers, flaccid and boring, bad CGI violence, and really choppy editing.
The story too is terrible, as with the dialogue. Characters pop in and out at random. The villain gets less screen time than Jet Li, who splits in the first act. The story attempts to establish some exposition and emotion by putting Miley Cyrus’ husband in it and making him act all young and sad and then having something terribly horrible happen to him, which I won’t reveal due to spoilers, but let’s just say it’s along the lines of ‘Jean Claude Van Damme blanks him in the blank, causing him to blank.’ That sounded much more risque than I had intended. Oh well.
The characters spend about half of the movie springing absolutely horrific one-liners at eachother. Jason Statham keeps pretend insulting Sylvester Stallone, and then talks on his wife for absolutely no reason. Arnold Swarzanegger(I’m just gonna spell it differently every time) says “I’ll be back” and “I’m back” like nine times; Chuck Norris tells a Chuck Norris joke and Swizzarnogar mutters “Yippey Kay Yay” after Bruce Willis says something clever(yeah, he’s in this movie too). These guys might as well be winking at the camera when they say these things, it’s that bad.
There are very few redeemable things about this film, and I guess to be polite I’ll just list them: Jean Claude Van Damme is pretty Damme funny here(see what I did there?), and just chews the scenery in the five minutes that he’s on screen, pretending to be angry and flamboyant and just plain weird. For the most part, his final fight scene with Stallone was rewarding. Terry Crews was pretty legitimately funny, but he’s just a funny guy in general. Seeing Ahnuld being all angry and just screaming unintelligible things at the camera was unintentionally hilarious to watch. I can’t wait for this guys’ actual comeback. Last, but certainly not the least, is Dolph Lundgren, my personal hero. This guy is just plain fun to watch. His voice is really low, and he just stumbles around like a drunkard while firing his AK-47 like a maniac. He was most excellent in this film, and if anybody deserves more of a comeback it’s this blonde haired baffoon. Kudos to you and your drunken Swedishness, sir.
So, in the end, The Expendables 2 just seems like either one giant missed opportunity, or several tiny failures. Who am I kidding? It’s both. For a movie that brings together so many pioneers of terrible but fun action movies of the 90’s, it just feels terrible, doing it’s own thing while viewers such as myself shake their heads in disapproval. For examples of movies that did what The Expendables 2 failed at, check out Hard Boiled, First Blood: Part II, The Punisher ‘89, or most recently, The Raid, which is magnificent. One can only hope movies like The Expendables 2 can get better. I can’t wait for the third one.
Side note: How is it that our country blames Aurora on Batman and violence on movies and movies are getting pushed back and lambasted, but this one gets a pass? Yeah, nice going, America. Now go back and enjoy your Sylvester Stallone machine gunning goodness, because, patriotism, right?
The Raid trailer:
Hard Boiled trailer: