The Expendables 2 is a huge improvement over its predecessor; full of bloody action, self-depreciative quips, and a whole lot more Arnold Schwarzenegger. While this testosterone-filled action flick may not be for everyone, fans of the star-studded cast will find exactly what they've been looking for — explosions, gunshots, and a whole lot of fun.
It's unreasonable to expect a movie that exists only to package together a star-studded cast to be much more than just a good time. The first Expendables (2010) was a huge disappointment, focusing too strongly on its very weak plot, while not providing enough of the action moviegoers hoped to see.
The story in Expendables 2 is definitely lacking, but still strong enough to tie all the fist fights, gun battles, and jokes about Randy Couture's ears together into one cohesive package. There's a story here about a bad guy who is so evil that he enslaves women and children to dig in his mines, searching for a stash of old soviet warheads.
The film's villain, Jean Vilain (Jean-Claude Van Damme), seems to have an endless supply of henchmen and weapons at his disposable. His motivations remain unclear, likely because he's just too evil to be understood by a movie audience with normal ambitions.
Fueled by revenge, Sylvester Stallone's team of aging badasses travel the globe to put an end to Vilain's madness. This all culminates in a brutal fistfight, where Stallone and Van Damme make their final stand. Much to the advantage of the film, the plot and characters are born from satire. Expendables 2 feels very much like an action movie parody, and a decently funny one at that.
Rather than trying to be its own, original movie, Expendables 2 is a museum for action flicks, an ode to the movies that made this incredible cast famous. The cast here is what sells the film: Bruce Willis, Jason Statham, Terry Crews, Chuck Norris, et al. This is a supergroup of aging action movie icons, and Expendables 2 displays them in as much of their former glory as possible.